Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tutorial Time! Watch the (Crazy) Birdie!

Have you ever tried taking a picture of a baby? They seem to want to look everywhere but at the camera lens! You make noise, you pull away from the camera and make goofy faces - finally, he looks at you!! --But by the time you get your eye back to the viewfinder, bam! His eyes are somewhere else. Well, I came up with a little something today (thanks to some inspiration from my photographer friend Kristal), that will hopefully help in that endless struggle for the perfect shot.

I'm calling it the Crazy Bird -- it's an attention grabber. Bright colors, crazy eyes, and even some hidden noise makers will get that baby's gorgeous eyes looking right at the lens. And today, I'm going to teach you how to make one. :) 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Food Storage Friday: Carribean Chicken over Rice

Hi friends,
I talked to Michelle about sharing recipes from her book, and here's the conclusion: I really respect this woman and all she has done and is doing, so I won't be sharing any of the copyrighted recipes, even with "tweaks". I will continue sharing my own recipes, and I'll probably share reviews of the recipes we've tried from the book from time to time (unless you'd consider that a tease?).

But the good news is that I do have permission to share her recipes that she has already made public in one form or another. :) So, today I'll be sharing the Carribean Chicken over Rice recipe.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Making of an Appa Pillow Pet: "How the Awesomeness Was Wrought" or "The Gruesome Death of an Innocent Panda"

Think of this post as less of a how-to and more of a descriptive narrative. If you are looking to make your own Appa pillow friend, I hope that sharing my experience will help you in your quest. So here's what I did.

First, I decided that I needed to use some sort of pattern. There is a fair amount of improvisation in my crafting m.o., but completely winging things usually ends poorly for me. I didn't want to destroy any of the pillow pets that Isaac got for Christmas, so I had to think of something else. Luckily for me, my local grocery store was selling a knock-off version of the famous soft friends for only $7.99. I went and found the one with the roundest head. It just happened to be a panda:

Don't get attached. This does not end well for the panda. 
(It might ease the grief if you notice the panda looks slightly evil.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Very Appa-y Birthday: The Appa Pillow Pet

Sorry about the brief hiatus. I really am trying to blog every day, but this week I got a little sidetracked, and I will admit that it was totally not my fault. :P It was the fault of a man named Brandon Sanderson and his stupid, wonderful, addicting book.

Brilliant book, whether you typically like fantasy or not. This is my second time reading it, and I'm just as sucked in as I was the first. Darn Nook. Darn Brandon Sanderson.

But excuses aside, I've actually been really excited to share a project with you guys. You see, last week was my husband's birthday. James doesn't typically get very excited over birthdays, especially not his own. Every year I try to come up with something that will get at least a twinge of excitement out of him. He rarely lets me do a party, and he usually buys his own "gift" - usually by saying, "This electrical/computery component we need is my birthday present." This year he tried to claim the sign-up fee for the Utah Valley Marathon as his present - as if running ever brought joy to anyone :P

What a weirdy.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Food Storage Friday: Recipe Reviews and a Recipe Card

So, mostly to help myself and my family stay on track with our food storage, I've decided to post about food storage every Friday! :) Yay!

James and I have decided our goal is to make and store a 3-month supply of bag meals by the end of the year. That means 5 a week for the rest of the year, which would give us 2 bag meals a day for 90 days. Of course, this 3-month supply would probably last us longer than that, seeing as each meal can feed up to 8 people and we are only 2 and a half people around here. So, each meal will have leftovers for maybe 2 more meals even. So, I'm thinking this is a good goal.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


So, today has been one of those days - not a bad day, actually, since some of my favorite people came over to craft with me and a great time was had by all - but it's one of those disorganized days. I keep going from one thing to another and forgetting what I'm doing, or looking for something and getting distracted and forgetting I was ever looking for it. Worst, I forgot to put the roast for dinner in the crock pot, and now I'm not sure what to do for dinner. Sphaghetti, maybe?

Ah well, that's life right, and you just improvise and move on.

Some cool news, though -- my friend Stephie-jean from over at Life: Semi-Crunchy (you know, the one who's shaving her head) is having an auction to help raise money for St Baldrick's. One of my items is included in the auction, and a whole bunch of other great stuff as well. There are a few cloth diapers and wipes, some other fun baby items, and even some cute bags. All of the money raised goes directly to St. Baldrick's, so it's a great way to donate, and also get a little something fun, too. :)

So, go here to check it out! The auction closes tomorrow at 6:15pm EST, so don't dawdle. :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday - Quick, Easy (Cheap!) Headbands

Ok, so remember these?

Well, someone asked for a tutorial, so here's the rundown. (I am thinking of making Tuesdays a regular day for posting a tutorial or how-to, so hopefully that will motivate me to get some good stuff done! :) ) <---- tangent, I know, but doesn't that look like a double chin to you? I never know what to do with emoticons and punctuation.

Editorial conundrums aside, read on to find out how I made each of these three lovelies.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Our Weekend, and Introducing KP Photography

Hey, happy Monday! How was everyone's weekend? We had a lot of fun this weekend. In support of a neighbor who was recently diagnosed with leukemia, we decided to participate in the Rex Lee Run, a local 5k event that helps raise money for cancer research.

Friday night we got together with other participants and made t-shirts that illustrated our support for our neighbor. Saturday was the race, and James and I decided to walk it together as a family. I'm starting to really enjoy the whole 5k thing. When I was a kid, we lived in Germany, and there they have these things called Volksmarches. They're basically a 5k or 10k or whatever, and whole families go and run or walk together. Those are great memories for me, and I hope that I can pass down that healthy tradition to my own kids. Anyway, tangent over. We had a really great time walking and talking together - a really great family "date," actually. :) I am hoping things go well for my neighbor, and we are definitely keeping him in our prayers.

Friday, March 11, 2011

And the Winner Is....

Thanks to everyone who participated in the giveaway - some really great, creative, useful tips have been shared, so if you haven't already, go back and read through the comments on the giveaway post. You'll definitely learn something!

And now, the entries are all in, the results have been tabulated, and we have our (randomly chosen) winner.

Drumroll please.

Bag Meal Recipe: Lemon Garlic Chicken

My wonderful sister-in-law Jennifer gave me a crock-pot version of this recipe a few years ago. It has been one of our family favorites ever since, it is so easy and so yummy. My husband requests it at least once a week. It is one of those foods that actually makes really great leftovers. The rice soaks up the sauce and it is so delicious. I adjusted a few things to make it bag-meal friendly, and fast!

Bag Meal Recipe: Chicken and Green Chile Soup

This recipe is actually one my brilliant mother invented one day. It is such a delicious, quick, and hearty meal. You can use all sorts of different things in it, so if anything doesn't sound like something you would eat, swap it out for something else. My mom uses great northern beans and pinto beans. I like black beans and kidney beans. And you can tweak it however you like!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Um, Where Do I Put it All?

A major obstacle with any food storage plan is where in the heck you're supposed to keep it all. It might seem like bag meals would be even more difficult to find a place for, but actually they're not. In fact that's one of the 12 benefits of bag meals listed in It's in the Bag - they take up less space. Michelle Snow (the author) says before using bag meals, her two-year supply of food storage took up 1000 square feet. After switching to bag meals, she was able to keep a supply for the same amount of time in just a 16 1/2 by 4 ft area.

image courtesy of Michelle Snow

But even that is more than a lot of us have. Well, I think one of the major mistakes we make when trying to figure out where to store it all is thinking that we have to keep it all in one place. When working with a small apartment, tiny house, or even a big house that just happens to be filled with people, you have to think a little more outside the storage room.

Putting Together a Bag Meal

I'm a bit peeved right now, seeing as I just finished a beautifully detailed and illustrated post on how to put together and use a bag meal, and somehow using a combination of ctrl+z and the back button I managed to delete it all. Argh. Well, here's hoping that this frustrating experience leads to a better post somehow.

Ok, so I thought we'd dive in to some specifics today and talk about how exactly to make and use bag meals. First off, just to reiterate, the concept behind a bag meal is that you gather everything you would need to prepare an entire meal and you store it in a bag. This means, of course that you need to find non-perishable versions of your recipe items. This is not as hard as it might sound - canned meats, canned vegetables, dehydrated vegetables, and even canned or powdered dairy products are all available.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It's All in the Bag Giveaway!

Ok, I've got some awesome news! Michelle Snow, author of It's in the Bag saw on facebook that I'm blogging about bag meals and she offered to do a giveaway! This lady is one of the kindest, most generous people I've ever met. She has such a passion for this, and a real concern that people should be prepared. Read more about her on her website.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Little about Bag Meals

So, I've been debating whether to post about this topic or not, since I am not even close to being an expert. I have only just started my bag meal food storage, so I don't have all the answers. But I decided to go ahead and jump in there and share what I know, simply because I am excited about it, and I think more people would like to try it, too, if they knew about it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Role Models: The In-Laws

I am so excited right now, it's hard to sit still long enough to write this. BUT since I have this on my mind, I thought there's really no better time. So, what am I all excited about? I get to spend this weekend with some of my favorite people in the whole world: my in-laws.

Three Headbands: One Dollar - Sweet Action

So, they just opened up a new Dollar Tree really close to my house. I've been antsy to check it out ever since I saw the lights were on in there, but haven't had the chance. Until Today. (Ominous music swells.)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Fun Hairband Project

So, I have a sewing machine. His name is Jarvis. Jarvis is computerized, lcd screen and everything, and he tells me when I am screwing up. That's why I called him Jarvis (think Iron Man). I love Jarvis very much, and that is why he had to go away for a while.

Sometimes we hurt the ones we love.


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