Monthly Archives: January 2014

Organizing Embroidery Supplies

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What a mess!

What a mess!

Embroidery is a nice relaxing hobby to indulge in on cold winter evenings. I recently pulled mine out after a long break and was horrified to find it in such a tangle! I obviously couldn’t work with it like that so I set about looking for an organizing solution.

First I asked my friend google.com, but since I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for that wasn’t much help. Then I wrangled a quiet afternoon all by myself in one of my favorite craft stores–Hobby Lobby. It’s the largest one around and I spent a couple of happy hours wandering around exploring different options.

Plastic bins, pouches, sleeves in all shapes and different sizes assaulted my eyes as I searched the store. I decided that I wanted something to keep the embroidery floss from getting tangled and I wanted some sort of case to keep it in that I also could carry around. There’s nothing more frustrating then to settle down to do something and find you’ve left part of your project in another area of the house requiring you to face the many distractions to go back and get the required object and most likely never making it back to your project that day!

I had decided on small plastic tabs to wind my embroidery floss around and then I decided on a small plastic bin to keep it in. I wasn’t that happy with the bin, but I figured it was the best I could do in my price range. All of a sudden I discovered a small sized trunk with a handle!

Organizing tools!

Organizing tools!

Absolutely perfect! It’s exactly the right size for all my current colors and if I squeeze it will fit a small pair of scissors plus whatever small project I am working on.

It’s January and everyone is trying to organize SOMETHING, so there are lots of options out there. If something in your daily routine is not working for you, take a look around you. You might even have that unexpected tool right in your house that will make that annoying daily frustration disappear…until the next one comes along!

What about you–is there something you need to organize?

The finished project!

The finished project!

Taste Memories: Egg Custard

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Freshly baked egg custard!

Freshly baked egg custard!

One of the things that I liked best when I got married and right after the Princess came along was a delightful egg custard. It was quick and easy and no one else in the house liked it so I could eat it all myself. It had little sugar, but it had eggs and milk so in my book it made a good breakfast as well as a good dessert. I hadn’t had any for years, but last week during a cold snap I was trying to figure out what I could make to keep the oven on these came to mind. They turned out pretty good even if I still had to eat them all by myself!

Egg Custard

adapted from Better Homes and Gardens 1950’s edition

1 cup milk (I used full-fat coconut milk from a can)
2 eggs
2 T sugar (I used turbinado)
1 t vanilla
Freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Warm the milk until some bubble form around the edges. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and sugar in another bowl. When the milk has cooled slightly whisk in the vanilla and then the egg mixture. Divide the mixture between ramekins. I used 5 ounce ramekins, but if your ramekins are larger you could probably get away with two. Heat some water in a kettle and while it is heating place the ramekins in a pan. I used a 9 in square pan. Grate some nutmeg over the tops of the ramekins. When the water is heated pour it in the pan around the ramekins until it is an inch high. Place the pan in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes. Custard is done when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Enjoy warm or cold!DSCN4188

Menu Plan Tuesday, January 28th!

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Welcome to Menu Plan Tuesday due to Internet Connectivity Issues! It was a good week. I found some store-bought meatballs for my husband’s spaghetti and he actually admitted to enjoying my meatballs better! I was excited! He also came up with an interesting idea to cutting down on the 6 pots we had to use to make the spaghetti meal (this might have been out of desperation since he ended up doing most of the dishes!). We will take a couple of Saturdays/Sundays next month to make some individual freezer meals. This will make meals like spaghetti which tend to be complicated a little less so, hopefully.

The theme for the Gluten Free Menu Swap over a Celiac Family is Super Bowl Snacks. I um don’t watch sports. I WAS aware that the Super Bowl was this coming weekend, but don’t really have any idea who is playing. We don’t have TV and my husband doesn’t watch sports so we won’t be watching it. But if I do make some special snacks this week the one I made recently that was a hit was these Baked Chili Cheese Fritos. I couldn’t believe how yummy they were and since I still have corn tortillas I have been thinking of trying them again.

Random leftover salad from lunch Saturday!

Random leftover salad from lunch Saturday!

We are just having some simple, frugal meals to finish out the month this week!

Sunday
Breakfast: The first strawberry shortcake of the season!, coffee with coconut whipped cream
Lunch: Oven fried fish/chicken (recipe coming soon!), mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts
Dinner: baked rice pudding

Rest of the week:
Breakfast:
Eggs all kinds and all ways!
Detox Smoothie
Gluten Free Chocolate Muffins (These didn’t happen last week!)

Dinner:
Breakfast for dinner: scrambled eggs
Sloppy Joes (probably slightly modified for picky eaters!)/Sloppy Lentils
Potato Soup
Tuna Apple Salad
Pizza, Salad
Mango Marriage Saver Smoothie, popcorn
fish, sweet potatoes fries, veggie
Leftovers!

For more menu ideas check out Org Junkie’sMenu Plan Monday! Or for gluten-free menus check out Celiac Family and the Gluten Free Menu Swap!

To Homeschool Or Not…That Is the Question!

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First Day of Preschool!

First Day of Preschool!

It’s never a good idea to make plans for someone ahead of time. You just never know! During our engagement period, my husband and I conversed about our possible future children and how we would contemplate educating them. We both agreed that homeschooling would be the best choice of all the choices available to us.

So from the time we were married we worked toward this goal. I was working full-time and we saved and did our best to live on one salary so that if/when a child came along I would be able to stay home and home school them!

And then along came the Princess! Before she was born and right after I started on the whole homeschooling thing. I read books to her, sang to her, and did everything I could to start her off on her learning career. It wasn’t hard–she was and still is a little sponge and soaks up everything I say to her. (Unless it’s bedtime…still haven’t figured out that one!) As she got older, we continued with trips to the library and library story time, interactions during grocery shopping, and all the many little details that make up everyday life.

This summer we discovered her gluten intolerance and by default the source of some of her behavior problems! However, she was still a handful and caused me to pull out more hairs then I care to admit! I was really at my wits end on how to deal with her rationally until after much prayer and encouragement from friends that we decided to send her to the faith-based preschool where my husband and I both work with/at.

I was a little nervous leading up to the first day of school, but I didn’t need to be. We got to the door of the classroom and without so much as a hug good-bye off she went to explore her widening world!

We both enjoy her being in school more then I would have thought possible. School gives me a breathing spell to be a little more then just someone who fills up sippy cups and washes clothes. (Mothering is a LOT more then those things, but that seems to be what takes the most time!) She has new friends, learns to listen to other adults, and gets worn out daily!

I haven’t given up the dream of homeschooling and we still do a lot of teaching right at home during the school year. However, the best choice for our Princess and family right now is to have her enrolled in a faith-based school.

What hard choices have you had to make about your children’s schooling?

Traveling with Multiple Food Allergies/Intolerances

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When I first found out I couldn’t eat gluten/dairy/oats/meat/peanuts I didn’t want to go out to eat anywhere. I was worried that I would get sick! As I’ve gotten more comfortable with the list of ingredients I can’t eat, I’ve been able to get creative with the menus in restaurants around here.

Traveling can be even more scary! If I’m in town I can always fix something different before or after going out to eat with company when I get home. When you are out-of-town you are at the mercy of other people or the grocery store with limited ingredients.

This past weekend I went away with my husband for a couple of days. I did some planning and researching before we went away (although I could have done a bit more!). I tried to balance what I bought and what I brought. I decided to make two things: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Larabars and Super Powder Chia Seed Bread. I love larabars and this recipe was easy and good! I wasn’t as excited about the look and taste of the bread, but it provided a good base for my lunch one day and was very nutritious.

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Larabar!

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Larabar!

Super Power Chia Seed Bread!

Super Power Chia Seed Bread!

The hotel provided a free hot and healthy breakfast for those staying there, but unfortunately the only thing I could eat was the fruit, coffee, and fruit juice. So I brought some Udi’s bagels, some eggs with a microwave egg poacher, and some individual packets of Jason’s Chocolate nut butters. I didn’t feel at all left out with those delicious options available!

We did stop at a grocery store for some dinner one night and I picked up some Annie’s Dairy Free Gluten Free Mac & Cheese and some brussel sprouts for my dinner. For the one lunch I brought some hummus, guacamole, grape tomatoes, and green pepper from home which I enjoyed with the Chia Seed bread. We also visited the local farmer’s market where they had an olive bar. I got a few of those to brighten up my plate.

Very yummy lunch in the hotel room!

Very yummy lunch in the hotel room!

Our dinner out ended up being a little exciting. It was difficult to find a place without reservations (which it never occurred to me to make!) as it was restaurant week and EVERYONE was taking advantage of the specials available. We finally ended up at a Spanish/Portuguese restaurant next door to our hotel where someone was canceling their double reservation just after we walked in. The awesome thing about this place was that the chefs used only corn starch in thickening all of their sauces so all I had to do was find something that didn’t have any sort of breading or meat or cheese. The waiter was super helpful and I enjoyed my shrimp in coconut milk curry sauce with pineapple and a side salad.

I had a wonderful time and didn’t get sick at ALL! If you are traveling and concerned about getting sick from something you ate I would highly recommend putting together this “I Got Glutened!” kit. Even though I didn’t end up needing it, it gave me peace of mind knowing that it was there just in case!

What do you do to prepare for a vacation without food allergies?

The beach is beautiful even in freezing January!

The beach is beautiful even in freezing January!

Menu Plan Monday, January 20th!

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We had a good week where we definitely cleaned out the fridge! I love that because I hate throwing anything away! It also means I get creative in using up veggies that just aren’t a favorite–maybe there were too many purchased for a specific recipe or something. Anyway, we’re starting out with a freshly emptied fridge!

The theme for the Gluten Free Menu Swap over at Gluten Free Week is leeks. I don’t usually buy leeks just because I don’t usually see them. I missed out on the farmer’s market this week because we were away so I didn’t have a chance to seek any out either. I’ll be looking for inspiration from others on this swap!

The APPETIZER from the dinner out when we were away this weekend!

The APPETIZER –shrimp in a coconut milk curry sauce with pineapple!– from the dinner out when we were away this weekend!

We had a nice time away and I enjoyed not cooking for the weekend! We had a microwave in our room and it was a novelty using it since we haven’t had one around here for a while. I enjoyed our dinner out a lot. We weren’t that hungry so opted for appetizers and a salad. I was glad I did because that was one of the hugest appetizers I have ever encountered! It was so yummy I will have to see if I can recreate it.

Sunday
Breakfast: Udi’s bagel with chocolate hazelnut butter, orange, and orange juice
Lunch: whole grain gluten-free organic tortilla chips, guacamole, grape tomatoes, homemade larabar
Dinner: fish with a raspberry vinegar and orange blossom honey sauce, roasted broccoli, mashed potatoes

Rest of the week:
Breakfast:
Eggs all kinds and all ways!
Detox Smoothie
Gluten Free Chocolate Muffins
Gluten Free Pancakes (leftover from dinner)

Dinner:
Breakfast for dinner: Gluten free pancakes
Spaghetti and maybe meatballs…spaghetti has gotten complicated with hubby wanting regular noodles, Princess wanting gluten-free noodles, and me wanting veggie noodles. With me requiring meat free sauce sometimes I don’t have the energy (or the stove space!) to make gluten-free meatballs also. So we might just have meat sauce instead this week!
Shrimp Scampi over gluten-free pasta (Don’t really have a recipe for this one, so if someone has a favorite feel free to share!)
Pizza, Salad
Mango Marriage Saver Smoothie, popcorn
Vegan Nicoise salad
fish, sweet potatoes fries, veggie
Leftovers!

For more menu ideas check out Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday! Or for gluten-free menus check out Gluten Free Week and the Gluten Free Menu Swap!

Gooberfish

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goober fishThe gooberfish came into existence around 2000. Someone had given me a puppy for my graduation and he loved squeak toys. Of course he used them to talk and since he had so much to say and so much chewing to get in he quite frequently chewed through or destroyed the squeakers. After going through several toys a friend of ours took pity on us (or maybe she was just tired of hearing her dog squeak so much?) and gave us the gooberfish. She assured us that the gooberfish would not die and I think we only believed her a little bit.

The gooberfish was highly used for awhile. In fact, the dog squeaked it so much that the bird took to imitating it! Whenever the dog would start squeaking, the bird would echo and it would get quite noisy! The gooberfish got “lost” at the bottom of the toy basket several times, but my dog was always resourceful in digging through everything to find it again when he wanted it.

The gooberfish did NOT die and all these years later is still in fine fettle–except for some wear around the edges. The years have not improved on its looks in the least. Teddy the dog doesn’t use it talk as much anymore being an older dog now with less to say, but the gooberfish has gifted us with a brand new way to describe a myriad of things.

No one really wants to be called a gooberfish (because it’s so ugly and so annoying!), but I think we all know we’ve acted like one at one time or another. For instance, when you were taking that bite of chocolate cake and forgot to close your mouth afterwards…what a mess you gooberfish!

I’ve described myself as a gooberfish when I slipped and fell on a floor that I knew was slippery, but failed to take proper precautions!

I’ve called fellow drivers gooberfish when they’ve beeped at me and waved their arms wildly at me just because I stopped a red light sooner than they would have liked.

There always seem to be gooberfish involved in store checkout lines particularly when you are in a hurry. Either the cashier acts in a particularly slow and gooberfish manner, or the person in front of you seems to have excessive requests and keeps acting like a gooberfish long past their turn!

Thankfully, I don’t know any people who are gooberfish all the time. They just have their gooberfish moments.

What about you? Have you encountered any gooberfish lately?