Thursday, May 28, 2009

Another book, garden, and everyday nonsense.

What a busy day! My oldest daughter's first grade trip to a local garden was today, and I was fortunate enough to be able to go along as a teacher's helper for the day. Can you guess who my assistant was? Lol* The class was learning about pond life, and my 3 year old had a blast joining in with the 6, 7, and 8 year olds as they searched through the mud for snails and tadpoles. We had a great time, and I'm so glad things worked out so that I could tag along.
On the way home it POURED down rain on us! I'm not sure if it was the heat or the rain, but look what literally popped up overnight in my backyard!

Bush Beans...
Little bitty corn babies...
I'm so excited! Corn, bush beans, and carrots are all sprouting! I planted my corn wrong though, and from what my Dad tells me I might not get much out of it, but it's really exciting to see that it grew. The beans I'm amazed by, they are so pretty! Dad also said he didn't get more than a handful of beans from his bushes, but I sure hope that I get enough to enjoy. I hope my efforts aren't a total waste, next year I think I might increase the size of my little veggie garden so we can really make use of it. It was an experiment for sure this year, as I've never grown anything other than flowers, and this is only my second year doing that! :)

I went out with intentions this evening of relaxing and doing a little fabric shopping, but I couldn't pass up this book when I found it. I had seen it before on another blog, and boy do I have a lot of ideas for those little flowers!

Of course my day is no where near from over, I still have cleaning and laundry to do. There aren't enough hours in the day, but I sure as heck try to cram in as much as I can! LOL*

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Feeling Quilty

Well, this is where I'm at right now. I'm just starting to feel quilty again. :) I'm happy too because I really do love to quilt. I'll be quite honest, I have been avoiding my sewing machine for the past few weeks. I had a negative experience with a quilter, and it really just soured my excitement for where I was going with my quilting. It was one of those experiences that makes you want to just curl up under a rock and die! Ugh. It was that bad. But you know, I'm learning to be more thick skinned, and be aware that sometimes when people go out of their way to make you feel awful, it's really because they are trying to cope with their own insecurities. God has a way of putting us in our place, and forcing us to remain humble. In any case, I'll be darned if I'm going to quit, just because of one person's stinky attitude!

So with that said, would you like to see some quilty pictures? Here's a pineapple block for a quilt I'm working's a pattern from an old American Patchwork & Quilting magazine, consisting of 90 blocks, surrounded an applique'd border. So far I've got one done! LOL*** Just 89 more to go!
Here's a picture from the back...I always like to see how people do things differently. I traced my paper piecing pattern for two reasons - number one, because I ran out of printer ink. LOL* Number two, it's kind of relaxing! I have had a few funny looks and even a scoff or two at my enjoyment of tracing patterns...but you know, it's the kind of enjoyment you get from hand piecing or hand quilting. It takes a little longer, but I'm not always looking for the most efficient, fastest way to make a quilt. For me, often times the process is as fun as enjoying the finished product.

I also bought a few books over the past few weeks. I'm really excited over the Baltimore Album book, the blocks are SO pretty. I have tried a number of different methods of applique, and freezer paper applique seems to be the easiest way for me to achieve the look I like. So I thought some of the intricate blocks in this quilt might help me improve and motivate me to do more applique projects.

So off I go to do a bit of cleaning, and then into the sewing nook to get inspired. :)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Favorite Spring Blooms

Well, unfortunately my daffodils weren't the show I'd hoped for this year, it was actually this tulip/hyacinth combo on our front stoop! I'd planted more than 100 last fall but a tunneling little mole (who I'm hoping is looking down from heaven right now!) wreaked havoc on them and I'd say only about 40 actually bloomed, while the others only grew foliage and are now dieing out. Poop. Maybe next year I'll have my daffodils... :)

The tulips are now on their last leg, but I've got lily of the valley in full bloom, looking gorgeous next to the fading blooms of bleeding hearts. Will share more pictures if I get time tomorrow! :)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Budget Recipes

Well, I've been doing a little sewing but I can't find the darn cord for my camera to hook it up to the computer. I think one of my lil' stinkers took off with it and hid it somewhere. LOL* Unfortunately I have no pictures, but I do have a couple of recipes to share.

Last night my Dad and I got to chatting about how difficult it is to feed a family of four on a budget. I am a stay at home Mom, and very fortunate to be able to do so. We are by no means wealthy, and I think the only reason we succeed at doing so is because we have learned to be very thrifty, and to spend only what we have (not what we think we have or wish we had!). I've just begun to really start "coupon shopping", although many of my more experienced Mommy friends have been coupon clipping and combining coupons and sales for years to save. In any case, I've been very interested (for obvious reasons) in meals that can feed the whole family for cheap. Here are a couple recipes we eat often around here, and how much they cost us to make.

A Cheap Quilting Mom's Loaded Potatoes for Dinner
(Total cost under $5)

-6 to 10 small potatoes (I bought two bags of Green Giant Small Potatoes at buy one get one free at 1.99 each. So it cost me under $1 for the potatoes for this meal.)

-block cheddar cheese, sliced (I had cheese, so it didn't cost me at all for this - however when I had bought the potatoes, they had block cheeses on sale for 99 cents, so I figured a dollar for cheese on sale or with a coupon for this meal.)

-2 Tbs. of butter

-1 pckg. bacon, cooked (My bacon was purchased on sale 2/$3, so $1.50 for an entire package of bacon, and I still have one in the freezer to use for another meal.)

-a dollop of sour cream for topping (I shop at Aldi's or Save-A-Lot and usually sour cream costs me around $1.29 for a container.)

***Bake potatoes at 375 degrees until soft and cooked through, about an hour. I wrap mine in tin foil for baking and place on a cookie sheet in the oven. Once cooked, cut each potato in half, and scoop out the insides into a bowl. It helps to hold the potato halves with a clean dish towel so you don't burn your fingers! Add butter to potatoes in bowl and mix together well. Scoop potatoes back into the potato shells and top with cheese slices and bacon. Toss all the stuffed potato shells back into the oven until cheese is melted, around 12 minutes. Top with a dollop of sour cream, a little salt to taste, and eat!

For the kids I just leave off the things they don't like, and usually both of my girls will eat the bacon and cheese on the side, so this is something we all can eat. These are so filling they are an entire meal for our family, but you could add a salad and a vegetable like broccoli and make a nice big meal using these as the main dish too.

A Cheap Quilting Mom's Pasta Salad for Dinner
(Total cost under $6)

-1 box tricolor spiral pasta, cooked (I usually buy mine at Walmart for $1)

-1 block cheddar cheese ($1 on sale or with coupon at larger chain stores, usually around $1.29 at Aldi's or Save-A-Lot type of stores)

-1 block mozzarella cheese (I look for the same type of deals as with the cheddar)

-Italian Dressing (Aldi's or Save-A-Lot stores usually have a good tasting brand for $1 to $1.29)

-1 pck. sliced pepperoni (Walmart has packaged pepperoni slices for $1)

***Drain pasta and place in a large bowl. Preferably one you can cover and toss in the fridge. Cube mozzarella and cheddar cheese and add along with pepperoni to pasta. I do not measure how much Italian dressing to add, I just pour it on until everything's coated. I don't like a very strong dressing flavor in my pasta salad, so you'll want to add yours to your own tastes. Mix everything together and toss in the fridge to chill, then eat!

This is another dish that makes so much we'll eat it for a meal for one evening. Wednesday is our gymnastics night, so what we do once in a while is make this pasta on Tuesday and eat it as our main course, and then on Wednesday get a $5 pizza from Little Ceasar's and have the leftovers on the side. (A good way to stretch a pizza to feed four people!!! Add a salad or some leftover pasta salad!)

Sooo, there's a couple of things we do to stretch a buck to feed a family of four on one income, and during a recession. I figure the way things are going, maybe this will be useful to someone out there! LOL* I will take some pictures and post some more recipes when I have time if anyone out there likes them. :)