Month: January 2012

Super Yummy Whole Wheat Banana Oatmeal Bread

Confession: I’m not a big baker. I l.o.v.e. to cook [like this lick-the-bowl potato leek soup], but I’m not too big on baking in general.

The big exception to the rule, though, is banana bread. Everyone around here goes crazy for it – myself included. We eat it so quickly, we’re lucky if we can get a loaf to last more than 24 hours before it’s been devoured.

I have had a recipe that I’ve used pretty consistently over the past few years [thank you to my dear sister-in-law Lisa!] But as much as I loved it, I wanted to make it my own – and to try to make it a little healthier.

So after some experimenting, I think I’ve settled on a recipe that I’m really happy with – and happy to feed my kids. It’s low in refined sugar, packs a healthier punch than your typical banana bread recipe, and leaves everyone asking for another slice.

Whole Wheat Banana Oatmeal Bread

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup oats [edited: i originally said quick oats… don’t ask me why… use regular ones, that is what i actually use!]
1tsp baking soda
1tsp salt

3 very ripe bananas – mashed
2 eggs
1/4 cup honey
1tsp vanilla
1/2 cup yogurt (I suggest plain whole milk yogurt – if I don’t have plain, I use vanilla yogurt and omit the tsp of vanilla)
1/3 cup buttermilk OR 1/3 cup milk with a squirt or two of lemon juice (allow it to sit a few minutes before mixing it in)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While it preheats, mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in another. Slowly combine the two, mixing them  together thoroughly. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick in the center and it comes out dry. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for at least five minutes [which will be ridiculously difficult, because it will smell so.darn.good.] before removing it.

But this recipe doesn’t come without warning. Be careful, you might not be able to hold yourself back from eating the entire loaf in one day.

Linking up to these par-tays!

Valentine Conversation Heart Garland: a Tutorial!

In the house full of boys like mine, there’s not a lot of opportunity for pink. I think that’s why I end up wearing pink a lot [that and my hubby once told me I look good in pink... totally bought a lot of pink shirts after that!]

So, Valentine’s Day is really the perfect excuse to pink-ify my house. [yes, I made up that word. go with it.]

This tutorial is suuuuper easy. You could make it a project you do with your kids – or not. You could also make it much more intricate. You could even do it no sew.

Start with some felt. I used regular old by the yard felt. Wool felt will be nicer and last longer. Regular felt is cheaper, and I happened to have a bunch of it.

Cut the felt into strips. The width of the strips should be about how wide you’d like your hearts to be.

Fold the strips in half [I did two strips at a time, to make it go a little faster]. Cut your hearts on the fold, so the center of the heart is where the fold is. This is genius if, like me, your hearts are never symmetrical.

Cut as many as you’d like, from whatever colors you’re going to use.

Now write your cutesy Valentine sayings on top of the hearts. I used these Sharpie Stained fabric markers. They are awesome. Regular permanent makers will bleed, so don’t use those. [Also, my white felt had a "flatter" side that was better for writing on - the other side didn't look as nice. This is also a case for nicer felt...]

Then sew them together – a straight stitch all the way across. You can space them farther apart if you want, then just keep sewing a little bit in between each one, so you end up with a “chain” of stitches in between your hearts.

You could also hot glue the hearts to a ribbon to hang them, if you don’t want to sew them. That’s what I did for this no sew birthday banner.

Then enjoy how excited your kids [even boys!] can get about simple Valentine’s decorations.

Winners!

Winners for the giveaway have been chosen!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered! Seriously, it’s super fun to give things away. Love it.

The winner of the owl onesie, chosen by random.org is…. [drum roll please]

Susan L!
Congrats, Susan!
Please send me your address and I will send out your new onesie.
[email ifonlytheywouldnap@gmail.com]

And the winner of the Valentine Legwarmers, [or arm warmers if you have an older child!] chosen by random.org, is…..

Debbie M!
Congrats, Debbie!
Please send me your address and I will send out your new leg warmers.
[email ifonlytheywouldnap@gmail.com]

Thanks again everyone who entered. Super fun. We just might have to do more of these… :)

I’ve got a big day of extended family fun ahead of me today! Hope you all have a wonderful day. :)

Travel Sewing Kit

I love to take little sewing projects with me. Are you like that? I like to be productive when I know I might have some down time: in the car, when we go visiting family, sitting at an appointment by myself [ha! like that really ever happens...]

But up until recently, I’ve been carrying my sewing around with me in a ziploc bag. Seriously. Did you know that needles poke through ziploc bags? Yeah…. they definitely do.

So when I came across this travel soap box [in a random box of stuff from high school - it was keeping all those notes company - you know, the ones where my friends and I went on and on about boys and whatnot] I knew I had found the perfect little box for a travel sewing kit.

All it needed was a few supplies: a needle, some embroidery thread, bobbins [because they're smaller than big spools of thread], some pins, and a small pair of scissors [these are manicure scissors... not ideal, to be honest, but they're the only small scissors I have right now!]

See? Perfect!

There’s even room to throw in a small project, like some pre-cut circles, elastic, and hairbands for making some of these flowers.

Here’s to not sticking yourself with needles while sewing on the go!

**Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! It ends tomorrow!**

A Joy and Delight Giveaway! [This Giveaway is Now Closed!]

[This Giveaway is Now Closed!]

As I mentioned before, I’m re-focusing my shop a little bit. Because of that, there are some items I decided to remove. When I did that, I thought… what would be better than giving a couple of these away??

So, I have two handmade items to give away to two lucky winners!

Some sweet, perfect for Valentine’s Day baby leg warmers!

If I had a little girl in my house, she would be wearing these. I love these little hearts.

A felt-appliqued owl onesie! This is a Gerber size 6-9 months [which I think run a little small, by the way].

Oh owls, you get me every time. Serious love.

Alright, here are the deets on how you can win one of these lovelies for a sweet babe in your life:

Leave a comment – that’s all you have to do to enter!

Here’s what you can do for additional entries:

follow me on Twitter
“like” me on Facebook
favorite my shop on Etsy
tweet about the giveaway!

[leave a comment for each of these items]

The giveaway will be open until this Friday, January 20th. Good luck! :)

Pinterest love

Alright, so I know there are haters out there, but I l.o.v.e. Pinterest. Sure, it has its flaws… and some people get overwhelmed by it… but I can’t get enough of it. I maaaaay be slightly obsessed.

My only problem with Pinterest is that I don’t actually DO the things that I pin. I have boards filled with things I want to sew, tutorials to try, but I honestly haven’t done many of them. Maybe that should’ve been one of my not-resolutions?

However, I thought I’d share a few things I pinned that I did actually follow through with:

I made these… so simple and yummy. The first time I made them, I forgot the cheese. But quite honestly, I liked them better that way. I’ve probably made these four or five times already since pinning it, and while I can’t get the kiddos to even try them [you win some, you lose some], my hubs and I like them a lot.

Oh my word this was so delicious. I wanted to lick the bowl. Maybe I did. [I'll never tell]

Source: purlbee.com via Jess on Pinterest

Blanket stitch tutorial …. can you believe I didn’t know how to do this? Not so anymore!

***And since we’re talking Pinterest, you should check out this super awesome article on Pinterest “netiquette.”***

Are you on Pinterest? Come follow me! And leave me a note, I’ll follow you too. :)

A Year of New Beginnings [or a huge list of things I'm hoping for in 2012]

I have to admit, I’ve never been one for resolutions.  Mostly because I don’t keep them. I’ll resolve to be “super organized,” but busyness gets the best of me within a few weeks, and my system falls to the wayside. I’ll vow to “be on time for everything” but old habits creep in. I’ll commit to “keep the house spotless” but… well, now that’s just crazy talk. ;)

Anyone remember that episode of friends [called "The One With All the Resolutions"] where Monica makes fun of Rachel for never keeping any resolutions, like only writing in her diary on the January 1st? Yeah, that’s me. [do people even reference Friends anymore? because I totally do]

But I do love the results that come along with challenging myself to be a better daughter of the Father, better wife to my love, better mother to my littles, better keeper of my home. And I know that God can change me – sometimes it’s just my own self keeping Him from doing just that.

So this year, I’m not making resolutions.

But here are my goals, each with a hefty dose of grace built in, because I know that I will be far from perfect [and maybe some of these fall in the "I just really hope this happens" category]:

I’m taking part in the Hello Mornings challenge. I’m going to work hard to get up for my children, rather than get up to my children. This is not going to be easy for me – I’m not a morning person, and I still have a baby who is most definitely NOT sleeping through the night. But I’m hopeful for the peace this will bring to my days. [And today is the last day to sign up - you totally should]

I’m embarking on the Gentleness Challenge this month, armed with the knowledge that God’s grace is bigger than my sometimes short temper.

I’m going to sew. A lot. Maybe that’s a given… ;) And while it would be ridiculous to say I’m not going to buy new fabric [because that is crazy talk for REAL], I’m going to challenge myself to try to de-stash what I have and up cycle even more than I already do. And I have a stack of patterns books that are just begging to be used!

And oh the projects and lovely things I want to share here in this space!

I want to clean out my basement. Craigslist, be ready for me, because I’m going to do some serious purging.

I want my two-year-old to eat more than two vegetables. puh-lease.

I’m going to fine-tune my shop a little.  Since opening it, I’ve made some discoveries about what I love to make and sell. I’m so super excited about focusing on a few categories of items, rather than the hodgepodge it was at the beginning. Hopefully y’all will be just as super excited as I am. :)

I’m hoping my baby will take a bottle so hubs and I can [finally] go on a date. Or a lot of dates.

I want to be a homebody. Seriously. I have recently developed this incredible love for simply being in our home with my children [well, I do eventually reach a point of "get me out of here or I will lose my mind"]. I want to enjoy this winter just being.

I want to [sort of] meal plan.

I want to continue guiding my kiddos as they learn how to love learning. As we’ve been starting our homeschooling journey, I’ve been leaning toward the “unschooling” side of things. I really love it, actually. I don’t know that this is where we will stay, but it’s a lovely place to be right now. And since my littles are learning and growing at this jaw-dropping rate [at least to me], I’m feeling really good about it. [I’m pondering through this blog post and all the links she has, if you’re interested]

I need to do some yoga. I lost all my baby weight, but let’s just say things aren’t quite the same [ahem] shape anymore.

I want to spend time basking in the love of the Father. And I want my kids to see how much the Father loves them.

Hmm… quite a few goals, for someone who doesn’t make resolutions.

What goals, resolutions, commitments, or changes are you making this New Year?