Thursday, January 28, 2010

Valentine How-to #3: XOXO Pillow, and something else I Love



Did I really say this would be posted yesterday??? So I fibbed a little. Truth be told wee one has another double ear infection so he took priority.

Here is my last Valentine Pillow How-to (at least for now...I have some other really cute ones in production)- XOXO Pillow

Supplies:

1 1/2 yards of valentiney color felt
1/4 yard of white felt
"X" and "O" printed out and then cut out for a stencil again I used Pupcat
coordinating thread
poly fiber fill

Cut out two (or four if you are making more than one) 17x17 squares from valentine felt.

Using letter stencils, trace (backwards) letters onto white felt. Cut out letters


Place letters in center of one of the valentiney squares in XOXO pattern. Pin on.


Outline letters by sewing with white thread.


Pin your XOXO square, right side facing, to your other square. Sew around edge with 1/4 seam, allowing a 4-5 inch opening at the bottom of the pillow for stuffing.


Turn pillow out and stuff with fiber fill. Then hand sew the opening closed.

XOXO pillow completed.

Now add this lovely pillow to the other and welcome this sweetheart of a conversation starter...case in point, this was overheard in my house...

Oldest Little Man to Middle Little Man: "Do you know what XOXO means? It means that girls want to kiss you."

I would also like to give a thank you to Lorie from Be Different Act Normal for my lovely shout out on her blog for my Vday Pillows.

On to something else I Love...

Quick, easy, and cheap kid friendly meals, yes that is right I did not forget it is also Recipe Thursday.

In the last year we have become a couponing kind of family. While this is frugal and food storage friendly, it has not always been meal planning friendly. Sometimes I find myself staring, dumbfounded in the fridge at what I have stuck myself with...20 things of yogurt...crescent rolls...egg beaters...grands biscuits...juice....spaghetti sauce...you get the point.

Well yesterday, I stared into the dark abiss of my fridge but it did not suck me in, no my friends I came out victorious! I give you...

budget friendly
Pizzas for the Kiddos


Ingredients:
Grands Biscuits
spaghetti sauce
Italian cheese blend
shredded parmesan cheese
1 Tb butter
mixture of garlic salt and Italian seasoning
add any other topping your kids like...my kids only like cheese


Preheat oven to 400. Take each biscuit flatten, stretch, and make a pizza "crust", and place on cooking sheet.


Watch out for little ones who like to steal dough and make it into balls.


Place a spoonful of sauce and spread in middle of each crust. Sprinkle with cheeses.


Melt butter. Sprinkle in garlic salt and Italian season to taste.


Brush butter mixture over the crusts of the mini pizzas.


Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden. Serve and watch them disappear.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Valentine How-to #2: L.O.V.E. Banner



Before I start I realized I didn't take as many pictures of the how-to process (What not enough pictures??? You mean the mass amounts with this post is actually not all that could have been posted?? Crazy you say...or think...yes I know), so hopefully the written how-to will be plenty explanatory...

Alright let's get to it...

2nd how-to- L.O.V.E. Banner

Supplies:

1 yard of cheap heavy white muslin
felt in four valentiney colors
coordinating thread
red/pink belting buy on spool
letters printed, from your favorite font, in a large size, and then cut out to make stencils I used Pupcat font

Measure and cut out 8-10x9 rectangles from the white muslin, and pair together to make 4 pairs.

Print out the letters to stencil. Cut out and use for patterns to trace. Trace each letter on a different color of valentine felt (remembering to trace your pattern backwards so the letter will be facing the right side when you cut it out).



Cut out each letter and pin it to one piece of muslin from each pair. Sew each letter on to it's piece of muslin in coordinating color of thread.



Once all the letters are sewn on, pin the letter piece of muslin, right sides facing, to it's muslin pair. Sew around the edges with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, leaving a 3-4 inch hole in the top of your letter panel (top here because your belting will cover it). Once you have all your panels for the banner sewn, turn them out. Make sure to iron each panel to make sure that it lays nicely.



Measure you belting to match where and how you would like it to hang. Once you have the length that will work for your desired place of display, fold that in half and mark with a pin. Since that will be the middle you need to place your letter panels, with top of panel under the belting, equally on either side.  My panels were 2 inches a part. Pin each panel in place.

After you have pinned each panel, sew the belting to each panel by starting at the right top the L, sewing over the top, including the space where there is no panel, then going back over the bottom of the belting towards your starting point, you will not sew past each end panel. If you want you can sew a loop at the ends of the belting for hanging, or you can measure it long enough to tie. I made loops so that I could pin my banner up.





Now just hang it up. Be creative, this can be done for practically any fun occasion with any fun material.



Just for kick and giggles...here is just one of the things my boys have been found doing while I sew. Gotta love it...boy were they lucky I had more tape.





Tomorrow- XOXO Pillow

Monday, January 25, 2010

Valentine Craft #1 How-to: Polka Dot Pillow



 Love is in the air. Can you feel it? I have FELT it.

This year I wanted to cut-i-fy (totally a word) my house for Vday. I am not normally the decorate-your-house-for-every-holiday kind of girl...mostly because I can't afford to. Well this year, felt came to the rescue. Thanks to this cheap little wonder I was able to make some cute things for Valentine's Day. Over the next couple days I will post the how-to for each of the decorations in the above picture.

TODAY--here is my how-to for my Valentine's Day Polka Dot Pillow

Supplies:

four different shades of reds/pinks felt that you can buy off the bolt I got several yards of each because I was using them for several projects. 1/2 yrd of each will be plenty for this pillow.

1/2 yard of cheap heavy white muslin

embroidery floss in four cordinating colors of felt

coordinating thread

circle shape to trace for polka dots I used a baby food lid

poly fiber fill



Cut one piece of white muslin with the measurements of 15x15. Cut another 15x15 square from the felt color of your choice for the back of the pillow.

You will need about 25 circles, this will obviously vary depending on the size of your circle stencil. Trace 6-7 circles from each your four different colors of felt.




Pin on each circle, leaving about an inch space on every side, on to your white muslin square. You will need to leave a little extra room on the outside edges of the muslin to allow for a 1/4 inch seam. Make sure the circles lay equally on the surface of your square, the color pattern is up to you!




Using the coordinating embroidery floss, use a simple straight hand stitch to outline each circle. I sewed each circle straight on, they are small enough that you should not have to use an embroidery hoop.




Place your polka dot muslin right side down on top of your piece of felt and pin. Sew around the edges with a 1/4 inch seam. Make sure to leave a 4-5 inch hole on the edge that will be the bottom of your pillow so that you can stuff.




Turn you pillow out. Fill with fiber fill. I like to fill mine pretty full for a stiffer pillow...aka more kid friendly.

Once pillow is full, hand stitch opening closed.

Now pat yourself on the back and toss that cute pillow on your chair/couch/bench.




tomorrow- L.O.V.E.  Banner

Friday, January 22, 2010

Valentine How-to = Easy Weekend Project

Start with-
generic wood letters that will stand by themselves, I got mine at walmart for $1.97 a piece
smooth styrofoam balls in varying sizes, can buy in floral dept of most craft stores
2 valentiney colors of acrylic paint

find your foam brushes...you know you have about 50
something to stabilize the balls as you let them dry...I used canning rings





Start a' painting. I painted my letters in one uniform color. The letters will take at least two coats.



Paint the balls varying colors. I was using mine for a clear vase like container, but they can be used in a bowl too. These are tricky to paint. You will have to paint them in stages. Start by painting about 2/3, basically anywhere you can't hold. Let dry in a stable place, here is where my canning rings came in. This kind of paint drys really quickly. Apply a second to third coat on the 2/3. Once that is dry and has the coverage you want, paint the remaining 1/3 with equal coats. Let dry.




While you are searching for you canning rings, grab a couple of jars. I used my small ones. Then rummage for the three bags of cheap valentines day candy you bought and know you shouldn't eat (at least all of it), and put it into your jars.



Now everything is dry and can be put together on your favorite shelf.

Letters
Haha love birds...get it...



Valentine Balls



Sweet Display



There ya have it. With just an hour (okay and maybe a trip to the craft store...but you know you wanted to go anyway) you can have a cheap and sweet Valentine's Day display. Go to it!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Easy Peasy

There is a family that Spencer works with that is always giving us these delightfully yummy recipes. This one is one of my FAVORITE. It does take some planning, unless you are someone who keeps coconut milk in your pantry.  So plan, go buy some ingredients, make, and then ENJOY.

Easy Mango Chicken with Coconut Rice




4 chicken breasts
cumin to taste (I used a couple teaspoons)
lemon pepper to taste (I used a teaspoon)
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups mango salsa (I used, per her instructions, Costcos)

1 T butter
1 T brown sugar
1 t sea salt or 1/2 t table salt
2 cups Jasmine rice (best rice ever)
1 1/2 cups coconut milk (shake can well before using)
1/1/2 cups water

1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes

Put chicken in crock pot and add spices. Cover and cook until chicken is tender, several hours on high will do the trick. Remove chicken and shred. Remove any juices that might have cooked out of chicken, reserve. Put chicken back into crock pot and add corn, beans, and salsa. Mix well. If it seems too dry you can add reserved juices back in. Let it remain in crock pot turned on low until ready to serve with rice.

RICE:

Heat butter in a deep skillet or a medium saucepan, over med heat. When butter is melted, add brown sugar and salt. Stir until dissolved. Turn heat to high, add rice and stir until each grain is coated evenly. Add coconut milk and water. Stir. Bring to boil then immediately cover with tight fitting lid and turn heat to low and simmer undisturbed for 20 minutes. Remove pot from heat but DO NOT OPEN LID and let set for another 10 minutes.

While rice is cooking, toast coconut flakes in a dry skillet over med high heat. Stir frequently or it will burn. Takes aprox. 2 minutes.

When rice is ready to serve, stir and fluff. Then serve the chicken topping over the rice and sprinkle with toatsed coconut.

Okay let's get our eat on. YUM.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Flashback

I was spending some quiet time (older boys bowling with friends and Case napping for 3 hours) going through some papers/cards/pictures that I have saved since my the end of high school. This is one of the GREAT things I found.




Good times. My heart just melted at remembering the good old days of us Stockhoff Kids. Yes, then I teared up a little bit...and then I gut laughed.

Even though it was a load of stuff, I am glad I went though it AND I guess I am glad I kept it all.

PS I was 16 in this picture.

Friday, January 15, 2010

It is Still Thursday, Right???

I am really off my game. So for the awesome few of you who come to expect Recipe Thursdays here is a special treat for you...Recipe Mock Thursday...aka I-just-didn't-get-around-to-posting-yesterday-so-I-am-pretending-today-is-Thursday.

As I said last week, we are trying to make things a little healthier this year. This week Spencer had a travel day, and normally on these travel days I have cereal and the boys have (insert unhealthy processed meal from a box here). This week though I decided to stick to our healthy goal. I made the boys homemade chicken strips and fries. I searched out a couple of homemade fries recipes and ended up with this adaptation. I determined this combo of spices was pretty kid and mom friendly (although Jack still said they were too spicy).

Enjoy some healthy fries with none of the fries guilt!

Baked Oven Fries
serves 2-3

Ingredients:

2 large baked potatoes
1 T grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 T olive oil
1/4 t salt
1/4 t granulated garlic
1/4 t paprika
1/8 t pepper (more or less dependent on spice desire)



Wash potatoes. Thinly slice, trying to make as uniform as possible.



Combine all dry ingredients.



Combine potatoes with just dry ingredients, stirring to coat. Drizzle with olive oil, and then toss to coat evenly.



Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Lay potato slices in a single layer on cookie sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Make sure to watch. If your potatoes slices very in thinness some may burn.



Serve to your kiddies with a side of homemade chicken strips (I made these by coating chicken in a mixture of crushed baked lays, basil, Parmesan cheese and garlic salt) and low fat ranch. Then anticipate accolades of praise and declarations that you are, "the bestest cook ever".



Here's to heart healthy Fries!

Speaking of the heart...I have a table full of projects all for the Valentine spirit in you...


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Out Sick



Wouldn't it be nice if mommies could take a sick day? I sure could use a sick day.

Production of useful activities, meals, crafts, chores, etc. have not been up to snuff as of late. Unfortunately, they do still have to get done. Even though television is a useful nanny sometimes, I am pretty sure it doesn't change diapers, nurse babies, help toddlers go pee, clean said pee off the bathroom floor, make sure homework is done, make dinner, fold laundry, give baths...you get the point.

As we speak I am laboriously breathing through one nostril, my throat is on fire, and I am sporting two no-where-near-attractive cold sores on my face, AND I am holding a sleeping baby who is having illness issues of his own (yes and typing...I am pretty talented).

This morning I decided push through the yucks to clean under our bed, in our closet, and our desk area (after all cleaning still has to get done...and hey maybe it is my dust laden room making me sick). Fast forward to this afternoon and I am spent and baby is spent AND everything is sitting on my bed in piles and there is still a appalling amount of dust left. I don't think I will be sleeping in my bed tonight.

So I say again, wouldn't it be nice if mommies could have a sick day without the world around them coming to a screaching halt. I guess it says how pretty special and wonderful mommies are, doesn't it.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Baby The Cold Outside Has Caused Some Colds Inside




Good bye to the hustle and bustle of the holiday months and hello to a fresh new year and a fresh new start...oh and what's that...nationally historic frigid temps which leads to a whole fresh batch of coughs, sneezes, stuffy noses, fevers, and ear infections...why 2010, what did I ever do to you???


Ignore my somewhat huffy attitude towards 20-10, we are already at odds because I turn 20-10 in 20-10 so our relationship is already stressed!

On a lighter note...our colds are almost done, with the exception of Case (well and the little tickle in my throat), and we have heat, blankets, and hot cocoa.

So here are a couple of recipes-- a simple and easy recipe that will warm the bellies of your cold wee ones and a lighter one for a healthier you.


PB and Mallow Quesadillas




2 flour tortillas
peanut butter
marshmallows or marshmallow cream
butter

Spread desired amount of PB on one tortilla. Spread marshmallows/marshmallow cream on top of pb. Melt  a TBS of butter in a frying pan. Sandwich tortillas together and place in pan. Cook for about a minute on each side. Add more butter if needed.

Slice it up pizza style and serve with a cup of hot cocoa.

Then watch the joy on their gooey faces.







We are trying to keep things light this year, and watch our girly and boyish figures. So here is a recipe that I adapted from Recipe Girl for Light Asian Lettuce Wraps. They were super yummy!

Light Asian Lettuce Wraps



1 T canola oil
2 T minced shallots
1 T minced garlic
1 T ginger paste
1 lb ground pork*
2 T low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce (find in Asian section of super market)
1 t oyster sauce (find in Asian section)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup fresh, minced cilantro
1/3 cup minced, lightly salted peanuts
1 head boston lettuce, leaves separated

*could use ground turkey for even leaner recipe

Heat oil in wok. Add shallots and stir fry for a couple of minutes. Add garlic and ginger and stir fry for another minute. Mix in ground meat. Add soy sauce, chili sauce, oyster sauce and sugar. Mix and cook until meat is brown and liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently.

Stir in cilantro and peanuts. Serve with lettuce cups and Asian Spaghetti.

Super De-Light-ful...I know you are super impressed by my wit.

Okay everyone on a side note after this post...I totally had this post ready to go this morning. After days of holding a sick Case for every nap, he had finally gone done for a nap in his bed. Well two older running/screaming boys changed that sleeping status. He woke up and the constant holding began...so if any one was looking for my somewhat reliable Recipe Thursday earlier don't be mad its tardiness or at me...blame this kid...



...you can't be mad at that snotty, ear-infected, sleep deprived face can you.
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