If your kids are anything like mine, you probably have a lot of pants come through your washing machine with ripped out knees. Here’s a creative way to patch them up, courtesy of Family Fun Magazine!
The tutorial in the magazine had you use white felt for the eyes, but we used buttons instead, mostly because it was 1 a.m. and we were ready to be done with this project! We did it as a surprise for Seahawk – he’s much harder on his pants than Munchkin, which is only compounded by the fact that when we were buying them, Target only one pair in his size. He was dubious at first, but loves his Monster Patch now. Oh, and lest you think I’m the only crafty one in the family, that’s hubby’s hand doing the sewing :).
What’s your favorite way to patch a hole? Let me know in the comments!
I know I’m not the first, and I probably won’t be the last, to blog about the joys of making your own corn tortillas, but I gotta tell you, if you’ve never tried it, you MUST!
Tortillas are one of those things that I always thought just kind of “existed.” I never even considered the idea that I could make my own. I started with flour tortillas a few weeks ago, and while they’re better than store-bought, they’re not “I’ll never buy them again” good. The corn tortillas, though, are to die for! It takes about an hour start to finish (plus the time to make your filling), but it’s completely worth it! Here’s how you do it:
First, buy some Maseca from the Hispanic foods aisle of your grocery store. It’s priced comparably to flour, so not too much :). In case you don’t know, Maseca is corn flour – NOT to be confused with corn starch. Maseca won’t thicken your gravy, and corn starch won’t make good tortillas.
Here’s what it looks like out of the bag:
Now, I forgot to take a picture of the next step, but it’s just adding water according to the specifications on the bag to make a dough.
Then you form your dough into balls. I actually made 12, not 5, but again, forgot to take a picture in the beginning.
The next several pictures are essentially one step: flatten the balls into tortillas. If you have a tortilla press, I’ve heard (read) that this is a lot easier. If you, like me, don’t, it’s still not worth not trying over. The most important thing to remember is that you have to use plastic wrap on either side of your tortilla. Using additional Maseca, like flour on a pie dough, doesn’t work. Trust me on that! I tried it that way the first time I made these and almost gave up. Plastic wrap, or a cut open plastic bag, is the way to go.
First, place your tortilla ball between two pieces of plastic:
Then flatten it with a cast iron skillet (I found that it’s best to squish it down, then turn the whole thing, plastic wrap and all, over and do it again before moving on):
Finally, without removing the plastic wrap, roll it out with a rolling pin (again, flipping it over inside the wrap a time or two):
Carefully peel the plastic wrap away and place your tortillas on a baking sheet (with layers separated by plastic – are you sensing a theme here?) to await their turn on the griddle:
I then put my plastic wrap into my jar of Maseca so I can use it next time. I hate throwing away plastic, so I’m going to use that baby as many times as I can!
Now you’re ready to cook them! They take 45-60 seconds per side.
You’ll more than likely end up with small pieces that break off; cook them anyway and enjoy them as a cooking snack!
That’s it! Once they’re all done, use them the same way you would their store-bought counterparts.
Have you ever made your own tortillas? How did it go? If you haven’t, are you interested in trying? Let me know in the comments!
Hello everyone! Just a quick post to let you know that I’m going to be expanding the content I blog about beyond just my crafting. You may have gotten that idea with my last post, being as it was about our homeschool more than just a craft I made, but as I move forward from here, it will be even more obvious. I hope you enjoy the more varied content, and thanks for your support!
My hugest apologies for the long time with no posts! We moved in December and hubby decided to move his office out of the house. What that means for me is no computer or internet at home… I have access to the computer approximately once every other week (it’s not that strict, that’s just about what it ends up being on average).
Anyway… here’s a peek at what I’ve been up to. Enjoy :).
We recently studied newspapers with my boys. It was a pretty fun unit to have worked on, and I’m pleased to share our experience here with you!
First thing each morning, we read a chapter of Henry and the Paper Route by Beverly Cleary. They kids had attempted a Beverly Cleary book on their own before, and while the writing was fine for them, they were put off by the length of the chapters. So having me read aloud to them helped them notice that even though the chapters are “24 pages!” (emphasis theirs) each, it’s really not so bad. Having done this now, they’re trying again to read their copy of Henry Huggins with much more success :).
We also did a lap book about newspapers. I don’t have ready access to a computer, so everything in the lap book was handmade by me. Except for the covers. I just had them cut a page from one of the local papers to about the right size and glue it to the cover.
Here are each of their covers:
Inside, I included things not just about newspapers, but about paper in general. We learned about how a tree is made into paper:
The life cycle of a newspaper from tree to recycle bin, different parts of a newspaper, the people in the newspaper office, and the importance of ads:
On the final side of our lap book, we drew a comic. Because my husband draws comics, I had to specifically ban the kids from just copying his characters and ideas. Hubby thought that was absolutely hilarious! We also talked about the similarities and differences between newspapers and books.
In addition, we made our paper – but from other paper, not from trees ;). I used this tutorial for that.
This week, the kids are making their own newspapers. Because of that whole “no computer at home” dilemma, those will likely end up looking very similar to the lap books – handmade and rustic!
To top the whole thing off, we went in and got a private tour of the newspaper office in our town today. The publisher was incredibly generous with his time and showed us everything from a detailed going-over of the current issue to meeting the staff and showing us the computer program they use to lay out the paper.
Overall, a huge success!!
Welcome to fall! With fall comes, of course, cooler weather. And with cooler weather comes … colds. We’re only a third of the way through fall, which means at least five more months of cooler weather before spring, and my older boys have each been sick twice already. This does not make a mama happy. So I headed over to my local JoAnn store to get some yarn using my half-price coupons to make stocking hats for them to keep their heads warm during the next 5-6 months – until springtime.
I wasn’t entirely sure what I was looking for when I went in, except that I didn’t want a “regular” yarn. I wanted something soft and moderately warm so that it would do its job when turned into a hat. What I found was Sensations brand “Angel Hair” yarn. It’s magnificent. If you knit or crochet, I highly recommend you go to your JoAnn store and buy a skein or two to try out. Even hubby agreed it was wonderful feeling :).
The hats are just a basic beanie. You can find the pattern here. You’ll notice that I didn’t do the stripes in the pattern. That’s because my yarn was already striped, and I loved the way each color looked on its own; I didn’t want to take away from the beauty of the main color by adding those stripes. If the yarn had been a single color, I probably would have given each boy’s hat stripes in the other color. But since it wasn’t, I didn’t, so it’s a moot point :).
My sister-in-law just had a baby on September 19th (a week after his due date). He’s my second nephew, joining the ranks of 5 nieces (none of whom he’s related to, although he does have loads of girl cousins on his mom’s side of the family – he’s the son of my brother and his wife). My first nephew is also the son of my brother and his wife, ironically enough, which means my mom is blessed with 5 grandsons and no granddaughters.
But enough about the family make-up. A new baby means, of course, a baby gift!
Here’s what I started with:
And here’s what I made:
When it came time to start crocheting, none of the patterns I looked at “floated my boat” so to speak, so I just did a basic one row of single crochet, one row of double crochet, repeat. Even with such basic stitches, I thought it turned out pretty :). Let me know what you think of it.
The post title pretty much says it all. gDiapers are awesome. For those of you who haven’t heard of them, they’re a hybrid diapering system. They use a reusable cloth outer, a breathable, waterproof, reusable liner, and your choice of insert: either a cloth one that’s washable (obviously) or a flushable one. That’s right: flushable diapers!
I first learned of the system when there was an ad on the side of my gmail for them. I was still pregnant with Small Fry at the time, and my husband and I were just starting to become more environmentally conscious (if you don’t think recycling matters, take a trip to your local landfill and see how much garbage is produced in your area. I dare you not to become environmental after that!), so the idea of diapers that you could flush away instead of sending to “Junk Mountain” was very intriguing to me. I clicked through and fell in love with the concept. The only hurdle was the price: a starter pack for newborns was about $150. Now, that’s no *so* much when you consider what you get (18 cloth outers in two sizes and 160 flushable inserts), but I was trying to convince a skeptical husband (recycling our cans and paper was one thing; spending over $100 on diapers was completely different!), so it was a pretty major problem for me.
I didn’t end up getting the newborn pack.
We used disposable diapers for the first six weeks, which I hated after having learned about the g’s. But finally, we were able to find out that we could buy the individual pieces at Babies *R* Us, so I was able to talk DH into going there to get a “starter kit”: 2 pairs of the outer pants and a pack of 40 flushables for $45. It was priced at $40 on the gDiapers website, but once you added in shipping, it was a wash.
So, we’ve bought the two pairs of “little gPants” and our first package of flushables now. I started using them to diaper Baby E right away, and after just a small learning curve (these don’t have the little yellow line that turns blue when wet like the Pampers we’d been using), I was convinced that I didn’t want to go back to disposables. The problem now? Two pairs of the pants isn’t enough for full-time gDiapering. And extra pants are between $15 and $22 apiece.
What was a crafty mom to do?
Find out how to make my own covers, of course! I found a couple of tutorials and tried the YouTube one first. The pants came out looking okay, but they just weren’t good enough to use as a diaper. So I tried the written one. I was skeptical at first, mostly because of my experience with the other one, but oh my, these new ones are *nearly* as good as their store bought counterparts. Because I’m not a professional seamstress by any stretch of the imagination, there are obvious flaws, but not so many that I feel the need to buy “official” gPants.
Including all my mistakes, I was able to make 4 of the covers for about $40. That doesn’t sound like much savings, but I’ve got enough fabric left over to make at least two more; I just need to pick up some more Velcro. Once I get those done, that’ll make the homemade ones about half the price of the purchased ones! (They’ve got a 6-pair pack available for $79.99.) Win!
I’m not sure whether or not this counts as a “craft” per se, but I’m going with it :).
My husband and I, after watching the documentary Forks Over Knives, have decided to cut all animal products from our diets. This has been a bit harder than I expected – until today. But more on that in a minute.
We took our sons to a farm last Friday, and because it’s so late in the season, all they had available for u-pick was blueberries, so we picked blueberries. It was a wonderful family experience, even if most of the bushes had already been picked pretty clean. We got at least 2 pints for a meager $1.11. I know, had we purchased those same berries in the store, it would have cost us at least $8. Fun family time + cheaper berries = big win!
The trick with so many blueberries, though, is that I don’t particularly like them, except in baked goods. I know they’re really healthy with all their antioxidants etc., but I’ve never enjoyed raw blueberries, so my mind was immediately trying to think of what we could use them for. The kids like the raw okay, but hubby (after a huge blueberry picking trip as a child where they literally ate nothing but blueberries and blueberry-inspired baked goods for several days) isn’t overly fond of them, either, so unless I cooked something with them, I knew a lot of them would go to waste. Even at a savings of almost $7, I couldn’t let that happen.
Since this was after we adopted the vegan lifestyle, however, I was at a loss as to how to make muffins (the standard blueberry fare :)) without milk or eggs. A simple Google search led me to this recipe, which was so easy I knew I had to try it. It’s made using ingredients commonly found in a standard kitchen; all I had to buy was the margarine (we’ve been butter people for years) and applesauce. These used about half of the berries we had, so I went over to another site and found a wonderful recipe for vegan waffles and added the rest of the berries to that for breakfast one morning (unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the waffles, though). Yum!
Back to that comment about finally finding our way in this new lifestyle today. I found a documentary on Amazon (I love having a Prime membership!) yesterday morning – while I was nursing Baby E and wishing to be asleep, lol – from one of the guys who did Forks Over Knives called “Forks Over Knives presents The Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue with Rip Esselstyn” and watched it. It was really good; I highly recommend it. In it, he went to two families’ homes and taught them the basics of this lifestyle: they went shopping for a day’s worth of groceries, and then he taught them how to use those whole ingredients to make delicious meals. Believe me when I say the meals were amazing looking! Or better yet, go watch the film yourself :). We’ve committed to taking his 28-day challenge (starting today) and have had two of the meals from his site so far; both are some of the best food I’ve had in ages, especially since going vegan. Head on over to his site if you’re interested in more information on this plant-based, whole foods lifestyle :).
Until next time…
Wow, I didn’t realize it had been so long since I’d made a post! I knew it’d been a while, but I didn’t remember just how long.
So, I recently made this hat. I love the colors, don’t you? 🙂 Funny thing about this one: I stitched a sample for determining gauge, and adjusted my hook size accordingly, but then when the hat was done, it was way too big, so I ended up pulling the whole thing apart and making it again with a smaller hook. But as my hubby said, “At least you got good entertainment value from that skein of yarn!” He’s always looking at the bright side of things :).
As for the “update” part of this post, part of why it’s been so long since I made a post is because Small Fry was born! He arrived via scheduled c-section (which I do not recommend!) on July 12th, 2012 at 8:15 a.m. PST. He weighed in at 6 pounds, 8 ounces, and was 19 3/4 inches long. He was born with a shock of black hair, which was a surprise for all of us considering both of our other sons have red hair! But his facial features are pretty much identical to Munchkin (our 5-year-old) as a baby, so despite the difference in hair color, there’s no doubt that they’re all brothers.
I’ll still continue to add posts of my creations as I’m able, but until Small Fry is a bit older, it’ll probably be longer between them. Having a newborn makes it hard to find time for crafting! But I wouldn’t trade him for anything.