Tuesday, August 31, 2010

~Sunbasilgarden Soaps~

A while ago, I got an email from Kim at Everything Etsy, telling me that I was a winner in one of the giveaways on the blog! I had completely forgotten about entering the giveaway, so it was a fun surprise!

(Lemon Squares)

After sending my address to the giveaway host, I again completely forgot about it. So one day I opened my mailbox and was surprised with a nice package full of gorgeous soaps from Sunbasilgarden Soaps by Lauren.

(Strawberry Banana Milkshake)

The soaps are simply beautiful. I got five different bars of soap, and had a hard time deciding which one to use first! I finally chose the lemon bar scent. Each soap just looks so professional - they are individually wrapped in cellophane, with a sticker on the back that has the soap name and complete ingredient list. The soaps that are layered have sharp, clean lines.

(Peanut Butter Cookie and Milk)

I am just so impressed with these soaps! They are a treat for the senses! They would make a lovely gift! The pictures above are three of the five soaps that I received. But Lauren makes more than just bar soaps! Check these out:

Yes, they really are soap! I would have a hard time using them as soap though!

Pictures used by permission. I was under no obligation to write this post.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I recently said that I hadn't done any canning this summer. Well, I have rectified that situation! I have done a lot of canning now! :-)

Last Sunday I was the happy recipient of 47 pounds of tomatoes! A family in our church has a large garden, and they bring extras to church. I hung around until everyone had gotten the tomatoes they wanted and then I was able to take the rest. I was very happy to take them, and they were happy they were going to be used, as they had just had to throw out quite a few bad tomatoes.

On Monday I canned. All.day.long. I was tired but elated at the end of the day!

I got 6 quarts and 14 pints of plain tomatoes (hot-packed), with 2 quarts in the freezer as well. I made 2 batches of salsa, which resulted in 8 pints and 1/2 pint. I feel blessed with the bounty!

I also realized that I never updated on what happened with all my blueberries! I put 4 1/2 quarts in the freezer, made a batch of jam, a batch of no-sugar spread, and canned 7 pints of plain berries (in water) for cooking with.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

~Granny's Clothespin Apron~

I've been hanging my laundry outside, and I really needed an apron or something to hold my clothespins. Today I made "Granny's Clothespin Apron" from the book One-Yard Wonders. I made some changes to the pattern, and didn't follow the instructions completely. The largest change I made was to make the apron three inches wider and two inches longer.

I made it from fabric I've had for quite a while. I think it was purchased mid-90's (by my mom), and the original intent for this fabric was to make matching dresses or jumpers for my younger sisters. I bet they're glad that didn't happen. ;-) However, I thought the fabric was perfect for this project!

Note: If you plan to do any sewing from One-Yard Wonders, make sure to check the errata, found here. Truly, I'm dumbfounded at the amount of mistakes in the book. And I find it slightly humorous that there is at least one mistake on the corrections page. I do plan on sewing more projects from this book, but I am disappointed in the amount of mistakes, the lack of diagrams to illustrate the instructions, and confusing instructions.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

~I Made it!~

Well, I'm joining in on the party a little late in the day, but I am excited to share my finished project with you!

I made this little outfit for my daughter. My blog readers may remember this post, in which I was trying to determine if I should leave the top long, as a dress, or cut it shorter, to be a top. In the end, my husband wanted it to be a top, so I cut it shorter. I cut two inches off, and the shorts show below the top. The top is more of a tunic length, which I think is adorable.

I love it! I had some frustrations while sewing it, but setting those frustrations aside, I'm very happy with the finished result!

The pattern I used is Simplicity 2625. For more "I Made it" entries, please click on the button at the top of this page.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I have not canned one single thing this summer. No jam, no peaches, no nothing. I think it is more challenging to have a toddler than a baby, at least when it comes to spending a lot of time in the kitchen!

But today we went and picked blueberries. Eighteen pounds, to be exact. My goal was ten pounds, and the owner told us that a bucket full was 7 pounds, and up to a certain line was 5 pounds. So away we went, we picked for probably 2 hours or more. And we picked 18 pounds. I think the line thing was a trick to get us to pick more. ;-) Well, at any rate I have blueberries to freeze and put up! I'm really excited! Oh, and they were $1/pound and they are organic too!

Our daughter helped pick blueberries for a while, then she settled herself in front of the bucket and ate her fill, and then once she was full she started tossing them out of the bucket. After a while of wandering up and down the row between us, her fun meter hit "0" so we went and got her Cheerios and sippy cup. Sitting in her stroller eating O's and drinking water revived her spirits and brought the fun meter back up. :-)

It was sprinkling for the last half hour or so that we were there, which was actually pleasant. I'm so glad we went blueberry picking! It was a great family outing!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

~Chocolate Banana Bread~

We took advantage of Sam's Club "open house" last weekend and stopped in to do a little shopping. We didn't buy much, but bananas were 3 pounds/$.89 so I bought 12 pounds. I probably should have bought more! The ones we weren't able to eat right away I put in the freezer for baking and smoothies.

I also wanted to make banana bread and got it into my head to make chocolate banana bread. The nice thing about food.com is that pretty much anything you can think there will be a recipe for! So I just went and looked and sure enough there were several chocolate banana bread recipes.

I used this one here, with several modifications. I used coconut oil in place of margarine, decreased the sugar to 3/4 cup, and used half whole wheat flour, half white flour. So while it still isn't super-healthy food by any means, I feel it is a little better. This particular recipe has three bananas in one loaf, so it makes a super moist bread, even with using whole wheat flour.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

~From Scratch~

One of the things I enjoy doing is making things "from scratch", food or otherwise. It gives me a thrill to make something that most people buy. And (in most cases) it saves money. Also, it is typically healthier. But I know there are seasons in life that "from scratch" just takes way too long. I've been there too, and those bags/boxes/cans sure are handy!

Here are some recipes I've recently used to make things from scratch:
:::Peanut Butter Granola, recipe at Making a House a Home.
Yum! Fast and easy! I substituted coconut oil for the butter.
:::Coconut Granola
I followed the granola recipe I posted here, substituting coconut oil for the butter. When there was just 15 minutes left to bake it, I added in coconut flakes.
:::Buttermilk Ranch Dressing (recipe found in this post at Simple Bites)
There are two other salad dressing recipes in this post that I'd like to try out as well. I made the ranch dressing and tasted it and then wanted to sit down and eat the dressing. Later that same evening, after dinner and the dishes were done, I had thoughts about sneaking back into the kitchen and eating the ranch dressing. It's that good!
:::Green Enchilada Sauce
I made this last night. I was going to do a cost comparison on buying the ingredients versus buying a can of green enchilada sauce, but I forgot and threw my receipt away. It wasn't terribly expensive, and it made double the amount in a can. So I would say it was fairly inexpensive to make.

Kevin loved this sauce (I made green chicken enchiladas with it). He said it is so much better than store-bought. And I agree. If you have time, it is worth the effort it takes to make it! With the batch I made last night, I made dinner and had enough to stick in the freezer for another meal.

There is one thing I want to change about it though. There are two green bell peppers in it. As I was making it I was smelling it and thinking it smelled so wonderful, yet I kept wondering why I was thinking about my pregnancy with my daughter and feeling a little sick to my stomach. Then it dawned on me. It has bell peppers in it. I couldn't eat bell peppers for my entire pregnancy, much less smell them. Since this is a food post I won't gross you out with details, but I was very sick for 9 months. With as much as I couldn't eat/smell/see I'm lucky bell peppers are the only food I still have an aversion to! So...all that to say, next time I make this (and there will be a next time!) I'm looking for a recipe without bell peppers!

With as much as I like making things from scratch I still don't make bread or yogurt. I guess I should put those on my "to do" list!

Saturday, August 07, 2010


One thing that I have completely failed to mention (except in my "About Me" in my sidebar) is that this June Kevin and I celebrated our tenth anniversary! We were busy in California over our anniversary, and I just failed to mention it here.

Ten. I remember turning ten and how special that was, how "grown up" I felt. I was now a decade old. My age had two digits in it. Celebrating ten years of marriage feels somewhat the same, I have to admit!

I am so incredibly blessed to be married to Kevin. For ten years, and counting.

We slipped away for lunch out together, while my mom and sisters watched our daughter. We went to a great Mexican restaurant that Kevin likes to go to every time we're in the area. :-)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


August already? Where is this summer going?

I just really can't believe it is August already. Summer has just slipped by so fast this year! Each year that I've lived in Michigan (six years now), the winters seem longer than the year before, and the summers seem shorter.

Several miscellaneous things:

1) I spelled miscellaneous correctly without having to look it up! LOL (For boasting on this I'll probably make many other spelling/grammar mistakes in this post. You'd think I'd have learned my lesson on this.) It's easier to type "misc." ;-)

2) I was super-duper bored one night, and lucky me landed on Craft Apple's blog where Linda was giving away some books. Linda is sending me the Japanese patchwork book. I'm looking forward to getting it!

3) I still haven't decided if I'm going to cut the dress (previous post) down to a top length or leave it as a dress. Everyone who commented said to leave it as a dress, however Kevin said I should cut it down to a top. Husbands are always right, right? :-) I need to make up my mind soon though so my daughter has a chance to wear it before the snow starts flying. ;-)

4) A while ago, I decided to start saving the Amazon gift cards I purchase with my Swagbucks for a large purchase. This KitchenAid mixer, to be exact. I am 36% of the way there. Not that I'm keeping track or anything.

5) I have been making my daughter a smoothie every day before she goes down for her afternoon nap. I just throw in a half banana, a few spoons of yogurt, whatever fruit I have on hand, and just recently...spinach. I read this post and watched the accompanying video, and promptly started adding greens to her smoothies. She likes them. I taste them and they don't taste spinachy to me! I should probably make enough for me too!

6) Have a great day! Enjoy the rest of your summer! :-)