' August 2011 - Sisters, What!

Fire in the Bones

“If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that driveth
the plough shall know more of the scripture than thou dost”
-William Tyndale

If it wasn’t for William Tyndale, we would be without the Bible. Well,
maybe that is a little drastic, eventually there would have been
an English translation, but I feel that it would have taken
much longer. But really, next time we are trying to think of things to
be grateful for, add this man to your list. Living in a time when
reading or translating scripture in English was outlawed, William Tyndale fought
against it and worked on translating the Bible anyway. He translated it from its purest forms; Greek for the New Testament and Hebrew for the Old Testament. If this
little blurb has spiked your curiosity I would recommend reading “Fire
in the Bones” by S. Michael Wilcox. He gives you a prospective of how
important Tyndale’s work was; something you might have never realized
before, or at least I didn’t.

Wilcox does a great job at showing us his importance through Tyndale's personal experience; one of which was his intellectual preparation by attending Oxford.
I think one of the most interesting parts in the book was how Wilcox
points out the beautiful phrases that Tyndale  created from translating
the bible from Greek that. Such phrases as: “Atonement, Jehovah, mercy seat, the still small voice, let
there be light, in my Father’s house are many mansions….are all
Tyndale’s creations. He gave them birth; but time has nursed them to

“Hailed as a saint and condemned to the blackest pit of hell, William
Tyndale lived in a world-changing time, a world of whispers and
shouts. He altered that world more than any of his contemporaries, and
in doing so he brought all of us closer to God.” – S. Michael Wilcox


Anne Girl

My husband was gone late one night this week, so I indulged myself with watching Anne of Green Gables. It's one of my favorite books and movies of all time. The name Anne (with an e) used to be on my girl baby names list, but my sister had a girl first : ). But, I don't mind, because my niece fits the name in every way; she is everyone's "Anne girl" with the imagination and spunk to go with it.

If you've never read Anne of Green Gables, then you need to. Absolutely need to. She is inspiring, uplifting, and will make you want to be a better you.

One of my favorite quotes by Anne is this:
Isn't that so delicious! I just had to type it up and one day I will print it out and put on my wall as a reminder. In this wonderful age of technology, I think we often get so caught up in our t.v., the internet, our phones, ipods, etc, that we forget to just pause and notice our surroundings. I have always had a wild imagination and I just know that me and Anne would have been kindred spirits. My mom used to send me off to do a chore and I'd go off daydreaming in my own world and make a quick chore long. Do I still do this? After watching Anne of Green Gables I realize I don't do it as often as I used to. Sad huh. 

L. Frank Baum said "Imagination has brought mankind through the dark ages to its present state of civilization. Imagination led Columbus to discover America. Imagination led Franklin to discover electricity."

and I love this one by Carl Sagan "Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere."

So I asked myself, what am I doing today to exercise my own imagination? Do I give my mind a break from electronics and noises to just ponder? This blog Law after the bar, talks about the death of boredom as the doom of creativity (seriously, go read, great article). So being bored is definitely a good thing . It will get your mind spinning and get those creative juices going. 

Here is my Sunday Challenge, to myself and everyone else. This week, make a concerted effort to use your imagination. Be bored. Spend less time on the computer, the phone, watching t.v. or whatever is your weakness. 

Just remember that no matter how much money we have or make, we can all be rich because of our imaginations. 


binky clip tutorial

 Our little one likes to assimilate everything into his mouth that he possibly can. So his binky clip is usually soaking when he is done with it and needs to be washed like everyday. A little bit ago I made him some more while the others to use while the others are in the wash. (no, the flower and purple one are not for him, I made those for a niece.)
Badge clips - you can find at Micheals for like $2-3
Some fabric
elastic band. 

1. So first decide how long you want your binky clip to be and cut a rectangle out of any fabric. This is a great thing to make out of scraps. 
2. Sew up hot dog style and sew one end. 
3. Turn inside out and iron if you so desire. 
4. on the opened side fold in material and insert some sort of elastic band (i used old hair bands-works great and your recycling, awesome). 
5. Sew closed. I forgot to take a picture of the clip part. On the other end fold the fabric around clip and sew.  Your done. So easy. 


Fresh tomatoes, Mozzarella and Basil

It is late here on the West Coast and I should be studying. It is the first week of school and I am just not back in the swing of things yet. I loved my break, but being off sense March has just made that much harder to get going. So while I sit here "studying" these photos I took last week keep staring at me from my desk top just calling to be blogged about.
I love fresh tomatoes, ask anyone in my family. It is about the only plant that I willing plant and weed. This summer I was introduced to a tomato, mozzarella and basil salad and just loved it. And I have seen it pop up all over the web, so here is my very simple version.
Tomatoes, best right of the vine.
Fresh mozzarella
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar

These are the first tomatoes this summer!!!

I just cut everything up and then My Mom and I each made our own bites and dipped in Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. I loved this because then I was able to save what we didn't eat for later. Without having it over marinate in the dipping sauce.!!


School Lunches - The Snack Basket

School Lunches snack basket
School started yesterday. The kids start at 7:40 but get on the bus at 6:56...I know, early. In an effort to be a bit more organized and also give the kids a bit more responsibility with their school lunches I put together this snack basket. They can pick two items to go in their lunches everyday. I prepackages the items like vegi straws and pretzels in the snack sized zip lock bags so they can just grab a bag and throw it in their lunch. I am doing the same for fruit only they will be stored in the fridge. These snack bags are also great for Jackson and I at home. If we are running out the door for errands I can grab a bag and stick it in my purse. Jackson is always better in the store when his belly is full. Anyway this is the way things run in my house...you know I love me some organization.

linking up here


Freezer Jam

Knowing school would be starting today I made strawberry freezer jam this past weekend. My son Andrew will only eat PB&J if my homemade jam is on the sandwich...I know picky but what can I say...it is way better then the store bought jam. I posted about it on facebook and a few people requested the recipe I used. Wish I could say it was mine but alas I can claim no credit....unless you count going to the store not once but twice in the 100+ degree weather to get supplies. I use the simple recipe from the Sure Jell Premium Fruit Pectin Box...yup that easy.

I posted the items I use...I love the containers with the purple lids. I have used them for three years now and they are still in excellent condition. I also like the little containers with the blue lids. I like to do a few of those for gifts...when we moved from Pittsburgh I gave them to all the people who were kind enough to watch our kids while we were packing up our house. So take note all...you help me I give you jam.

Here is what you will need:

8 cups sugar (I double the recipe by the way)
4 cups crushed strawberries (I use my Kitchen Aid Food Processor)
2 boxes Sure Jell Premium Fruit Pectin
1 1/2 cup water

Here is how you do it:

1. Crush strawberries (I like them to be a bit chunky)
2. Measure out sugar in a large bowl then add strawberries and stir well.
3. In a small pan combine water and pectin.
4. Bring to a boil (stir constantly!) let it boil for 1 minute then add it to the strawberry/sugar mixture and stir it for about 3 minutes or until the sugar is no longer grainy.
5. Pour into containers but make sure you leave about a inch at the top so it can expand in the freezer.
6. Put lids on then let them sit at room temperature for about 24 hours. After that either store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer for up to a year.

There you go folks...super easy and super yummy.

* I LOVE to put some of this jam on my vanilla ice cream. It is delish. Enjoy!

Simple Apron

Our Relief Society Presidency, (In our church this is what the woman's organization is called) hosted a crossing over ceremony for the girls turning 18 and entering Relief Society. One of the things we gave them was an apron to remind them that Relief Society Woman roll up their sleeves and put on their aprons and go to work when needed. I was asked to make the aprons. Actually, I think it was more out of pity since I don't get to sew much having 3 boys. But I did enjoy putting these together. I found a great tutorial over on Feathered Nest. I did it in the colors, purple, white and green because those colors have represented our Ward's Relief Society's Goals for the year.
White - Increase our Faith and Personal Righteousness
Purple - Strengthen Families and Homes
Green - Serve the Lord and his Children


who's your daddy?

Although we did not name Luke after "Luke" in Star Wars, we still like to make the connection every once and a while. Thus, I just had to make a Star Wars onsie for Luke. This is what I came up:
He looks pretty happy to know who his daddy is.
Now I just need to make Brigg a shirt that says "I am your father!"

 I used the freezer paper stenciling technique and couldn't believe how easy it was. Because I don't own a silhouette or cricut, i had to use an exacto knife to cut my stencil out, so that was the most tedious part. 

To do it yourself: 1. pick your image or words you want and print them out. 
2. Trace them on to the freezer paper (you want the waxy, shiny part down so trace accordingly)
3. Now cut the image or phrase out with exacto knife
4. above is the negative cut out image of Vader
5. next iron on your stencil waxy side down; if you have little pieces (like the middle of letters o, d, or a) carefully place them where they belong. 
6. After it is ironed on use any fabric paint and paint away. Wait for an hour or so and carefully peel off when dry. 

super easy!

p.s. Here is the Darth Vader image i used as a stencil. Just save to your computer and in photoshop or microsoft increase or decrease to the size you want then print.


Belt Challenge

Upon moving, my sister was getting rid of a few things and one thing was her husband's old belt. Brigg didn't want it, but we couldn't let it go to waste now...so my sister challenged me to make a headband or something out of it. Joy, this is what came of the belt:
A headband

The headband was pretty easy to make. I just cut it to the size I wanted and then hot glued a elastic band to hold it together. 

a Watch Band

and a plain Bracelet
Some hot glue, an elastic hair band, a button and ribbon as a finishing touch. Nothing complicated. 


Homemade Tortillas

I've always thought that if I were to be born into a different culture/country, it would most likely be Mexican; I'm already half way there with the height. Anyway, it's no secret that my favorite food in the world is burritos. love love love love love love them. I could eat them everyday; on a boat, in a coat, in the rain, on a plane, with a fox, in a box......you probably got the point three sentences ago.

 I used to buy the fresh, uncooked, tortillas when we lived in Utah and lived off those everyday. But alas, I have not been able to find them anywhere here on the East Coast. Tragedy, I know.

 I recently came across a tutorial on our best bites for making homemade tortillas and decided I needed to make some. However, it took me weeks of staring at the recipe to even consider it. So, with lots of courage I finally did it last night for dinner.

If Picasso made home made tortillas, they'd probably look like these
Let me just tell you this: so quick and easy!! shocker. However, they were tricky and didn't turn out how I would have liked them (so maybe not easy, I don't know). They were kind of chewy and not as flexible as I like. Also, just look at them; they look like a botox job gone wrong-no joke. I say authentic, but I've seen those Cafe Rio people at work and they never have a bad botox job with their tortillas. Well, I have decided that I'm not allowed to buy store bought tortillas until I perfect the homemade ones. Which means I might be making these everyday because I will die without having my fill of burritos.
To complete the homemade tortillas, just add some amazing rice, beans and top off with lettuce. 

Delicious Rice:
fry the rice in oil or butter for a couple of minutes before adding the water. With the water add a chicken bouillon cube (seriously this is good). Then after the rice is done add about 1/8th or a 1/4 cup of lemon juice to the rice. So yummy

Quick beans: heat together all the ingredients below. 

1 - 2 cans of black or pinto (black is the best) beans
1 small can of enchilada sauce or packet of taco seasoning
1 can of corn
cut up fresh or canned tomato (fresh always better)

now put the rice and beans on top of your tortillas and try not to eat it too fast. 



This morning I sat down to my bowl of Cheerios and realized I missed my Granola. Since moving I hadn't made a batch so I thought I would whip up a few batches. While at it I took a few pictures...it is harder to take pictures while pouring then I thought it was. Anyway enjoy:

Here is what you need. You can substitute the vanilla for Almond Extract. So yummy. You can also add sunflower seeds or nuts.

First add the oats in a large bowl.

Then the brown sugar. Yup this is healthy granola...?

Now the coconut.

Mix that all together.

Stop and put the lid back on the brown sugar before your son gets a sugar buzz.

Add the nuts. We like Pecans around here but you can use whatever. Mix it all together.

Add the honey and the oil. Mix...sometimes I have to use my hands. Make sure you wash.

All mixed.

Pour it out onto the VERY greased cookie sheet. I like my dark pan.

Smooth it out as flat as you can get it. Bake it for 20-25 minutes.

I let it cool for about 25-30 minutes then use a metal spatula to scoop it off the pan. I like to store mine in those cereal containers. Two batches fits just perfectly. Enjoy!

Here is the recipe:


Combine in large bowl:

6 cups Oats

1/2 Brown Sugar

1 Cup Coconut

1/4 Sunflower Seeds (I leave them out)

1 Cup Chopped Nuts (I use Pecans)


1/2 Cup Veg. Oil

1/2 Cup Honey

2 Tsp. Vanilla (or Almond Extract)

Mix well. I use my hand because you want to really mix in that honey. Spray a cookie sheet with PAM then spread out Granola on pan evenly. Bake @ 350 for 20 minutes. ENJOY!


Dresser Make-Over

My kids aren't sharing rooms anymore so they couldn't share dressers. I have been on the lookout for a good solid wood dresser for Anne and I finally found one on Craigslist. I won't tell you how cheap I got it for because every time someone says how cheap they got things for I get jealous...and I don't want you jealous. Let's just say I got a GOOD deal. This dresser has good bones to it but had a few scratches here and there so Zac and I set to work. First we sanded it down then painted about three coats of Powder White paint. We then added new hardware. It would have been pretty fun if our garage hadn't been so blasted hot. I think next time we do a project I will wait for some cooler weather.



Anne picked out the "diamond" knobs and pulls.

I really love how it turned out. I am loving finally decorating a room for Anne...9 years is too long to wait for a cute girl room.

General Tso's Chicken

I live with my older brother Daniel right now, and ever since I decided I liked cooking he has been asking for General Tso's Chicken. I have to admit I was a little hesitant to do it because I have never cooked anything like this but I decided to take it on for Sunday dinner. I do need to say I wouldn't have been able to do it with out my brothers help. He has many more years of experience in the cooking field and he is teaching me his ways as I venture into this new world. He did tell me that I am now eligible to get married because I can cook!

 I  forgot to take the final picture of it but you at least get to see what the chicken looks like. It is a fairly easy recipe, except that it calls for everything that you do not have, also it was the only recipe I found that did not call for wine. But anyways here is the recipe and towards the end I'll fill you in on how I would make it better!

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
6 dried red chilis
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
3 cups peanut oil for deep-frying
2 cups cornstarch
1 big pinch white sesame seeds, for garnish
Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste, mixed with 1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 teaspoons white sugar
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
1 teaspoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons chicken stock or water
1. Mix the ingredients for the marinade. Slice the chicken into 1-inch cubes and add it to the marinade mixture. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Mix the ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.

Drip the excess marinade off the chicken, and toss the cubes in the 2 cups cornstarch. Shake off the excess cornstarch before frying.
Add about 2 inches of peanut oil to your wok. Heat the wok until just smoking, then add the first batch of chicken cubes and deep-fry until cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.

 Drain all but 1 tablespoon of oil. (You can pour the oil into a heatproof container and save for later use.) Reheat the wok over medium-heat heat. Add the dried chilis, garlic, and ginger to the wok and stir-fry until chilis begin to blacken and become fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sauce mixture and stir until thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes.
 Return the chicken to wok and stir well to coat with sauce. Transfer the chicken to serving dish. Garnish with white sesame and scallions. Serve with white rice and vegetables.
So we served it with rice and broccoli which was delicious of course but I feel like it would be great with Asian noodles as well. The changes to the recipe I would suggest are first off sesame oil is expensive and how often are you really going to use it so I made the marinade with olive oil. Next I doubled the marinade and it still barely covered the chicken so feel free to double or even triple that part of the recipe. And since the recipe is so simple it is not a big deal at all. But other then those little things it is a semi-easy recipe if your in the mood for trying something different.  So enjoy!

Back to Top