Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Braided Rug

I started subscribing to Martha Stewart's Living when I was first married in 1996. I really love a lot of her stuff, even though it can definitely be over the top. I stopped subscribing around 2003; I had to choose between a Cooking Light or Living subscription, and I figured I would benefit more from a cooking magazine at this stage in my life. But I did keep all my back issues which have been fun to look at every now and then. And that is where I got the idea for the braided rug. It is so simple that anyone could think of it, and it is a great use for those old towels that everyone has in the back of their cupboards. Because I wasn't sure how this would turn out, I started with 3 old towels, chosen for their colors; one was white, one was light pink, and another was a bright pink, 70's pattern. (These towels were actually part of a huge stack that my grandpa gave me when he moved out of his house and who knows how long they had been there.)

I then took each towel and cut them into 2 inch strips vertically (the shorter way).


Then I folded the strips in thirds, pined them and then sewed across the long top edge to close them and to keep them from fraying. I didn't get a picture of the strips after I sewed them but you can tell how they looked below. After that step, I began to braid the 3 different colored strips together.


After I had a couple of feet of braids, I started to make the rug. I began with a very small circle that I sewed together, then just continued to work my way around, sewing the edge to the circle as I went.


I found that I had to repeat all those above steps numerous times; it is really hard to braid when the rope you are braiding is 7 feet long. Here is the finished rug:


It was a bit smaller that I thought it would be; it is only about 2 feet across. But it is nice and fuzzy on the feet and I love the homemade look of it. Maybe it would look better over here:

I am planning to do another one and try to shape it into a rectangle to replace that purple rug you see in the picture above. We bought that one when we moved into our house 10 years ago (!) and it has definitely seen better days. Estimating how many towels to use is hard; I bought 6 towels that were on sale at Wal Mart a couple weeks ago for my next rug but now I am thinking that won't be big enough. This project was perfect for me; I love doing something with my hands in the evening when things are more quiet and this hand braided rug was easy and fun to do.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rabbit Update

So the rabbit adventure continues! Thelma Lou was due this last Thursday. (31 days after she was bred.) A few days before, we had put the nesting box in with shavings and hay, and then every evening she would kick it all out. This was definitely making us question whether or not she knew what she was doing! Then on Thursday night we noticed that she was sitting on her nesting box. No babies that evening but the next morning this is what we saw in the cage!

We took out the nesting box to see.....

6 wiggly little piggies! (At least that is what Nutsy called them) All that white stuff is the fur that Thelma Lou pulls out to keep them warm.

On Saturday we got them out to count them and make sure they were doing good.

One of them has a little scratch on its head so we will keep an eye on that. They are so tiny and helpless!


We only had them out for a few minutes and then back into the cage with Mama.

They will open their eyes sometime this next weekend and a week or so after that, hop out of the nesting box. Yesterday we successfully bred Flo who will give birth in 30 days with another litter, this one for the children to show at the County Fair. We are also going to breed Thelma Lou again later this week. The children are learning so much about the rabbits and can't wait for these little ones to grow big enough to come out and play!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That we have 6 wiggly, hairless, pink baby rabbits out in the rabbitry.
What I'm reading:
I am really enjoying The Mother At Home. There are some excellent points about child training in there.
What I'm listening to:
It's quiet....so right now all I hear is the heater. It was cold last night!
What we're learning: Ezekiel and the 3 men in the fiery furnace in history, Seals and Sea Cows in Apologia Zoology and this is our last week to work on the 4-H presentations.
What I'm watching:
Watched the Ice Dancing last night while my Sweetie fell asleep next to me.
What's cooking: For the first time I am trying a Pioneer Woman recipe tonight, Fancy Macaroni, with a Caesar Salad and if I am feeling brave enough, Bruschetta.
What I'm buying:
Nothing right now that I can think of...I do try not to buy too much....
What I'm wearing:
My bathrobe and white socks.
What I'm thankful for:
Great conversations with friends on a Sunday afternoon.
What I'm creating:
The braided rug is done! I'm not sure what my next project will be.
What I'm praying:
For those that are sick and missed church yesterday, and the health for the two pregnant ladies in our congregation.
What I'm planning:
Breeding rabbits! Today we breed Flo and then Friday is Thelma Lou. For some reason I am really nervous about this.
What I'm looking forward to: A visit from my sister in law and cousins today and co-op this week.
A picture to share:


~The people I love the most. This was sometime in the year 2006

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chicken Pad Thai with Peanut Sauce

So as promised, here is my rendition of Chicken Pad Thai. A long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away) I had this wonderful dish in a restaurant and had always wanted to copy it. I saw a recipe in Cooking Light a few years ago called Siam Stir Fry Wrap and decided to tweak it to my liking.

You begin with Rice Noodles. These ones will cook in boiling water for about 6 minutes or so, even though the package says 10.

While the water is heating I make the Peanut Sauce. This is the only part that is an exact copy from the CL recipe so I can't take credit for its deliciousness. You mix 1/4 C. lime juice, 3 T. peanut butter, 4 cloves minced garlic, 3 T. soy sauce, 3 T. of honey and a little hot chili paste. (Since the kids eat this up, I only put in maybe an 1/8 of a teaspoon of chili paste, but this is where the dish gets its heat so if you like it, pour it in.)


Mix it really well until it looks like this.

Then I take 2 raw chicken breasts which have been diced and saute them in sesame oil over medium-high heat in my wok.

While they are sauteing I prepare the vegetables. I use a bag of coleslaw-carrot mix and chop up a red bell pepper. Then comes my favorite part, the spices. I mince about 3 T. of fresh ginger and peel 4 cloves of garlic to mince also. A word about ginger here, once you start using the fresh stuff you can never go back to that whatever-it-is in the spice rack.


I remove the chicken from the wok once it is cooked through and clean out my pan, if needed. Then I add a little sesame oil and the cabbage, bell pepper, garlic, ginger and 2 1/2 T. of curry powder. After a few minutes I do add a couple of teaspoons of water; I don't like to make it too oily and I find that adding a little water helps to get the yummy stuff off the bottom and cook the veggies.


After a few minutes and the cabbage has wilted a bit, (the wok is still on medium-high heat) I add the cooked chicken and a tub of tofu that has been cut into cubes. At this point I also add 3 T. or so of soy sauce. Mix well.

By this time my rice noodles are finished and draining in the colander; I give them just a spray of water to keep them from sticking together too badly. Goodness gracious, please ignore my dirty kitchen tile.

Now to assemble this lovely dish: Place a spoonful of noodles in a shallow dish. Then top with a scoopful of the cabbage mixture. Now I take bean sprouts and kind of make them stand up like a mountain and then sprinkle cilantro and basil leaves around. (When I went to the store this week they were out of basil so it's missing...)

Yum! My family really likes this dish. A couple of the kids are not too excited about all the veggies so they opt for noodles and the peanut sauce. I usually double the sauce because we all love it. You could make this a vegetarian recipe be omitting the chicken, and it is gluten free if you use gluten free soy sauce instead of the regular soy sauce.

Another look...it is such a pretty dish!


The original recipe was a bit different; there was lime juice in the veggie mixture and bean threads were used instead of rice noodles. Then it was all mixed together and put in tortilla wraps with lettuce leaves. I don't think I ever made it that way and started changing it from the beginning. Hope you enjoy this and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Monday Musings (On Tuesday)

What I'm thinking: That we had a lovely day yesterday with my Sweetie home for President's Day.
What I'm reading: I finally finished Humility, the Forgotten Virtue. A very good read. Now I have started
The Mother at Home by John CS Abbott. I am so far behind on my 12 books, but we will see if I can make it!
What I'm listening to:
The turning of pages. Bookworm is reading behind me on the sofa. That's why we call her Bookworm!
What we're learning:
I missing a day of school this week because yesterday was a holiday, so it will be tight. We are learning about Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel and Aesop's Fables in history. Shorter Catechism question #7, Dasher is reviewing subtraction and the older ones are starting the third lesson of Caddie Woodlawn's Total Language Plus.
What I'm watching:
The Olympics! We are in the same time zone as Vancouver, but they are still on so late at night...up til almost midnight last night to watch the figure skating!
What's cooking: Chicken Pad Thai is on the menu this week...it is a Cooking Light recipe that I have tweaked a bit.
What I'm buying: We finally got another bookshelf from Ikea over the weekend for Mr. Lego's room...I'm bummed though, that they discontinued the
Beech finish....
What I'm wearing: Still in my bathrobe!
What I'm thankful for:
Good friends.
What I'm creating:
I'm helping the kids with their 4-H presentation poster boards, and working on lesson plans for co-op.
What I'm praying:
That the Lord would continue to draw my children's hearts closer to Him.
What I'm planning:
To have baby rabbits later this week! I am also starting to think about my garden.
What I'm looking forward to:
Co-op, the church dance practice (moved from last week), and seeing some extended family this weekend.
A picture to share:




~Last week in Co-op we learned about islands. Kate came up with this great craft using air dry clay, pipe cleaners, shells, and blue glitter glue.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: I am thinking about what I should write here....seriously, I don't at this moment have really anything on my mind.
What I'm reading:
I'm on the last chapter of my book on humility, but today I am taking notes on yet another rabbit book, this one about kindling. (babies!)
What I'm listening to:
Bookworm reading her math lesson to herself, Mr. Lego whistling while he does his spelling and the dryer, reminding me that it is a Monday.
What we're learning: We are learning about the fall of Judah in history, Shorter Catechism question 6, and kicking it in high gear for our 4-H presentations in a couple weeks.
What I'm watching:
Clouds (or is it fog?) coming in...I think we are supposed to get rain tomorrow.
What's cooking:
A new recipe tonight, Chicken and Hominy Soup.
What I'm buying:
We bought another doe on Saturday, Thelma Lou, who is expecting babies the 18th of February!
What I'm wearing: Jeans, cream colored shirt and brown sweater.
What I'm thankful for: The assurance I have that I am in Christ...and a great sermon we heard yesterday.
What I'm creating:
The braided rug is taking shape....
What I'm praying: That our school week and the numerous things we have going this week would go smoothly.
What I'm planning:
I'm teaching co-op next month so I am going through geography books and finding fun facts about volcanoes, glaciers, icebergs and mountains. (Did you know there is an iceberg the size of Jamaica floating off the coast of Greenland?!?)
What I'm looking forward to:
Co-op this week, our last dance practice this Friday and getting together with a friend for coffee this afternoon.
A picture to share:

A picture by Mr. Lego titled, 'Bizarre'.

Friday, February 5, 2010

He's A Teenager!!

*I am posting this a day early since we are up very early tomorrow to head to the rabbit show, and then the rest of the day we are celebrating Mr. Lego's day.


It is official....I have a teenage son! I remember when he was a baby and thinking that this day was so far off, well it was WAY closer than I thought. Here are a few memories....


10 days old and finally home from the hospital. Yes, that is a cloth diaper he is laying on, he was that small. (3lbs, 15 oz at birth)


2 1/2 years old at Puget Sound visiting Grandma. (I know the picture is crooked on the bottom; for some reason it kept scanning that way...)


Almost 4 years old. I love those cheeks!


6 1/2 years old at the beach...and I thought he was big then!


Just turned 8 years old. 4 year old Dasher seems excited about the Valentine Cookies too.

This last Fall during a nature walk.

We are not quite sure what we are doing tomorrow after the morning rabbit show; it is supposed to rain here so it will have to be something indoors. But my growing boy has requested steak, mashed potatoes and peas for dinner, along with a chocolate birthday cake. Happy Birthday, my son! I love you so much and cannot wait to see what plans God has for your future!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Quesadilla Pie

So this yummy dish was on my menu this week and since it is entirely my creation, I thought I would share it with you. It was from a combination of ideas; I love Mexi-Melts from Taco Bell and was trying to copy them one day, and I was also looking for a vegetarian economical meal with beans. (No, we are not vegetarians, but it is cheaper and healthier so I try to make a V meal once or twice a week.) Enter the Quesadilla Pie.

First, you need the beans. I use black, but you could do pinto beans too. I make mine in the crock pot (1 part beans to 3 parts water, on high for 5 hours) but you could crank open a can of beans just as easily. 3 cans is pretty much equivalent to the amount I made.

Next you take the beans and about a cup of frozen corn and put them into a wide saucepan on medium heat with about a half a cup of water. To make this low fat, I just spray the pan with Pam. At this point I season by adding about 2 T of chili powder, cumin and onion powder. If you did the beans in the crock pot you will probably need to add a little salt too.

After a few minutes and after things have gotten bubbly, I add 2 tomatoes that have been chopped and a handful of chopped cilantro. Let me take this moment to tell you that I have an obsession with cilantro. I love the stuff.


Right before I take it off the heat, I might add a couple big spoonfuls of my favorite salsa.

Now to assemble: I use Pyrex pie pans (hence the name Quesadilla Pie) and begin by spraying the bottom lightly with Pam. Then I layer a tortilla and a couple spoonfuls of the bean mixture. Not too much, only enough to cover the tortilla, like this:


You can see my favorite salsa above in the picture to the right. Awesome stuff. Then I put on a light sprinkling of grated cheddar...any cheese inside the layers kind of disappears, so I save most of it for the top.

I keep adding layers of tortilla, beans, cheese until I feel it's enough. These pies had 4 layers. The top layer gets the beans, more cheese, and if I am feeling adventurous I add chopped green onions and/or sliced black olives. You can tell from my picture I wasn't too adventurous this night.

Into a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and viola! Ready to eat. I served this with Spanish rice and salsa on the side.


Just another peek at the layers.....

I LOVE cooking but really need a recipe for my dishes, so it's unusual for me to come up with a recipe in my head. I am sure there are variations to this dish...sauteing onions in the beginning, chopped chicken or ground beef could find a place in there too...play around with it and let me know what you think of it if you make it!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That we might be getting baby rabbits sooner than we think.
What I'm reading:
So much to do, so little time...I need to do a better job of carving out reading time for myself.
What I'm listening to:
I'm getting ready to listen to Leslie Sansone as we walk two miles together...in the privacy of my living room.
What we're learning:
This week is a review of what we have learned so far in history. The kids and I will fill in a timeline that I am reviewing, up to where we are at about 640 BC. We are starting to feel the 4-H presentation pressure and will give that a lot of attention too this week.
What I'm watching:
My Sweetie and I watched Julie & Julia over the weekend..I must say it is one of my favorite movies now.
What's cooking: Quesadilla Pie...one of my own creations. Maybe I'll blog about it later this week.
What I'm buying:
We are planning to buy a doe this Saturday, and also entering Barney in a rabbit show the same day.
What I'm wearing:
I'm doing this Monday Musing early in the morning so I am still in my PJ's and my warm, lavender robe!
What I'm thankful for:
Sweet fellowship and gospel teaching at my church.
What I'm creating:
Lesson plans for co-op; my month to teach is in March.
What I'm praying:
Thankful prayers for two men we know who finally have jobs.
What I'm planning: A birthday day for my oldest son, soon-to-be-a-teen...yikes!
What I'm looking forward to:
I'm meeting up with a friend I have not seen in ages tomorrow, co-op is starting a new month and the rabbit show on Saturday.
A picture to share:



Two pictures today; on our anniversary last week the kids decorated the dining room, dressed up as waiters and then served us dinner.