Thursday, April 30, 2009

A New Toy

I was going to title this post "Our New Baby," but I thought that it would be cruel to lead you on like that. (You're welcome!)

M would love to have a completely stocked workshop at sometime. For now he has to settle for a few power tools and our garage. While the garage is all that he will have while we live in this house, he is currently able to add on to his tool collection. This is the most recent addition. The Porter Cable router that he has been stalking for months now. He ordered it on line along with some accessories. You should have seen him anxiously awaiting its arrival via Fed Ex last Friday.

Unfortunately he hasn't had a chance to make use of it yet as the coupler (I think) wasn't working properly and he is waiting for it to be replaced. Maybe this Friday will find him anxiously awaiting it's arrival.

I can't wait to see what he will be able to make now that he has his very own router. (And I bet that his father will be happy to get his router back again.)

The proud papa!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Top Ten List

The Top Ten Ways You Know You are Nearing the End of Your Pregnancy:

1) You are training your replacement for work.

2) Your library books are due on your due date.

3) The milk in the fridge expires after your due date.

4) There is a Pack and Play set up in your closet.

5) You feel like you should just wear a shirt with your due date printed on it to save people the trouble of asking.

6) That urine sample that you have to give at the doctor is proving more and more difficult to deliver.

7) You're down to one pair of jeans and one pair of dress pants that you can tolerate wearing for more than a few hours.

8) Any plans you make are prefaced with the phrase, "As long as I am not in the hospital."

9) 8 p.m. sounds like a perfectly reasonable bed time. (Even on the weekends.)

10) Before going to bed every night you check to make sure the path to the bathroom is clear.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Foodie Friday: The Works Potato Casserole

I am working on making some meals to store in the freezer for when the baby comes. So far this is the only one that I have. Hmmm, may have to keep working on that project.


-32 oz package hashbrowns with peppers and onions

-1 lb. ground pork sausage

-4 eggs
-1 c. sour cream

-6 slices bacon; cooked and crumbled

-salt and pepper

-1 c. shredded cheese

1. Defrost the hashbrowns, brown the sausage, and beat the eggs. Combine all three in a large mixing bowl. Mix in sour cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.

2. Grease two 8x8 inch pans and fill with the hashbrown mix.

3. Top with the bacon and cheese.

4. Cover one pan and freeze.

5. Bake remaining pan covered for 45 min. or until potatoes are cooked at 375. Remove cover and bake an additional 5 min.

When you want to bake the additional pan, allow to defrost and follow same baking instructions.

This is one of those meals that works for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. When I made it, I forgot to add the salt and pepper, so ours was a but bland at first. Once we added some salt and pepper to our servings, it was much better. I would think the addition of some salsa or hot sauce would also be tasty.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Move Over Petunia

I am not the kind of person who sticks her nose up in the air when it comes to handmade gifts. Quite the contrary. When I receive a handmade gift, I know that much love and thought went into it. I make many things myself and know that just because something is handmade, does not make it inferior to any item that is mass produced. It does my heart good to see sights like Etsy flourishing. I think that Americans are finally realizing that handmade in America trumps mass produced in China in many cases.
I have been busy putting my time and love into handmaking many items for the baby. Part of this comes from frugality. If done correctly, a handmade item can be produced for a lesser price tag than a store bought item. I also like the flexibility handmade items offer. I was able to decorate the baby's room just how I envisioned it by creating my own accesories. I may not have been able to find just what I had wanted in a store.
Okay, I will get off of my soapbox now.
I am not the only one who has been handmaking for this little one. My family has also been hard at work making special little items to welcome this special little child into the world. Currently my mother-in-law is refinishing a rocking chair that we will use to rock the babe back to sleep.
Almost as soon as we broke the baby news, my own mother asked what she could make for him/her. I immediately thought of a diaper bag. I love the new designer diaper bags out there, but I don't love their price tags. (Just Google Petunia Pickle Bottom and you will get the idea.) So, mom went to work and created this fab diaper bag just for me.

She also created this Hungry Caterpillar Quilt.
(Look at the adorable quilting!!)

We came back from Easter with quite the haul. (Or should I say that the baby came back with quite the haul?!!) My mom made the baby this bunny basket for Easter.

My sister created this Darma Initiative-esque onsie.
And my sister-in-law knit this cozy and color appropriate blankie.

Yup, this baby is definitely loved.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Great New Snack

I have recently discovered a really good snack. It seems to cure my craving for sweet baked goods and I really don't think that it is too bad for a person. Would you like to know what it is?

I take a Hunts Snack Pack. Any flavor will do.

And scoop out the pudding with Nilla Wafers. (And you had better believe that I have the giant two-pack from Sams.)

Monday, April 20, 2009

C-Y-O: Laundry Soap

First came the homemade cloth diapers, now homemade laundry soap, makes you wonder what is next, huh?

After doing some investigating, I found out that I could make my own laundry soap that would work well for washing cloth diapers that wouldn't be too harsh for the baby's skin. After seeing how easy it would be and how little it would cost, I thought, "Sign me up."

We had leftover Ivory soap at church from a soap carving project that was about to get tossed, so I grabbed it up. (I think I have 30 bars and you only use a third of a bar for each 2 gallon batch. I think that it will last me quite some time.)

A friend was getting rid of her Pampered Chef cheese grater and donated it to the cause.

I already use Borax for household cleaning, so stealing a half cup from my open box was not a big deal.

All I needed was to track down the washing soda. I checked all of the normal stores, Wal-Mart, Target, the dollar store, two grocery stores, before finding it at our old grocery store by our former apartment. I think it cost under $3.

I also purchased a two gallon bucket from the dollar section of the grocery store.

All ready to roll.

1) Grate 1/3 of a bar of Ivory. Into a large stockpot. Add 6 cups of water and heat on stove top until soap is dissolved.

2. Add 1/2 cup of washing soda.

3. Add 1/2 cup of Borax. Stir until dissolved.

4. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups of hot water into a bucket. Add the soap mixture and stir. Add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir.

5. Store in the bucket covered. I think I will be getting a shower cap to cover mine. You may want to stir the soap before each use. (I will be using the yard stick we have in the laundry room to do the job.) Use 1/2 cup per load of clothes.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Foodie Friday: Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad

Since the weather has more of a spring-like feel to it, I couldn't resist the urge to break out the Weber and do some grilling. I grilled some chicken breasts this week with a chili lime seasoning. We had the left-overs tonight in a salad.

Here is what you will need:

For Chicken Breasts
-2 chicken breasts (I filleted mine so that the grill time would be shorter)
-1/2 c. Canola oil
-1 shot Vodka (or other alcohol)
-1 T. Chili powder
-1 t. Cumin
-1/2 t. Salt
-2 T. Flour
-Lime juice

Marinate the chicken in the oil and alcohol. (Bowl of Cherrys Tip: If you want tender chicken, add a splash of alcohol.) Before grilling, remove chicken pieces from alcohol, place remaining ingredients (except lime) in plastic bag, add chicken to plastic bag and coat. Place chicken pieces on the grill and squirt each side with lime juice. Grill until fully cooked.

For Salads
-Your favorite lettuce mix
-Avocado chopped into chunks
-Spanish rice
-Toasted tortilla strips (Cut a tortilla into small strips. Place in frying pan with pre-heated olive oil. Add a bit of salt and toast. Watch carefully and flip often to avoid burning.)
-Shredded Mexican cheese blend
-Chopped chicken breast
-Ranch dressing

Pile a bowl high with salad ingredients. Dig in. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Its Not So Bad

turning 30 when:

1) You can do it surrounded by those you love and those who love you.

2) You have a baby coming to look forward to.

3) You can do it on the same day we celebrate our Savior's joyful resurrection from the dead.

4) When you receive many wonderful and loving gifts, thoughts, and messages.

Thanks, everyone, for a wonderful day!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

9 Months!

I am entering the home stretch now. According to one of the pregnancy emails I receive, next week I will considered full term. While I am anxiously looking forward to the baby's arrival, I am not to the point where I feel I need to be done now. Lets hope that continues. I have 8 more solo days in the classroom, after which my replacement will arrive and we will team teach the last week in April. We have been getting so many neat things for the baby. I will have to post some of them on here soon.

I have been feeling pretty good. My back starts to hurt by mid afternoon, but it isn't too bad. Some nights I sleep pretty well and others I feel as if I am awake more than I am asleep. Now that it is finally getting nice out I have been able to go for a few walks. Boy can I tell that I am pregnant then.

Now when the baby moves it isn't just random flutters. You can definitely feel different bony parts being moved inside. An elbow here, a butt there, and a few kicks for good measure.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Foodie Friday: Salsa Stuffed Chicken

I had made some homemade salsa this past week. We liked it, but it was a bit strong. I decided to try baking it to tame the flavor done a bit. So, I present to you, Salsa Stuffed Chicken. (This was the perfect amount for two servings. We had it with Spanish rice.)
-1 whole boneless skinless chicken breast, butterflied
-1 cup salsa (the homemade worked well because it was chunky)
Spoon salsa into opened chicken breast. Fold top over and season. (I used season salt, cumin, garlic powder, and chili powder.) Place in baking dish and cover with foil. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 -45 minutes, until done. Remove foil and bake an additional 5 minutes.
This was delicious. You could serve it topped with cheese or sour cream, but it really was good on its own.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I Am Not the Candyman

Do you remember what happened the last time I tried to make candy?

Well, that's good, because I apparently forgot. I just couldn't resist when I saw these cute little Easter Cake Pops from Bakerella's kitchen.

Don't you just want to pinch their little candy-coated cheeks? And here they are direct from my kitchen:

You can barely tell the difference! (Hmm, well maybe you can. And truth be told, this is the best one that I made. You should take a peek at the ones I made with butterscotch chips when I ran out of the candy melts. No wait, out of self preservation, those will not be photographed.) I can't wait for the day that our children are old enough that I can say, "Look what little Joe made!! Pretty good for a four year old, huh?"

Until then, I am going to be permanently hanging up the ol' candy making hat and leave it to the pros. (I just hope that I remember this time.)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


April has arrived and ushered in the beginning of spring. Spring has sprung at the Bowl of Cherrys:

Well, maybe I am just trying to spring it in myself:

Oh well, it will be here soon enough. (See the wet marks on the steps? That is melting snow. It must be coming.)

April is also ushering in a few other exciting tidbits.

1) When people ask, "When are you due?" I can say, "Next month!"

2) I will be turning 30 this month!!! (I think that I am okay with that, but I will get back to you.)

3) This is my last month of teaching.

Wow, what a month!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Create-Your-Own: Cloth Diapers

As promised, here is some more information about the cloth diapers that I have been sewing. I know that you have all been waiting with baited breath.

Cloth diapering our babe has been something that I have been considering since I found out that I was pregnant. Seeing that I will be a stay-at-home mom, it is feasible for us. I have my green moments here and there, but that is definitely not the driving force behind this train of thought. While it will be nice to save money on diapering, that was not the impotace either. It is just something that I wanted to try. And so, I am. Since I am not 100% committed to the idea, I didn't want to invest too much initially. I figure after we try it on for size and decide that it is for us, then we can take the plunge and buy some of the "real" cloth diapers sold out there. If you come from the old school method of cloth diapering, you should really take a look at what is available today. Gone are the days of folding a yard of fabric to keep your babe dry. Cloth diapers come in many shapes and sizes these days. It is a bit overwhelming when you first start looking into it.

For now, I am going with sewing my own cloth diapers. I started with a google search and found oodles of information on how to sew a cloth diaper, what fabric to use to sew a cloth diaper, different styles of cloth diapers, and patterns for cloth diapers. One day I was chatting with one of my preschool parents who was also expecting. Low and behold she was also planning on sewing her own cloth diapers. She brought in some of the ones she had made up and gave me some of the patterns that she had printed off the Internet. She even came to my house to help me get started after I confessed to her that I was having a hard time biting the bullet. And that is all that I needed to be off and running. Here is the stash that I have created so far.

Most of these are made with the Wee Weka pattern. A few are from another source that I will not name here as I paid for what I thought was going to be a book and turned out to be some pdf pages. Not so happy about that one. And some are Rita's Rump Covers. (Gotta love the names out there.)

Here is a close up of the diaper all folded as it would be on a baby. (Sorry, no cute baby to model it yet.)

Here it is opened.

These are called pocket diapers (or nappies if you are from the UK, which must have lots of cloth diaperers because many sites refer to them as nappies.) That means that there is a pocket that you insert a liner or soaker into. The liners have created so far are just cheap wash cloths folded over three times and stitched together.

I plan on making some more out of the flannel scraps that I have left over from the diapers.

These are not covered diapers or all-in-ones, so I had to figure out what I was going to use for the covers. Some site recommend a fabric called PLU (I can't remember what this is short for, but in essence it is a water-proof fabric.) However, this fabric is not cheap and not sold in regular fabric stores. Fleece and wool are also recommended, but they would simply be water resistant, not water proof. So, I ended up ordering good, old fashioned diaper covers like our moms used. I found some new ones on Ebay for a reasonable price. (I ordered too many, actually, so if you are in need of some 0-3 month diaper covers, let me know.)

When we registered this weekend we registered for a stainless steel garbage can with a foot operated lid to be our diaper pail. I need to find or make a wet bag to go inside. Then when I am ready to wash the diapers, I will just take the wet bag out and into the wash with it all.

I didn't make any newborn sized diapers. I figure that they are only that size for a little bit of time and it wouldn't be worth it to sew enough diapers for each day to make it worth the time and effort. So in the beginning we will use disposables, but once we start with the cloth I will let you know how it is going.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Foodie Friday: White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Yes, this is just as good as it sounds. Wow!! I got this recipe from Suzanne's blog at Creating Post-It Notes. The only change I made was to make the crust out of Nilla Waffers instead of Graham crackers just cause I like it that way. The only thing I would change the next time is to add a bit more corn starch to the raspberry mix. It ended up being a bit runny. I will just let you jump over to Suzanne's blog for the rest of the details.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Keepin' On Keepin' On

We are doing well here. The Lord was truly holding his hand of blessing over our community throughout the past week and a half. There is still a long way to go, but everyone is cautiously ready to move on. We are collectively praying that the miracles here continue as they are predicting the that the river may crest again well above flood stage in the middle of April. So, dikes and levees are remaining up as we wait to see what happens over the next few weeks.
The sun was shinning today and spring was truly in the air. The snow was melting, slowly, which is just how we want it to melt right now. I will have to show you what I did to prepare our house for spring later. By the time I finished, it was too dark to take a decent picture.

I did snap a picture of my other project of the day. I have the curtains and the valance sewn for the nursery. We haven't installed the rods yet, so this is just a sample of what is to come. It is so much fun seeing the nursery all start to come together.