noun: a small piece or amount of something, esp. one that is left over after the greater part has been used.
synonyms: noun: fragment - piece - bit - shred

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Triple the Crock...

My lovely triple pot crock pot!  I love her!
Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm!  I hope you have had a fantastic week and that the upcoming one is even better!  This weekend is our annual Lilac Bloomsday Run and, as you can imagine, thousands of people have descended upon the big city for this as they do every year.  The folks at work were gearing up for this too and the buzz was everywhere.  Me?  Noooo, I do not participate.  The only reason you're going to see me run is if there's an emergency somewhere.  Other than that...BWAH HAHAHAHAHAH! TOODIE and RUN do NOT belong in the same atmosphere, let alone the same sentence.  So, what's a girl to do when she's not running in a race with a bazillion people?  She stays home out of the way.  We all know I don't live in the big city and I just couldn't find reason enough to go in today. I went yesterday to have lunch with a couple of friends and that was bad enough! Traffic detoured and altered, an overabundance of lines and waiting people everywhere, even in the clothing stores.  Staying home is good!

Today, I figured while I was home and the weather is a little cool (translation - cold, windy and expecting rain according to those clouds I'm seeing) I would do some baking. EXCEPT...I sort of forgot I was going to do some baking and proceeded to clean my oven.  Well, how stupid can I be? I've got a self-cleaning oven and it takes a while.  As in my oven was super cruddy so I put it on heavy duty and the readout said 4 hours.  That doesn't include the cooling down period of one and a half hours before I can even open the door to clean out the ash.  Seriously a bad decision today. No baking a crisp.  No rice for dinner because I bake my rice.  Hmmm.  Way to ruin a plan!  Ah well, no need to have anything good to eat, right?  Wrong!  You are talking to the gal with the biggest love for a slow cooker that you've ever seen!   I might even go so far as to say I love them just as much as I love Mr. Scrappin.  Don't tell him - he'll be hurt by that.  Not surprised, but hurt.  LOL!

Now, most of you may not know that I have a couple of different crock pots. One is my BIG one that can cook for what seems like an army, but another one is a three-pot crock pot.  There are three separate crocks with lids and three separate compartments to put them in so that I can cook with all three or just one or two.  I love it.  The pots are smaller and perfect for littler amounts of things.  Side dishes such as mac and cheese or a smaller roast for one or two. When it's chilly out sometimes I'll invite friends over for a "hot drink" day and I'll have hot cocoa, apple cider and another hot drink all ready in the crock pot and everyone can pick and choose.  Perfectamundo I tell you!  So today, since I'm making salmon for Mr. Scrappin for dinner and I am not a fan, I've chosen to do my own dinner in one, some rice in another and a dessert in the third.  Talk about feeling like I've done something awesome!  I'll have enough dinner leftovers to take for lunches this week and I'll have enough rice left over to make some fried rice later on this week with the pork chops.  The dessert?  Well, I'm pretty sure there won't be anything left past tomorrow.  LOL!  Mr. Scrappin does like his desserts!  Just ask him!

Light, fluffy, flavorful rice!
It is certainly true that not everything is the same in a crock pot as in the oven, but most of the time you can come pretty darn close!  For example, I almost always bake my rice in the oven using this recipe from Alton Brown. It's perfect every single time and there's no watching a pot or overcooking.  Once I found it I never looked back and it is my go-to for rice.  Using a crock pot for your rice can be just as easy and, if you now you won't have the time to bake it in the oven, will still turn out perfect using this method.  I promise!  How easy?  EASY!  Spray your pot with nonstick spray, put in 1-1/2 cups of rice (I use brown but you can use any kind) and 3-1/4 cups of water or broth, whichever you prefer.  Turn on low and a few hours later - voila - rice! Hot, tender, perfectly flavorful rice.  It really can't get any easier than that!  Put it in before work or at lunch and you can have it ready when you want it.  Just don't pull MY trick and forget to turn it on!  The end result isn't very good.

Just look at this cheesy goodness and bubbly sauce!
Another thing I love to do in a crock pot versus the stove or oven is my ravioli.  Mr. Scrappin, bless his un-Italian heart, does not like when I do make it, it's only for me.  I don't want to get a pot out for the pasta and a pot out do do the sauce if it's only for me.  Two burners for one little tiny portion?  No thanks. I'm lazy that way. So I will layer it in the crock pot - sauce on the bottom, followed by ravioli (or whatever pasta I choose) and a bit of cheese.  Layer again and end with sauce and cheese on top, turn on low (or high of course if you're time limited) and there ya dish ravioli that is cheesy and yummy without the hassle of the stove.  It works, trust me!  One note though; if you are using dry pasta, add some water to help cook those noodles better and so that they can absorb some of that liquid instead of all of the sauce.   This, by the way, is my dinner for tonight.  Mr. Scrappin doesn't like ravioli and I don't particularly care for salmon and I had just a little of both left so it's perfect.  We both get what we want in an easy way.

Oh my yumness!  Bubbly fruit and a crisp topping. 
I have a lot of people look at me funny when I tell them I do a lot of desserts in the crock pot too. They think I'm cracked. Which I am and they obviously know but, hey, it still works!  I've done cakes, puddings, cobblers, sauces - you name it. Today? Peach Mango Crisp.  I always use the topping from my mother's apple crisp recipe no matter what kind of crisp I'm making.  Mainly because it makes me think of my mother (it was one of the very few things she baked) but also because it's just darn good!  Today I made it easy on myself and grabbed some frozen peaches and some frozen mangoes out of the freezer and went to town.  I mixed them together with a tablespoon of flour and a tablespoon of sugar and let them sit to meld while I went to take a shower.  After that, I made my topping:  1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup oats, 1 cup chopped pecans, 1/2 cup flour and some cinnamon.  You'll note the lack of measurement for cinnamon.  That's because I LOVE cinnamon and just add until it "smells right" to me.  Mix those all together, add 1/2 cup melted butter and top your fruit. Cook on low for about four to five hours or high for about two. Usually, when I do a crisp in the crock pot, I will start with fruit on the bottom, add a layer of the topping, add the rest of the fruit and top with the remaining topping.  I feel like this adds more flavor throughout the crisp, but whether it really does or not I don't know.  :)  And since the whole point of a crisp is to have the yummy hot fruit with a crispy type topping, I pop my crisp under the broiler for about 2 minutes after I take it out of the compartment.  Be sure to do that right away so that the heat of the broiler doesn't break your pot.

Love my crock pots - today it was triple the crock!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Add Some Pictures to the Family Tree...

How it actually arrived.
Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm!  It's Easter Sunday and I hope this finds you having a very nice celebration with your family and/or friends. What type of dishes do you make for your dinner? Here at the Scrappin household, I've put lasagna, Italian bread and garlic butter on today's menu.  Along with a nice salad, that should do nicely for us.  And of course it's all homemade, since that's the way I like it.  Back when the kids were at home, I would make the entire Easter dinner, complete with all the trimmings.  Now that it's only Mr. Scrappin and I, that seems a bit much so we usually will have something smaller for the two of us.  I do wish the kids lived closer (or we lived closer to them) so that I could still do a nice formal meal, but sometimes you just have to roll with the tide.

The main trunk is finished.
Of course, I do miss the hunting of the eggs and all the other little fun things we would do.  Now I get to enjoy Ms. Addisyn hunting HER eggs through pictures.  And they are really fun to look at.  Once in a while we are able to actually spend the holiday with the kids and get to see the real thing, but pictures are always a perfect solution to the distance.  Who doesn't love pics, especially when they're of the cutest grandchildren EVAH?  I look forward to them and enjoy them so much when they come across my phone or computer or, I know this is a strange one, in the MAIL.  I'll pretty much take them any way I can get them.  I *heart* them!

Branches, leaves and photo frame
complete the left side of the tree.
Now, if you're anything like me (heaven forbid!) you will have pictures of your family everywhere.  About a jillion of them.  Or possibly even more!  I used to have them displayed here and there in the usual fashion, but I kind of got a little tired of that.  I wanted something different. Something fun and fun to look at.  For a long time now I've been wondering what that would be.  Several months ago, while I was scoping out Ebay, I came across a vinyl wall mural that was a tree for holding photos. Sounds weird for sure.  It interested me but I never really committed to liking or disliking it.  I just wasn't sure if it was really something I would want and then there was the fact that I didn't even know where in  the world I would put it.  Our house is a very open floor plan with a lot of windows and not really much wall space itself so when things are put on the wall it's got to be something I want to stay there.  Or remove easily without having to fill a bazillion holes.  

Part of the right side of the tree finished.
Where I'd really like a picture display would be in the dining room.  There's one full wall in there, but the HUMONGOUS mirror I have took up all the space.  And I do mean ALL  the space.  It's an antique mirror that I got when Dale, my middle dude, was born. That was 1986 and that mirror has been with me every step of the way.  I love it dearly as it's so incredibly beautiful, but it is so big and bulky and overwhelming of any room it's in.  It's been sitting in my dining room against that wall since I moved here in 2007.  Leaving no wall space to do anything else with.  As I was deep cleaning a few weeks ago and got to the dining room, I decided it had to come down.  Its largeness is sometimes very overshadowing and I was feeling like it needed to be gone for a while.  But I also didn't want to fill a wall with holes just to eventually take whatever down and put the mirror back.

The right side finished completely.
The more I thought about that, the more I thought about that vinyl wall tree.  I wasn't sure it would stick considering that our walls are heavily textured and I didn't want to go through the work of putting it up just to have it fall down. That would definitely be a grrrrr moment (or two or three).  And since we had painted the walls last summer, I wasn't really sure it would show up that great.  I really didn't want to pay for something that wouldn't work for me.  So I pondered and pondered.  And I finally sent an email to the seller of that item on Ebay asking if it would adhere to heavily textured walls. No response ever came and I just let it go.  Then I saw another one with a different seller and decided to try the email tactic again.  This seller responded and I bought the tree, wondering if that was a very smart thing to do.  That sounds so weird. "Hey, I just bought a wall tree off of Ebay."  LOL!  

The tree in its entirety, although you can't see the bottom
of the trunk.
It is certainly an interesting looking thing and once I got past the initial "hmmmmm" of it, I thought it would be a really fun idea.  I really want to display pictures in an interesting way that makes me WANT to look at them rather than just passing them by every day because they're in the same old space in the same old arrangement on the same old wall.  Get the picture? hahahahah - A little play on words there. Today Mr. Scrappin decided to open the box it came in since he had no idea what it looked like.  I don't think it's what he expected since it was on two large sheets and you had to pull each piece off and put it together on the wall.  Thank goodness though, because how in the heck would you get that sucker on there if it were all in one piece?  I'm pretty sure that would be almost impossible.

View from the side.  It measures about 5x8 feet finished.
So, this Easter day, I put a tree on my wall.  I did put the picture boxes up as well, although I will take them off and put real frames up.  They were important for placement though so I'm not unhappy that they're there.  We all know that with my own lack of talent for all things pretty that any arrangement I came up with would look interestingly strange.  LOL!  It really didn't take all that long since everything was numbered so that was a super bonus.  I can't believe how easy it really was.  

Luck would have it that I got some brand new pictures of Ms. Addisyn and the new Ms. Jaelynn today from my daughter-in-law so we know what's going up in at least a couple of those spots! And of course the kids will take up some too. I can't wait to get the new pics framed and dig out some of the ones I've been hoarding that have just been waiting for a wall all their own. Once I get them all up, it'll be great to look at and fun to talk about. A conversation piece for sure. I'm just gonna go now so I can add some pictures to this family tree. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Come On, Get Happy...

Oatmeal lids!  
Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm!  I am happy to report that we have officially had ALMOST an entire week of nice weather.  For the most part it was great, but there were a couple of times that it rained.  Not too much, just a bit.  Enough to remind us that it isn't really going to be NICE nice for a little while yet. But I'm not complaining...I'll completely settle for what we're getting.  It's warm enough to both turn the heat off during the day (still need it at night though) AND open a couple of windows for fresh air.  In my book, that's almost perfect and that's just enough.

Thread the paper ribbon through the holes in the lid.
They're already there so you don't have to make any!
Today, I actually went into my craft room and stayed there.  Cleaning it up.  I know, I know, you've read a zillion posts where I mention how extremely messy and unruly it has been in there since a year ago.  Every time I went in there I came back out.  No cleaning or reorganizing EVER got done and I have felt horrible about that. But...feeling horrible was not enough to make me do it either.  It's called aversion.  And I definitely have an aversion to huge messes.  I sort of started to pick a couple of things up the other day but quickly stopped.  So. Not. In. The. Mood.  Lately, though, I've been wanting to actually work on things in there.  Not out at the table or on the couch.  In my very own room where things live (literally - I found out a mouse has been in there).  I've been getting the urge to make cards and produce some scrapbook pages.  Those urges have been gone for quite a while so I'm actually a little surprised they resurfaced.  But who am I to argue? Maybe it's my poor, neglected rubber stamps calling to me - or maybe my beloved paper missing being picked over and touched.  Whatever it is, it's time.

Cut circles from pattern paper the size of the lids and
adhere with double sided tape.
So I cleaned.  And I organized.  And I even purged just a little tiny bit. Old, old templates that have been replaced by Cricut cartridges or Cuttlebug embossing folders.  The kinds of things that you have to have sharp utensils to use, and we all know that I'm not supposed to play with sharp utensils.  Read my profile, it says so right in it!  I had been saving those unused-for-ages things because I have a special affinity for them.  They were some of my first actual forays into the world beyond cards.  Like faithful friends, they were there for me when I tried to be creative with my scrapbooking.  And they didn't let me down.  So it's hard for me to let them go.  I'm hoping someone just starting out will be able to use them and love them and get some super pages done on the cheap.  Yes, they're going to Goodwill, where they will be affordable for the new owners.  

Run your letters through an embossing folder and adhere
with mounting tape for dimension.
Now, I want you to know that it took hours to get this done.  I started at 8:00 this morning and didn't finish until almost 4:00.  Whew.  I'm tired. But all is cleaned up and almost all is in its place. I'm still waiting for a couple of the plastic drawers to dry before I can put some of it back. will be perfectamundo.  Can't wait!  I'll feel like I've actually accomplished something!  But hey, a girl can't spend all day cleaning and not do some kind of craft, can she?  Since my main computer went kaput and most of my pictures of projects I wanted to blog about were on it, I've had a hard time becoming inspired.  One might even say I've almost been depressed.  There were some great shares and now I feel like I have nothing.  All before and after pics are gone.  And I don't want to take more of them because I'm irritated.  Yes, I know it's been several months, but I'm still p****d off at the computer gods that did this.  And the d**n gopher that ate through the water line and caused this whole entire episode.

Hanging from my dresser in my craft room.
So, as I was thinking about that today and wondering what to put in today's post, I remembered I had kept some lids from the instant oatmeal I have purchased off and on to keep in my drawer at work (never know when I need a little something and this fills the bill at keeping me full).  I know you're asking who in the world actually keeps the lids to their oatmeal but, I'm telling you, these are the best lids.  They're round and they're colored and you can probably come up with all sorts of ideas.  My first thought was a banner of some type.  So that's what I did.  I made a banner.  Aside from just wanting to make something, anything today in my cleaned up craft room, I wanted to see if I could actually make these lids do something so that I didn't save them in vain.  

At first I started out making a banner that was going to say "faith" but then I found myself just thinking how happy I was to have this room cleaned and how happy I was in general.  Nice weather, fresh air, a clean house, banana bread from a friend and steak and seafood thawing for dinner.  Oh, and my new dishwasher (yep, the one we bought several weeks ago) installed.  Oh, sweet quiet, how I love you so! Yep, I'm happy.  I am one of those people that seem to have a hard time realizing that I am actually happy and content, so this realization made me change my banner theme.  I dug out some scrap paper and went to town and came up with a banner that I'm not wildly in love with by any means, but appreciative that I was able to get it done. While I love the colors of the papers and the general idea, it seems that something is missing.  I don't know if it's a shadow letter behind the main letter, or ribbon, or what.  I can't quite put my finger on it!  But since it's basically a last-minute idea and I didn't really have any idea how I wanted to carry it out, I'm ok with it.  

I'll let it hang in my craft room on the dresser and as I look at it I'm sure I'll figure out what it needs.  Maybe I'll even change the entire thing and start all over.  Who's not unheard of for me to do something like that.  LOL!  You know how you just look at something and all of a sudden you go...OH, I should have done THAT!!!  For now though, I'll look at it and remember how happy I am that I got to play in my newly cleaned room finally!  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Top o' the...Cupboard? Ya...

On top of the fridge - two old jars, a pitcher, a cookie jar
(not old), an apple peeler (also not old), a tin cup with a
pastry tool and a framed handwritten recipe for waffles
by Mr. Scrappin's late father.  I love it!
Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm!  I hope you all had a fantastic week, with lots of nice weather to keep you company.  We had a little nice weather and some rain. I'll take that over the freezing cold any day!  I had a great, low-key week and it sure didn't hurt that I had Friday off.  Woot!  So I spent quite a bit of Friday with my mother-in-law, shopping for an outfit for her to wear to a wedding. And a milkshake.  Can't forget the important things!

Above the fridge - a Dutch Pennsylvania cookbook from
the 1800s, a hand held egg beater, potato ricers, graters
and flour sifters.  Don't you just love antique and vintage
items?  They're the best for personality!
Since I've been doing a lot of deep cleaning, I feel so much better.  I hate clutter. Really, really hate it.  It drives me absolutely bonkers but, let's be truthful here, sometimes I'm just too lazy to do anything about it.  So it adds up and drives me even more bonkers.  What a great pattern!  I'm quite sure that none of you out there can even come close to relating to that, right? One of the places I truly detest clutter the most is in my kitchen.  No matter what I do, it looks like nothing was ever done in the first place.  Wash the dishes...someone gets another one (or two or three) out; sweep the floor...looks like I never touched it, especially in the winter time; clean out the sink...mysteriously it's full again.  See what I mean?  Just once, I'd like to enjoy a sparkling, shiny, clean, beautiful kitchen...while I'm actually in my own house. I want to see what it really looks like and if it can really happen!

Lanterns, another potato ricer, juicers, canisters, a nut
grinder and old blue mason jars.  Don't you just love
this old basket to hold the big stuff?
Another thing that makes me crazy is those cupboards that don't go all the way to the ceiling.  I don't like them.  Never have, never will.  It's a thing with me.  For one, I can ALWAYS use the space!  Even if I'm not tall enough to reach stuff, Mr. Scrappin sure is.  For another, I feel like that empty space is nothing but a dust/grease/grime trap. There is no way to get those tops clean and I never feel like they are, even after I scrub, scrub, scrub.  Then there's the empty, unused look.  I don't like it.  I don't like it even more than I don't like clutter.  So what do I do with it?
Flour sifters, nut grinders, graters and old mason jars.

Now, I WISH I was one of those people that could make a good display of my cabinet tops.  I don't feel that I am.  Probably because I know once I put something up there, it's going to look stupid. Decorating is really not my forte', even though I wish it were.  I have to work really hard at it, unlike other people that just have that built-in knack.  Yes, I'm admitting right here in blogland that I am jealous of those people! That being said, they do inspire me to try!  I've had anything from my teapot collection to my larger appliances to anything in between up there on those cupboard tops and nothing has ever made me say that I absolutely love it.  

This little spot on the wall is the perfect cubby for that
collection of rolling pins!  And I love that basket!
But with my mantra this time around of "if I haven't used it in a year, it's gone," I had to rethink the no display dilemma.  I just happen to love these particular items, even if I don't love the top of my cupboards.  So I messed with this way and tried it that way and nothing was speaking to me.  Am I just a loser displayer?  That's all I need to unboost my already low self esteem! Well, I made myself put those things up and, as I was doing it, I actually felt good. Not because I didn't have to get rid of them and not because I wanted them up there on the cupboard tops, but because I got to look at them.  And I do love looking at them.  I don't know what the appeal to certain things is, but I love the things that remind me of my grandmother's house.  Maybe that's why the things I happen to collect are always in more than one quantity.  Cheese grater?  Several.  Flour sifter? Several.  Potato ricer?  Quite a few.  Rolling pin?  Still don't have enough!

So, without further ado, here are my small, but quaint, displays on the tops of my cabinets (and entertainment center used as appliance storage).  After all that arguing and debating with myself to just do it, I'm glad I did.  Also, since our kitchen redo is a LITTLE behind schedule, I feel good that I actually did SOMETHING in there!  And may I say, top o' the cupboard to ya?  

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Let's Do the Chai Chai...

Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm!  How was your week?  I had scheduled a week off for vacation, almost decided to give it back and, ultimately, decided to keep it.  Confused?  Me too!  LOL!  And what did I do with this time?  I cleaned my house.  As in...DEEP. CLEANED.  Walls, floors, purging (three boxes to Goodwill) and reorganizing.  Some things found new places in my home and some things just found new homes.  A couple of things have just been delegated to "non use" for a while because I'm just not into looking at them at the moment but can't get rid of them because they hold a special value to me.  All in all, not a bad week if I had to work when I wasn't working.  Mhm.

Friday rolled around and Mr. Scrappin and I left to take a three-hour tour, three-hour tour to see Gilligan...whoa, whoa, whoa...I meant our new granddaughter.  OH. MY. GOSHNESS...SHE IS BEAUTIFUL!  I know that all of us grandparents say that but, truly, she is just gorgeous.  The perfect color to her skin and she's oh, so soft! Oh goodness, I just wanted to snuggle with her forever.  This weekend was also Ms. Addisyn's third birthday and her big sister, Tiffani, turned 16 so we got to be on hand for that, which is awesome.  Can't miss those important dates.  On top of that, I found time to visit my favorite antique mall and grab some time in a quilt store that I've been wanting to go into ever since they opened.  However, since I no longer live where all these things are, I have to be selective with my time.  It just so happened that I was able to do that this time around and I am one happy camper!  How can you go wrong with grandbabies, antique and quilt stores?  YOU CAN'T!  Just sayin'.  And yes, I DID happen to come home with a couple of things from both the antique mall and the quilt store.  Oops, did I say that out loud?  Uh, I found nothing...nothing at all.  hee hee hee So, yeah, we just came home today.  A nice three-day weekend indeed.

Hubby and I went to dinner Friday night with my daughter and her bestie because a local restaurant there was having spaghetti night.  At first I thought $15 per person was a little high for a price, but HOLY HOLY MOLY there were so many leftovers that Sarah can get another three meals out of it for herself.  It was actually $15 per person or if you had a group of four then it was $45.  That made my pocketbook feel a little better and even allowed me to buy that extra jelly roll pack at the quilt store. You know, the one I didn't buy. WINK WINK Included in the price of the dinner was the spaghetti, with your choice of three sauces, fresh baked bread, salad and ice cream.  And these servings were so not skimpy.  We decided, especially once we tasted how delicious the food was, that it was definitely worth it.  And yes, we'll probably do it again!

Needless to say that in the midst of all the goings on, there was not a lot (ok, any) time to get a crafting project in here.  I was going to actually show the blankie that I was doing for Addisyn's third birthday but, ahem, I didn't do it.  Ok, ok, I'm a BAD GRAMMA!!!  I just plain ran out of time because, you know, I did not know for the entire preceding year that her birthday would be coming up.  Don't judge me, I am old and feeble and it cannot be helped.

How I got this recipe home:  I took a picture of it with
my phone.  LOL! lieu of a really nifty crafty something or other, I will share a recipe I stole from my daughter one of the times I visited her.  It was written on a piece of notebook paper and I took a picture of it with my camera because it looked so good. Of course, I am not the one that made it; she did.  I really just wanted to taste it before I actually made it up because it makes A. LOT.  And by A. LOT. I mean a HUUUGGGGEEEEE jar.  So I grabbed a pint mason jar and filled it (with her permission of course) to bring home with me.  When I got home I trotted down to my mother-in-law's to have her test it out with me (and also to take her a little gift I accidentally bought at the antique mall).  She loved it; I loved it and the rest, as they say, is history.  I will now make my very own drinkage because not only was it superbly delish, but I left the jar down with mom-in-law so she could enjoy it.  

My "sample" of the mix Sarah made up.
And my "new" pot from the antique mall that
I'll boil the water in.

And just what was this delectably diabolically addicting drink I speak of?  Chai Tea of course!  My fave drink of all time.  The recipe is interesting and I would not have guessed a couple of the ingredients, but they totally work.  Kudos to Sarah for making this stuff up for her mother to eventually steal!  I raised her up right!  One more thing...she does not know who to credit for the recipe since she got it from someone else so, please, if you know where it came from, let me know.  I always want to make sure credit is given to the correct person(s) if at all possible!

Here's the recipe:

Homemade Chai Mix

2 cups confectioners' sugar
1-1/2 cups Lipton unsweetened instant tea
1 cup dry powdered milk
1 cup regular flavor non-dairy dry creamer
1 cup vanilla flavor non-dairy dry creamer*
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice

Mix all ingredients thoroughly and store in container of your choice.  Sarah has hers stored in one of those HUGE decorative mason jars.  

To make the chai tea:  Mix 3 tablespoons mix with 12 ounces boiling water and stir.  Adjust to your liking and add more or less as desired.

*Sarah used Pumpkin Spice non-dairy dry creamer for a little extra boost of spice since we like ours more on the spiced side.

Make some.  I mean it.  Make it now.  I promise you'll love it!  Especially right now when it's still a little on the cool side and you might just want to warm up.  Make it...and do the Chai Chai.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Oh Baby, Baby..

A dress shaped card for a little girl.  Use an
embossing folder to add texture, add ribbon
and a bow and pop in a butterfly eyelet.
Chalk the edges for a final touch and you
have a beautiful end result!
Hello, Happy Monday and Welcome to the Farm!  I hope you have all had a beautiful week!  It was a little chilly during the day, but nice and sunny so I could deal.  Nights were cold though so thank heavens for blankies!  But the weekend...OH MY GOODNESS, it was just beautiful!  A tad chilly but nice enough to wear a light jacket and not that heavy coat I've been wearing for what seems like eons! Hooray for that alone!

So I'm on vacation this week, which I almost gave back, but decided against.  Mr. Scrappin had to change his vacation time so that leaves me doing it alone and who wants to do that?  Especially since he works nights and really, what can I do during the day when he's sleeping?  Exactly...nothing.  But I decided to keep the time and get started on my spring cleaning since the time frame for nice weather was exactly 2.5 days.  Saturday I got up and starting sharking my bathroom walls (gotta love the Shark hand held steam cleaner!), cabinets, shower and windows in the master bath, and did some super deep cleaning and purging in there.   I went through the cabinets under the sink and the drawers.  Anything i haven't used in a year is GONE.  Outta here!  Vamoosed for good!  I even got to have the window open in there because it was so beautiful outside!  Ah, it felt so good to get that done!  And my arms are so tired from doing it!  LOL!  I even took my old baker's rack and put it in the bathroom to hold towels.  It all looks so clean and streamlined! I swear to you that I heard harps playing in the background when I was finished.

Cute little card can just as easily be made
with any colors/patterns.  Note the
 opening to turn the wheel (on the
right hand side).
Sunday, Mr. Scrappin and I made a jaunt to Home Depot but came away empty handed (GASP!!!) so we will have to return another day.  After that, we stopped at a couple of friends houses (meaning one couple and then another) on our way home and had a nice relaxing day.  Once we got home, I started on the master bedroom and went to town sharking and dusting and purging in there too.   Can I just tell you that my arms are SORE today?  I made hubby go through the millions (ok, hundreds at least) of belts that have been hanging on the belt thingy since before I moved here (almost seven years ago) and get rid of the ones he doesn't want.  He was also "convinced" to go through the crap on top of the cabinet that I used for towels (the ones now in the master bathroom on the baker's rack - yay!) and get rid of it.  And yes, it was almost all crap.  Seriously.  But I was proud of him because he will come up with any excuse under the sun not to have to get rid of something.  He did good peeps!  Between his belts and a couple of other items and my clothes I've been hanging onto so I can get back into (yeah, I'm getting rid of them finally), I have a nice little tote to take to Goodwill.  

Cutest little teddy bear card perfect for
either boy or girl.  Cute as a button - pun
Well, by the time I got everything sharked, dusted, vacuumed, purged and the bed changed (along with some laundry in between) it was almost 10:00 and I was tired.  Blogging was just going to have to wait.  Oh, I forgot to mention the most important part of yesterday - I texted my oldest son, Adam, and told him that Gramma was getting extremely impatient and that he'd better have a talk with his wife's stomach and tell that little girl in there to get out here already.  There are limits to my patience, you know!  Anyhoo, I was too tired and it was too late for me to be excited about blogging so I decided to wait until today.  AND...

At 5:45 this morning I got a text from my daughter-in-law saying they were on the way to the hospital.  Turns out the little princess-to-be listened to Gramma.  Oh yeah, take that all you non-believers!  You CAN convince an unborn child to do what you want it to!!  That's right...I'm the Gramma bomb!  So...drum roll please...the newest little member of the clan was born at 7:20 this morning and I am just so excited I can't stand it!  Since I live three hours away I have to be excited by proxy but I can do it.  All day I've been on my phone getting pictures and news and more pictures and more news.  Just a little while ago I got a picture of Little Miss with her big sister, Addisyn.  Yes, I know you have all heard about Addisyn for almost three years now, but I'm sorry...I'm not done.  Not by a long shot.  Now I have two (count 'em, two) beautiful granddaughters to brag about and I do it til the cows come home!

So cute for a little guy!
Since this has been a beautiful, sunny, semi-warm, baby filled day, in honor of the new princess I will substitute the project I had planned to share with something baby related. Cards. Congratulations cards to the new parents for having the little bundle of joy that will cause years of indigestion, sleep deprivation and anxiety when their precious innocent one meets a guy (or girl) named Axl with a tattoo on his (or her) face that she (or he) has fallen madly in love with.  Um, not that I'm speaking from my own experience!  Really, that was a LONG time ago!!!  LOL!

All of these cards were made with scraps so I can't tell you where the supplies originally came from, but you can make up your own with whatever you have on hand and it will turn out just perfect!  It's all a matter of personality.  And now...without further ado, I'm going to sign off and start singing...OOHHH BABY BABYYYYYY.  OK, it really does sound much better on the radio.  :D 

Adam and the newest little princess!
7 lbs, 10 oz - 20 inches long

Ooh, and just because you asked (AND EVEN IF YOU DIDN'T), here's a sneak peak at the newest little member of the family and her daddy.  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Rollin' Out My Irish...

Mashed potatoes, potato water, butter, sugar & salt.  
Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm! Here's to weather being warmer and people feeling better.  I know that with our weather being so bitter cold, warming up and going back to bitter cold, people around here have been S.I.C.K.!!!  So many of my co-workers down for the count and of course hubby and I ended up ill too.  Now that the weather is at least on a more even keel maybe we can get a few windows open on the warmer days and get some fresh air inside!  Fresh air in...sickly air out...well, that's my hope anyway.

Mixing the potato mixture with the
flour and yeast.
While we're all sitting inside celebrating that at least it's warm enough to even LOOK outside, I'm preparing my Irish sidekick for our potluck at work tomorrow.  Of course since it's going to be St. Patrick's Day, we are having a "green" food theme.  I can't really come up with anything green except for a couple of things, but they were already taken.  Since I wasn't really sure I was even attending until today, I decided to make something that would go WITH the green food.  Rolls.  There appeared to be some pretty scrumptious looking dishes on the list when I left on Friday; a couple of them being stews and main dishes.  What better to go with that than rolls?  But...these are not just ANY rolls...these are my very own Irish Blarney Rolls with Homemade Butter.  Oh yeah, NOW we're talkin'!!!

See how it pulls away from the side?  It's
time to chill the dough.
Now, I know you're just dying to know what Irish Blarney Rolls are (and if you're not, don't tell me cuz it'll hurt my feeler!).  Basically, it's a potato roll. Really.  But they are the most airy, light, lovely little bundles of heaven ever!  Oh my goodness, when I came up with these, my little taste buds began to love me more then ever before! Honestly, they're the best!  Even if you're afraid of yeast, and I know quite a few people that are, don't be.  This is seriously the most simply put together recipe and it's so easy to do ahead of time.  The refrigeration is the key to the making ahead.  Most yeast doughs will want to be risen in a warm place until doubled, and I do that with this one, but not until the end.  FIRST, I refrigerate.  That part actually started out with a question because the first time I refrigerated the dough I didn't know what would actually happen.  But I was at the point of putting the dough in a bowl to rise when I had to leave.  As in leave the house for a while.  Well crap, now what?  I knew I was going to be gone longer than the rising time (waaaaaayyyyyyy longer) and I didn't want to come home to a kitchen full of exploded dough all over the ceiling.  You laugh now, but that really did happen and it was a pain in my Irish/Italian arse to clean up.  I figured what the heck...I'll stick it in the fridge and worry about it when I get home.  By the time I got back home, it was extremely late and there was no way I was going to get in that kitchen and make rolls.  I remember going to bed figuring I'd just through the dough out in the morning.   All I could think was here was an epic fail because I got called away.  Oh well, life isn't ALWAYS perfect, right?

Into a greased bowl and covered with saran wrap.  Pop
into the fridge for up to 24 hours.
WRONG!  I got up the next morning and had to move the dough to get to what I wanted out of the fridge so I took the dough out and plopped it on the counter, where it promptly fell, just as if I had punched it down. It had risen in the fridge and was as puffy as could be.  Hmmm, that's a good sign, right?  Breakfast got made, showers got taken and the daily life of three kids and their parents started.  While starting to clean up the breakfast dishes, I remembered I'd have to do something with the dough.  It wasn't ruined, or at least it didn't look like it, so I went ahead and finished out the recipe.  The rolls turned out wonderfully light and as perfect as all get out.  Yay!  I  was pretty sure I heard angels singing, but I realized very quickly that it was only the tea kettle screaming.  So close!!!!

It is risen!  LOL!  Chill up to 24 hours so that the
yeast is not affected greatly.
That was when I realized, though, that I could prepare the dough ahead and make up the rolls the next day.  And it made me happy, because with three kids and ball games, play rehearsals, dance class, birthday parties, school get the point...sometimes I needed to be able to do some things ahead of time.  Now all the kiddos are grown (the baby is 23) but this is still the best ever recipe.  Now that I live somewhere else and I drive an hour and a half to work and an hour and a half home, half the time I'd dead tired and the last thing I want to do is walk in and cook a huge meal.  Being able to at least start the process ahead of time is so great!  Mr. Scrappin can still have a nice meal that's homemade instead of pre-packaged or fast food.  And who doesn't like bread. WHO?  Ok, I'm not a huge bread fan, but that doesn't mean I don't like it!  If it's hot and fresh I can definitely eat my fair share.  So it's a perfect win/win.  Easy, fast prep and able to do ahead of time with a result that's out of this world.  I'm pretty darn sure that my Irish ancestors would be proud.

Roll into 24 rolls and let rise in a warm area.
My great grandmother and grandfather came over from Ireland and, although I only got to meet my great grandmother once, when I was a little girl, the meal left a huge impression.  It was the first and only time I'd met my Irish side and there were a lot of them.  My grandfather had 22 brothers and sisters.  Lord help me!  But I remember a lot of laughing and the normal family arguments about whose dish was better than whose and that bread...oh, that bread.  I'd never had potato bread before (or even heard of it) and it was seriously TO. DIE. FOR.  Flash forward to adulthood and several tried recipes for potato bread and rolls and then the extension to my own.  Don't get me wrong, the others were very, very good, but I kept thinking that there was something missing.  After a while I thought maybe it was a figment of my imagination that none of them tasted like my great grandmother's rolls, but it wasn't and still isn't.  So I tweaked this and changed that and messed around with it all and came up with my own version.  And no, these do not taste like my Mauzy's rolls either, but they are as close as I've been able to come.  It has occurred to me on numerous occasions that she had to have had a secret ingredient in there somewhere.  And out of all the family members, NOT ONE has her recipe.  Hmmm.  I'm beginning to wonder if there even was a recipe.  Ah well, these are still reallllly goood!!!!  The best thing about them besides their taste is their name.  I made it up.  Hahahahaha!  Mainly because "potato rolls" sounds so boring and overused.  And since I'm quite the jokestress, why not?  I think it's a great name!  AND, since my maiden name was O'Brien, it seems quite fitting.  So, Irish Blarney Rolls is the perfect name to me.  :D

The rolls are risen and melted butter brushed over the top
before baking.  Yum!
And the only thing to make them better is, of course, homemade butter!  When I was in second grade in Mrs. Kleeman's class, we did the butter experiment, just like a lot of other elementary school classes. We had the jar that we all shook and our teacher had brought in fresh baked bread.  We shook that jar and shook that jar and shook that jar until we got butter.  I remember us all being so excited that we had made real butter.  LOL!  The memories we have, huh? But I also remember how easy it seemed.  Probably because I didn't have to shake the jar all by myself for an hour, which seems like all day when you're in second grade!  Come to think of it, it seems like all day when you're an adult too!  Since we each took a turn, it seemed to go by fairly fast.  But, I turned 50 last year and that was a long time ago...sigh.

Fresh out of the oven and soooo good!!
With all the new age technology, making homemade butter is the simplest thing in the world. You can still use the jar, which is seriously fun when kids are involved, but I use my mixer.  Yep, my mixer. I just chill my bowl and the whip attachment (I have a Kitchen Aid) and pour in the cream and go to town. Once you have your butter, you want to be sure to rinse it so that it doesn't turn rancid or have a funky taste of leftover buttermilk. But really, it is the easiest thing in the world.

Ellen's Irish Blarney Rolls

4-1/3 - 5 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons yeast
1 cup mashed potatoes
1-1/2 cups water (105 - 115 degrees) (I use the potato water)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt

To prepare dough:

In large bowl combine 2 cups of the flour and the yeast.  In small mixing bowl combine potatoes, water, butter, sugar and salt.  Add to dry ingredients in mixing bowl.  Beat with electric mixer for 30 seconds on low, scraping side of bowl.  Beat on high speed for 3 minutes.  Stir in remaining flour, as needed, with a dough hook, (humidity and altitude can play a roll in how much flour you actually need)   until dough pulls away from sides of mixing bowl and forms a ball.  Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

To prepare rolls:

Grease 13x9-inch pan.  Remove dough from refrigerator; punch dough down and turn out on lightly floured surface.  Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.  Shape dough into 24 balls, place in greased pan.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size (about 40 minutes).  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Homemade Butter

2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt (completely optional - I don't always use)

In chilled bowl, with chilled beater attachment, beat the heavy cream and salt until butter is formed. 

Extra little helps for the first timer:  

I have a Kitchen Aid and use the whisk attachment on Speed 8, although you can use any hand mixer or food processor as well.

The "flattening" stage after the "whipping cream" stage
The cream goes through "stages" so be a little patient, although this is not a long process.  The cream will get to the "whipping cream" stage; let it go right through.  It will flatten out into a kind of "cottage cheese" looking stage; let it go through this as well.  At last the cream will be "sloshy" and you will think you have done something wrong...YOU HAVEN'T!!!  This is actually the "butter" stage.  The liquid in the bowl is buttermilk and the butter itself will be in chunks in the bowl.  

Drain the buttermilk out and then rinse your butter.
While the butter is "churning" prepare a colander with cheesecloth or several paper towels and place in a bowl to catch the liquid.  Trust me on this!  Place the churned butter in the lined colander and let sit for five minutes to get the extra buttermilk out.  Rinse the butter in paper towels or cheesecloth in cold water (the colder the better) until the water is clear so that all the buttermilk is out of the butter.  Let the butter sit another five minutes and place in container of your choice.

Pour the buttermilk into a container if you're going to use it (for waffles, soaking chicken, recipes, etc.)

You will not always have the same ratio of buttermilk to butter.  Sometimes I have very little buttermilk and other times I have quite a lot.  It varies so don't think you've made an error somewhere if you don't come out the same every time.

This process usually takes between 10 to 20 minutes.  Quick, easy and sooooo tasty!!!

Sweet, creamy, yummy butter!!!

So there you have it, my Irish Blarney Rolls and Homemade Butter.  What better to have on your table for St. Patrick's Day?  Make them soon and roll out your own Irish!!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Scrub a Dub Dub-Give That Dry Skin Some Love...

Ingredients for Oatmeal Brown Sugar Scrub w/Cinnamon.
Hello, Happy Monday and Welcome to the Farm!  The snowy, white, cold, farm. Just over this weekend we've had 9 inches dumped on us and it's still going. Brrrr.  In spite of that, hubby and I FINALLY purchased a new bed (THAT was a long time coming!), a new dishwasher (love those store credits and rebates!) so this one will stop growling at me and attended a birthday party for our favorite (now) five-year old twin boys!  Whew!  Yes, it was a busy weekend.  Cold and busy.  Needless to say, I didn't get around to really preparing any projects (kind of like the last few weeks) to show so today I'm here with my little gifts to my lovely mother-in-law.

Just mix it together!
A couple of months ago, she had mentioned that her hands and skin were so dry and itchy that she couldn't keep any moisture in them.  I definitely know how that feels, although I think hers is even worse.  While I'm inside working all day, she is out in the weather doing her thing.  Taking care of the pigs, making sure they're warm, checking the pump house, picking up around her yard, you name it - that woman does it. She definitely runs circles around me - embarrassingly so - and deserves to be pampered now and then. More now than then.  :)  When she mentioned to me all the things that she had tried to get some moistness and softness back into her skin, I was amazed.  Lotions, oils, they just weren't working for her.  Not knowing much about scrubs, I told her I'd make one up for her to try.  I figured that if it didn't really moisten, then at least it would exfoliate some of that dry skin right off so that she wouldn't be itching and miserable all the time.  

So...I made her up a scrub.  She tried it and it works wonders for her!  Not only has it gotten some of those dry dead skin cells off, but her hands and arms are as soft as can be.  I'm shocked!  Not being one for stuff like that, I actually wondered if it really worked.  Turns out it does!  Well, Mom loves it!  A couple of weeks ago she told me she was running low and asked if I would make her some more.  She was going to buy whatever ingredients I needed.  No way am I going to make her buy ingredients for a scrub I'll make for her when she does everything else under the moon for us!  And EVERYTHING needed for it is right in my pantry.  Going to buy ingredients is crazy.  This is the woman who brings me chicken soup every time I'm sick and I actually eat it.  Interesting, because I despise chicken soup.  Hate it, hate it, hate it!  But for some reason I can tolerate, even like hers.  Is it because it's made with love?  I'm not sure.  

Ingredients for the Cinnamon Coffee Sugar Scrub.
And every time we go to town to go shopping or whatever, we get into some kind of mischief.  Last time I lost my keys in a grocery bag and we had to unload the entire car and look through every single bag. Geez!  All the while we were cracking up like two little kids.  And we ALWAYS have to stop for our frosty.  Oh yeah, the frosty stop - there's nothing better!  So really, how could I even think about having her purchase ingredients?  I just want her to like the scrub and use it.  It's more fun to do something for someone you love when you do it for just that reason.  I'm not sure who enjoys it more, her or me.    I think she enjoys it ALMOST as much as when I make her a chai tea.  :)  I call that our "bonding" drink.  LOL!  She'd never had it until I introduced it to her and it seems that whenever we have it together we can talk the entire day away.  Amazing!  Those moments are so special to me.

This mixture is a little dryer.
It's all a matter of your personal preference!
Anyhoo, I digress.  Here it is, a couple of weeks later and I still haven't gotten around to making her a new scrub.  I'm a horrible person, I know.  I am admittedly very guilty. made her not only another scrub - I made her THREE!  It's snowing still and there is no way in heck I'm going outside again so I figured this would be the perfect day to do her up a new batch.  It only takes a minute.  And then I decided that maybe just one wasn't enough.  Maybe she'd want to try other kinds.  Or have a little tiny variety to choose from.  We all know that smells can really affect how you feel and with three differently "flavored" scrubs, she could have a ball deciding which one she "NEEDED."

Now, if you're thinking, like I was, that scrubs are complicated, think again.  They're really not!  And they are really up to your personal preference as to whether or not you like them thicker or thinner, more or less scented, etc.  There is no doing it wrong!  I promise!  The scrub that I made the first time was absolutely amazing - an Oatmeal Brown Sugar scrub.  I found the recipe at Best Bib and Tucker and it is a perfect one to start with.  Seriously simple and not a lot of ingredients...And WHAT could be better than Oatmeal Brown Sugar?  Oh my gosh, it smelled divine, like oatmeal cookie dough!  With the healing powers of oatmeal, as well as the olive oil, this will always be my go-to recipe for scrubs.  No matter what kinds of smells you like, this one will please just about anyone! This time around I used the same recipe but added one teaspoon of cinnamon because I love me some cinnamon.  I'm pretty sure I can't live without it.  

Lemon, Cinnamon Coffee and
 Oatmeal Brown Sugar w/Cinnamon Sugar Scrubs

After I whipped up the Oatmeal Brown Sugar scrub, I wondered if I could use some coffee to make one.  I'm not a coffee drinker so I didn't have any coffee grounds, but I thought instant coffee, which I do have on hand to use in recipes, might just work too.  Who doesn't love the smell of coffee, even if they don't drink it? Mmmmmmmmm.  So I grabbed it out of the pantry and proceeded to try a little experiment.  This is what I came up with:

Cinnamon Coffee Sugar Scrub

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons instant coffee

Mix all ingredients together and place in jar (or other container of your choice)

I've gotta say, it smells really good!  And it's nice and dark, which makes you really think of coffee.  Just don't drink it!  

After sniffing all the smell out of the coffee sugar scrub, I wondered what else I could come up with.  Chocolate came to mind, but there's just no way the chocolate would EVER make it to the scrub before making it to my tummy so that was out. Banana crossed my mind but I have absolutely no idea how I'd want to experiment with that one.  And would it even be appealing?  Pass on that one too.  As I opened the fridge to grab a Pepsi (the absolute best thing ever invented next to chocolate) I saw a container of lemon juice.  Hmmmm.  Now, I happen to know that Mom loves lemon as much as I do so this got me to thinking.  But how to do that one?  Well, you know me, I'll just figure it out.  And this is what I came up with for the lemon:

Yummy Lemon Sugar Scrub

1/2 cup olive oil
1 - 1/4 cups (a tiny bit less) granulated sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Mix all ingredients together and place in jar (or other container of your choice)

I'll be the first one to admit that I wish I had actual lemons to use for this because the smell would have been absolutely heavenly, but I don't.  I do feel that it could have been stronger smelling, but I'll take what I can get at this point.  Maybe it will be perfect the way it is.  I'll ask Mom because I know she'll tell me how it could be improved.

Well, that's how I chose to spend part of my day after coming home from the chiropractor and icing up. And doing laundry.  And dishes.  And vacuuming.  And...and...and...

My hope is that when Mom's in need of some tender loving skin care, she'll just get one of these out and scrub a dub dub her way to softness.