See something that looks familiar here? Perhaps you saw it first over at Family Home and Life, my other blog.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

First published at Family Home and Life.

Who doesn't love a warm freshly made Cinnamon Roll with frosting melting all over the top? This time of year is perfect for making them. They are great gifts for neighbors, co workers; anyone on your gift giving list. Making Cinnamon Rolls is not all that hard. The dough for these rolls can be refrigerated overnight so that you can pop them in the oven for a quick breakfast; freeze the raw dough then bake, or partially bake and then freeze them. If you have never made Cinnamon Rolls before I urge you to try these. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Christmas Garland

First published at Family Home and Life. 

The kids and I made Christmas Garlands. They are very simple to make. You fold your paper, trace on a design and then cut out. You don't cut a section of the folded edge so that it all stays in one piece. Here's how we made the Christmas Garlands.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Scripture Ornaments

First published at Family Home and Life. 

This is an easy and fast yet lovely Christmas Ornament that you can make with the kids. I call them Scripture Ornaments because I used a page from the Bible about the birth of Jesus as my back ground. But if scripture is not your thing sheet music is nice or make up your own verbiage. These would make great gifts or tweak this version to make gift tags.
Here’s how I made these.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Easy Christmas Decorating Idea

First published at Family Home and Life. 

Gramma’s workshop has been on overload for a while now! I’m sorry but there is not enough time in the day to make the kids gifts and post about it all at the same time. I’ll have to do that later. But I did want to share a Christmas decorating idea with you.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Nativity Set for the Kids

First Published at Family Home & Life, Dec 2012.

Every Christmas, I have a birthday party for Jesus in my home. We tell the Christmas story gathered around a birthday cake, sing Happy Birthday, and each child gets a candle to blow out on the cake. Since having grand kids, this celebration has become more special to us all.  As the kids have grown older, they have begun to join in with the story telling. This year I wanted to include the kids even more. I decided I would make a nativity for them to use in the story telling. Since there are a lot of cardboard tube "people" made out of empty toilet paper and paper towels rolls around Pinterest, I decided to try to make a nativity using empty toilet paper/paper towel rolls.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sweet Potato Casserole

First published at Family Home and Life.

I just love fall! And sweet potato dishes are just the thing to remind us that Thanksgiving is just around the corner. This recipe is so easy and so good that you will want to eat it all yourself. I know I sure do! And some times I even have the left overs for breakfast! Yum yum!
Sweet potatoes are inexpensive, filling, so good for you. They have more fiber than oatmeal, rich in vitamin C, potassium, more vitamin A than carrots. And they are low calorie at about 150 each. But not in this recipe! We have it dolled up in butter and brown sugar, and topped off with marshmallows.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Saving Money on Spices

First published at Family Home and Life.

Herbs and spices can make or break your meals and baked goods. A bland meal can be a great one with the addition of the correct seasonings.This time of the year, we all tend to buy a seasoning or spice that we only need a small amount of. Then the rest sits in the back of the pantry until it is thrown out. It can become expensive though when you use spices purchased in the spice section of your grocery store.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Butter Buns, Bet You Can't Eat Just One!

First published at Family Home and Life.

These buns or rolls, have been know around here by a couple of different names. Besides Butter Buns, they are also called Expletive Rolls or OMG! Rolls. That's right, they are so good the person eating them is forced to moan or groan an expletive, usually "Oh My G.... " you get the picture. These Butter Buns will melt in your mouth and have been our family tradition for holiday meals many years now. I use this recipe for my cinnamon rolls too. While they are not hard to make, they do require a bit of time but it will be so worth it!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Drying Peppers

I leave some of my Anaheim Peppers on the plant to ripen. These lovely red peppers are then strung on quilting thread or embroidery floss and hung to dry. Like my drying rake/rack? 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Roasting Peppers

I planted an Anaheim Chili plant last spring in my flower bed and it has just gone crazy producing pepper pods this Fall. I was surprised that they are hotter than I expected; I thought they would have about the same heat as those canned green chilis you buy in the store. Not these, they pack a bit of a punch. But I love to add them to tacos or anything I want to add a bit of roasted pepperiness to. I have tried many ways to roast them, to remove the peel, and I found a way that is easy and fast. Just how I like it. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

* Kids Activity Binder

I sometimes find it hard to keep my older grandchildren occupied while I am busy with the younger children. One day I found some free kids printables online and printed a few things out for them to do.....things like dot to dots, hidden pictures and mazes. Soon, they were finishing them before I could get the next one printed out. That could get expensive fast not to mention it was becoming wasteful.

* Home Made Yogurt

Making yogurt at home is very easy. There is no reason to buy any special equipment as you probably already have what you need. Making your own yogurt allows you to control what is in it, up the protein content if you wish, and is less expensive than store bought.  I like my yogurt to have a little sugar for sweetening, and a little vanilla for flavor. Store bought sweetened yogurt is like eating pudding it is so sweet, but I don't really like the tartness of plain yogurt either. For me, the hardest part of making yogurt is waiting for the milk to reach the right temperature.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Fall Rake Head Wreath

Who says a Wreath has to be round? You can find Rake Wreaths on Pinterest and when I saw this rake head someone had thrown out I knew I wanted to make a Rake Wreath for myself. Super easy too, I purchased the leaves and a small grapevine wreath to spruce it up with at the dollar store. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pumpkin White Bean Chili

Years ago I had a recipe from a magazine, for a Chili recipe similar to this one. I lost the recipe and then made up one of my own. The original used butternut squash instead of pumpkin, but the pumpkin puree is quick and easy. Also, the original used Chipotle peppers in Adobe sauce. I use Chipotle jarred salsa. Of course this is a simple recipe! That's how I cook most times, and if you use canned beans, it's ready in minutes too.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Kid Made Halloween Garland

My Kids Club group made a simple Halloween Garland as their craft project last week. I used simple things from my craft stash to make this easy garland. Of course you could make multiple items to make a long garland but we were working in a short time frame and each child took home their own creation. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Crocheted Rag Rug

Sheets are a great value when it comes to material yard by yard. Especially when you buy them at a Thrift Store at 50% off. I got mine for a whopping 50 cents each! I wanted to make a rug for my bathroom and I had a few balls of fabric yarn but needed one more sheet to cut to make sure I had enough to finish the job. Of course when I found out there was a sale, I picked up a few more sheets. Single unmatched sheets at my favorite Thrift store are $1, so after spending $2 I went home with 4 sheets; a lot of fabric to reuse.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

* Homemade Microwave Popcorn

I love popcorn, but I don’t love the cost of pre packaged microwavable popcorn. Once up on a time I owned a hot air popper and I was thinking of getting another one. With a hot air popper I can control how much butter and salt is on it and with out all the preservatives. But, I have a small kitchen, where would I store it, and then I really didn’t want to pay for one.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

* Easy Inexpensive Fruit Salad

Want a crowd pleasing fruit salad that won’t break the bank? I’ve got one for you.

* Mason Jars

One way I use my Mason jars is to save time in the kitchen.  Here’s a trick not too many people will still remember.  Did you know that you can use a small mouth Mason jar on your blender? Why would you do that you ask? Well you can use a jar on the blender to dice, chop, puree and blend small amounts of food. You don’t have to drag out your food processor for little jobs. If you have a small kitchen and rarely use a food processor anyway you may not even need one if you have a blender and Mason jars. 

It can also save on cleaning up because you can store your processed food right in the jar you used on your blender.  The only thing you need to wash will be the blender blade. But with an important warning! DO NOT DO THIS WITH HOT FOODS OR LIQUIDS! Since there is not a lid at the top for pressure to escape, heated foods or liquids can cause cracking of your jar or even cause them to explode! Please don't chance that. Cold or room temp foods only in the jar on our blender.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

* Make a Child Size Folding Table Easily

If you have kids around you need a table just their size for all kinds of reasons. But finding a good one at a good price is hard. Here’s one solution to try.
Why not purchase a plastic folding table, and cut the legs down to size? They fold up very flat and are very durable; kid tough! Clean up on these is a breeze. 

* Easy Art Project

Want an easy art project for the kids? It’s a messy one I will warn you! But it’s almost fool proof for getting a really nice finished piece of art even for the little ones.
I have found my 2 ,3 and 4 yr olds really like to squeeze glue out from the bottle and watch it pour all over their paper.

* Family Harvest Day Progress Update

We are at about two weeks until Family Harvest Day and I still have a lot to do. I simply have not had enough time to post everything I wanted to here. Life happens and it has been ‘happening’ around here intensely and without a break; I have not gotten as much done as I should have by now. In my last post on Harvest Day, I wrote that we had set the date and sent out notifications to all. 

* Getting Even

I was addicted (yes I really mean that) to Dr. Pepper for many years. Yes I admit it; and it had to be a fountain drink too. Well after many tries I kicked that habit a couple of years ago and now I can enjoy one on occasion without becoming addicted all over again. Yes, I’m very proud of myself.

* How We Make a Scare Crow

I try to do most things the easiest way possible and I think that scarecrows are a pretty easy thing to make. The first time I made one I used real straw; it looked great but it was really heavy and soaked up the water when it rained. It also was super messy and though the kids loved playing in the straw they left straw debris every where and itched where it got on their skin. Now we make our scarecrows from plastic shopping bags and wow does it work great. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

* New Uses for Coffee Filters

I receive some good email tips from time to time, here are a few.

* Family Harvest Day 2011

As I write this post I am thinking about this last year. You see, it's my one year anniversary of starting this blog. I thought I would be having a big celebration with you all but I don’t have time or energy just now to do that. And really, I opened it up to the public in March of this year (it was a family only blog before) so I’ve decided to wait until next March to celebrate. I’m not as busy that time of the year either. Any suggestions on how I should celebrate my blogiversary? I would love to do some giveaways at least; we’ll see how the bank account looks by then. 

* Painted China Cabinet; From Free To Fabulous!

A good inexpensive way to update the look of your home is with paint. Sometimes painting furniture pieces will bring it all together if you have mismatched pieces. I have painted furniture many times over the years. The pieces I choose to paint are usually older and solid wood.

Monday, September 16, 2013

* If I Had Time Today……

It is such a beautiful fall day here in Arizona; I’ve got all the blinds open and drapes pulled back, the windows are open and I'm enjoying the cool air and beautiful view. It is a work day for me; I work out of my house most of the time. I have a few grandchildren here napping right now, and I know that if I don’t take this time, while I can, to put my feet up I’ll regret it later. But I can’t help myself because after the summers we endure here, I have a huge list of things to do. I feel like I should be up doing chores; things that need doing, and things that I want to do just because I want to.

* My 'Recycled Reused' Dust Mite Proof Pillow Cover

I wanted to get some new quilted pillow covers; the ones I had were beginning to be a little thread bare, so I went shopping at some home goods stores. I had looked around some for them but didn't find the quality that I was looking for at a price I would pay.   Most only had the one layer thin fabric covers that don’t really do the job.  You want a pillow cover to be thick enough to keep moisture and skin oils from getting to your pillow, made from a natural material so it doesn't encourage perspiration, (plastic covers are terrible to sleep on) and with a thread count high enough to keep dust mites from invading your pillow.

* Glass Canning Jars, Fruit Jars, Mason Jars, Ball Jar

Mason is one brand name, Ball or Kerr another, and if your folks are from the south and a couple of generations back you might know them as ‘fruit jars’. They are jars used for canning fresh fruits and vegetables. Whatever you call them, they are workhorses in the kitchen and around the house.  I use them for all kinds of things besides what they were intended for. I try to stay away from using plastics as much as possible.  I also try not to use to many  disposable items in my home such as plastic bags. These jars really help out with that. They are air tight, **oven proof, **microwavable (with the lid off of course), and can be **frozen. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

* Family Day at Harvest Time

A couple of years ago I was eager to start having family gatherings that my grand kids could take part in. Something more than just getting together for family dinners and birthdays; something centered around family, and what being a family means. I wanted to create a strong sense of belonging to one another, a knowledge of how we came to be together, and a knowledge of our unique history as a family.

You have to understand that I was starting all this from scratch. This was not a tradition passed down to me, though my family did have some pretty strong roots. I had a vague sense of what we should be as a whole, but I wasn’t exactly sure how to get there. I thought that if I could get us all together and involved in activities, tell them a little family history in a fun way, that would be a good starting place. So I began what I called Family Days, and the first one was at Harvest time. We now have Family Days that are centered around different themes through out the year. I am careful not to overload everyones busy schedules by taking into account family birthdays and not scheduling Family Days at busy times.

* New Use for an Everyday Kitchen Tool

With all the extra effort lately to save money I have a new way to keep my feet looking good between pedicures; stretching out the time between getting them.  That saves money right? Today I have for you a kitchen tool that works so good....on your feet! 

* Dear Dad,

Happy Father’s Day!
I hope you all will excuse me if I write a short note to my sons and sons in law? Three of them became fathers this past year, one for the first time, and the other for the second time; and the third for the second and third time, (twins) and I am so proud of them! They are men of integrity, men that make Father’s Day a truly special day in the lives of their wives and children. Thank you my sons, for making your mother so proud! For honoring me and blessing me by the way you love and take care of your families. I love you so much!
To the man of the house (my house that is) you have proved once again this year what a great dad and grandfather you truly are. You are ‘Papa, the man, the legend’ for sure! (I saw that on a t-shirt!) But you are my legend, and I love you. Thank you for putting up with me J
And I want to honor my father who is in Heaven now.  I still miss him, his guidance and the security I felt when he was still with us. He was a larger than life kind of person. Back when I was still a single mother, I was missing him so much and wished I could just talk to him for a little while. I wrote him a letter instead; it’s below and I hope you enjoy it.
I love you daddy!

Monday, September 9, 2013

* Growth Chart Boards

I like to make heirloom quality gifts to give my grand kids. Here is a gift that each one received last Christmas, designed with the personality of each child in mind.

* Scavenger Hunt Chore Cards

Days playing at Gramma’s sure are fun for all. But when it’s time for clean up, well it’s not so fun.

Where does a body begin? How can I help my little ones figure out where to start when I’m not at all sure myself?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

* Things Are Not Always What They Seem to be

We went to Home Depot the other day, my husband pushing the cart, me trailing along slightly behind. I veered off to the side to ask at the customer service desk about an item I was looking for. My husband hadn’t noticed I wasn’t still following him and kept going, and the answer to the question I asked about was taking longer than it should have. When I finally turned around to follow my husband he was long gone.

* Cloth Coffee Filters

Have you ever returned from the grocery store and realized you forgot something? Something you will need right away? You need the minute you opened your eyes? Well I did. Luckily I had one coffee filter left, but I didn’t want to go back to the store for filters and I didn’t have time to either. So, I started wondering why I use disposable filters in the first place. Disposable means throwing your money away with said item, usually. Online I looked up reusable coffee filters and remembered why I didn’t have one; they are expensive!
I looked up substitutes for filters and mostly read about people using paper towels when they are out of filters. I wouldn’t want to do that, who knows what kind of chemicals are in paper towels and I didn’t want to drink them first thing in the morning. Why not cloth filters? I didn’t really have much luck online in that area either so, I took my one remaining filter and headed to my sewing room. How hard could it be to make one? It turned out to be very easy, for certain types of filters, and not so easy for others. Let me show you.

cloth coffee filter

Saturday, September 7, 2013

* Second Sewing Lesson

Our second sewing lesson was fun! It did take a little longer than I expected, so being in such a rush for time, I needed to recreate the steps and a couple of pics for you so it makes sense. I have used some of the pics taken during the lesson too. Here it is! A Princess Wand!

* Sugar or Salt Scrub

A thrifty lubricating hand or foot scrub is super easy to make by adding oil to salt or sugar; and you won't believe how great they work. Table salt or fine sea salt works just as well as sugar or brown sugar. My favorite is the fine sea salt. Mix in oil adding just enough to fully saturate; and then store in a container with a lid. A mason jar works great by the kitchen sink; a recycled plastic jar works well for bathroom use as it won’t break if you drop it from slippery hands.  

* Little Bits of Savings in a Lot of Way

There are many ways to save money, just as there are many ways to save time.  How about saving space in your refrigerator or pantry; saving gas by not making as many trips to the grocery store? What about recycling, and being ‘green’?  And always….. How do we best save our good health?

Friday, September 6, 2013

* Arts and Crafts with My Kiddos

All of my grand kids are age 5 and under so there is not really an organized routine or craft plan that we have. I do attempt organized crafts at times though; this week will be Father's Day cards. Right now the kids just like to play and explore with the materials I offer them. Mostly they like to paint or use markers; and glue!  A few times I have let them use glitter but aside from the mess they make with it they seem to like shaking it out more than any thing else.  If I didn’t stop them we would soon have all the glitter out on the table and the shaker jar would be empty!

* When You Give a Girl a Needle…..

My daughter in law and I worked on a sewing project together a while back, and either she was holding back on me or she has some major talent. Let me show you what I mean.

* Cabbage, Ham and Rice

My husband and I love ham and I stock up on whole hams when they are on sale. Ham is inexpensive compared to other meats and I often still find it for under a $1 a pound.  I don’t buy the spiral cut hams because they seem to dry out too much when they are baked and are usually a little more expensive. I love to cut big chunks off a freshly baked ham and serve it with scalloped potatoes and green beans.

* Strawberry Banana Jam

Strawberries are in season and I always make at least one batch of jam every spring.  My favorite recipe is one of my mother’s recipes that also uses bananas in the jam.  I must confess that although I helped my mom some when she made it, I never had the confidence to try it on my own.  The spring after she passed away I remembered that there would be no fresh jam that season; unless I made it myself of course.  So I dug around in her old recipe books and found the loose sheet of paper where she had written her jam recipe splattered with pink strawberry juice spots.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

* My Mother's Quilts

Pearl Irene is in heaven now. She left behind a legacy of remembered love. A caring person, a helper, and always ready to do what needed to be done.  If you were sick she was the one you wanted to be there caring for you and your home. A wife, a mother,  grandmother and great grandmother. We all have at least one item she made for us, most of us have several.

* Children’s Craft Apron

With as many children as I have around all the time I am always looking for good activities to keep them busy.  One of their favorite things to do at my house is paint pictures and make crafts.  I wanted to make aprons to protect their clothing and of course I wanted them to be very inexpensive. Most purchased children’s aprons are of a light weight fabric that paint goes right through; even the ones from home improvement stores still tend to leak paint. I always try to make do with what I already have so I started looking around my house and at my fabrics. 

* More Uses for Mason, Canning, Fruit Jars!

A look inside my refrigerator shows all my beloved Mason jars in use. In the back a 2 quart jar with Sun Tea, 1 quart jar with pasta sauce, pint of strawberry jam, left over mac and cheese, and some beet juice I’m going to use for another project in the craft room. In the front leftover curried rice and raisins ready for my lunch box, home made yogurt, jello in a half pint ready for hubbies lunch box, butternut squash soup, more jello and yogurt, and some fresh whipped cream to top the jello with. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

* Focusing on the Big Picture

It seems that the whole world is focused on money and ‘stuff’.  Making money, spending money, saving money, investing money, and all that money does for us.  We make a house payment, we pay for utilities, food and cars, insurance and the list goes on.  Then we buy clothing, household items, toys (an item intended for play time, adult and children’s); we entertain ourselves with money.
How much time do you spend making money, spending money, thinking about money and what you will do with the money you have or will get?  Or the money you won’t get? Hmm…….kind of sad isn’t it? What would we do if all that acquiring, spending and thinking about money stopped and we could spend time doing and thinking about other things?