Birthday Girl

Monday, May 31, 2010
My little girl happens to share my birthday month. Even cooler than that is that she shares a birthday with two of her grandparents, Mr. PD's mom's mom on one side and my mom's dad on the other side of the family.

This year she turned 4! I can't believe how quickly the time has flown. We're not big into big birthday bashes around here (at least not yet.) We prefer to have it be a family affair. The birthday boy/girl gets to pick the dinner menu and the type of cake they want. This year Ellie Mae requested "hotdogs, corn and fruit." Now that's a meal I can handle! On the other hand Mr. PD has a birthday next week and he requested tamales! (I'm hoping to convince him to pick something easier!)

Ellie Mae also requested cupcakes, pink ones, instead of cake.

...and as you can see she had a great time blowing out those candles.


Saturday, May 15, 2010
I love color.

This rental house is stifling my color groove! I'm working on a furniture project that will rip-off Pottery Barn. {Notice I didn't say Pottery Barn is ripping me off, nope I'm going to outsmart PB by building it myself and saving $1000.} It's an entry way system that will hopefully keep my house tidier, help me with my sanity, and temper (it never fails that we always spend 10 minutes looking for shoes before we leave the house, especially when I'm in a hurry) assuming I can train my kids and husband to use it!

I've painted the pieces we have so far a creamy white color that honestly just looks like plain white! I'm not really happy with it but I think I will leave it for now and instead accessorize with color, glorious color! Ideally I would love to paint the basement walls in "Alpaca" gray, I would love to re-paint the entry system in either a mustardy-yellow "Anjou Pear" or a toned down green "Sassy Green" and I would add accessories in "Youthful Coral" (pink) and "Frolic" (green)

The color chips are so much prettier than what the camera could capture and they are all Sherwin Williams paints. I think I could convince my landlord to let me paint the basement (kids playroom and where guests would stay) if only I could convince Mr. PD

Cathedral Window Pillow

Friday, May 14, 2010
I recently had a finish! Lately it seems like I have a ton of unfinished projects or projects that "need" to be started.

I finished this lovely pillow:

for my girl Heidi:

whom I was so lucky to visit last month on my little trip to Utah. This pillow is super special because it is made using fabrics from her husband's ties. The red fabric is from the first tie she ever gave him, and the silver fabric is from the tie he wore at their wedding

I finished it last week but I couldn't post pictures until I was sure that Heidi had received it. I mailed it out Wednesday afternoon and it made it to UT on Saturday, just in time for Mother's Day!

I had been working on this pillow for about a month. It really isn't horribly difficult but it was my first time making the Cathedral Window pattern and I was just too afraid of ruining the ties! I finally just took the plunge and finished it up. I must say it turned out beautifully. I basically followed the instructions on A La Mode and can be found here (part 1, part2) Instead of pinning all the window fabrics and the arcs, I used a fine line of Elmer's glue and heat set it with my iron. I glued all of the windows and arcs down before heading to my sewing machine. By doing all of the gluing I was able to do continuous stitching from one arc to the next with minimal starting and stopping.

Before sewing but after all the windows were glued down
This is how I did continuous line stitching

I love the finished product and I have always admired the Cathedral Window quilts. I don't know if I have a queen size quilt in me! I may just have to compromise at pillows!

Quilt re-visited

Thursday, May 13, 2010
I previously mentioned I got to visit UT last month. Well I was able to hang out with my husband's sister as well! More girl talk, more food, and more fun!

She totally indulged me by visiting my husband's grandma with me and then drove me around to buy some:

Oh how I love thee, let me count the ways:

Raspberry truffles


Blueberry Truffle
Key Lime TruffleLemon truffle

I tried their new Strawberry Truffle it was awesome (sorry no pic) and I tried Ginger, it was interesting but good
Yes I am a fan of the truffles! I find them to be less sweet than those my husband prefers, like the Bordeaux's and Butterscotch squares.

Then she took me to an awesome Thai restaurant were I had some super awesome curry! Then we went back to her place and stayed up eating strawberries with sour cream sprinkled with brown sugar and watched the blind side. The next day was Sunday and the day I was flying home. So we got up early and headed over to Temple Square to watch Music and the Spoken Word live! It was an amazing performance by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in a beautiful building. It was a fun weekend visit!

Before leaving I remembered to take some decent pictures of the Recipe for Friendship Quilt that my other SIL (Ari) and I made for Ruth.

Seeing that quilt reminded me that I still have to quilt my daughter's version of the quilt! The top has been pieced for almost a year now! Shame on me!

Honey Wheat Bread

Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I mentioned in a previous post that I got an awesome bread book for my birthday.

I would like to report that I have put it to good use! I've already made 4 loaves of the "Whole Wheat Brioche" and it has flown off the counter! It's made with eggs, honey, and butter. You can find the recipe here on the HBin5 blog. Make sure you use the dough within 5 days and wash your container between uses (because of the eggs.)

Now it may seem like a lot of eggs and honey but you have to remember that you are making 2 BIG loaves of bread. This bread is so delicious on it's own but is subtle enough to be used for sandwiches (PB or ham.)

See! Even little mice (EJ) can't get enough of this delicious bread!
OK now for some recipe hints,tips, tricks, and what not to do.

The first batch I made (pictured) was made with store bought "White Wheat Flour" (King Arthur I believe.) I bought it at my local Winn Dixie (golden springs.) It was on sale for $3.49 and should make 4-6 batches of dough (8-12 loaves.) It looked just like the flour I had ground myslef (more on that.) It is light in color and had a good fine consistency. When I mixed up the dough it was a pretty wet dough. After the initial rise it pretty much filled up my 5 qt bucket.

On baking day I used half of the dough for 1 loaf. The dough was sticky but had good elasticity and I was very easily able to form a loaf. I noticed that the color of the dough was yellowish. After baking the loaf rose quite a bit over the pan. One of the pans that I filled a bit to high dripped one blob of dough on my oven but not much. As you can see the baked bread has a yellowish coloring and it looks almost cake like. It was very moist and not too crumbly. Delicious!

The second batch of bread I made was made with the my food storage wheat. I thought it was the same as the store bought white wheat but I was wrong! It looked the same and had the same consistency but when the dough was mixed up it did not look yellow at all but tan. It was a bit drier as a dough as well. It rose perfectly as the first batch and when I went to shape the dough I realized it was drier and not as elastic. I had a slightly harder time shaping the loaf to be smooth because of the lack of elasticity. I think this could be fixed by 1) adding more water 2) adding less wheat flour and more white flour 3) I'm going to be trying to mix in some of the store bought white wheat flour and a bit more water as well.

Once baked the bread had a darker tan coloring to it and was a bit more crumbly after slicing. I noticed it also got stale quicker, probably because it was drier to begin with. It was good but you have to be used to the wheat taste in order to appreciate it. A few days ago I confirmed that I did indeed have Hard Red Wheat in my food storage. It is a stronger flavor than White Wheat and is not so great for bread. White wheat is the best for making bread, but since I have quite a bit or red wheat I'll be trying to use it up so I can replace it with white wheat.

What's for Dinner? Fire Roasted Tomato Soup

Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Last month I was lucky enough to be able to visit family in friends in Utah for a very brief but fun visit. It was so awesome to hang out with my SIL Kristie who is such an awesome friend to me. We had fun just talking late into the night, shopping, eating, and going to the temple. It's so fun to hang out with someone that you can totally relate to and have long conversations about girl stuff, vent about motherhood frustrations, share motherhood triumphs, and just uplift each other.

While there I was also able to meet up with my girl Heidi, who recently moved out to UT after her husband passed away. It was so great to see her and visit with her even if it was just for an evening. Oh and her awesome-est FIL adjusted my neck after the very painful injury I sustained here. It was glorious! I may just be in love with going to the chiropractor! Seriously after he adjusted my neck I could look up, look down, and every which way!

Anyway I met my friend Heidi for dinner at an awesome restaurant called Paradise Bakery. She raved so much about their tomato soup that I gave in and ordered a bowl. I must tell you that I am not a big tomato soup fan. I don't like that most are made with a sweet taste, it makes me want to gag. A lot of Mexican dishes are tomato based but they are not sweet at all, instead they are smokey and spicy (not hot) and seasoned with cumin, oregano, onion, and garlic. So I had my reservations about trying this soup. The first bite was so amazing! My taste buds got a treat with the spices, the creaminess, and the crunchiness of the tortilla strips.

So I got home from my trip and I ranted and I raved to Mr. PD about this super awesome tomato soup. Of course I had to look on the internet for a copycat recipe and this one came pretty close! I must warn you though, half of the recipe still makes a very large pot! Next time I will make 1/4 the recipe for my family of 4 (assuming I don't want leftovers.)

I could not find jarred tomatoes so I used 1 bag of these sun dried tomatoes that I found in the produce section of my grocery store. They were around $3. This small bag would be perfect for the 1/4 recipe but the 1/2 recipe could use more than 1 bag.

Here's a quick tip. When opening up a can of something for a recipe that only requires a tablespoon, freeze the left overs in an ice cube tray. When they are frozen transfer the cubes to a baggie and they are ready for next time! This works great for tomato paste, chipotle (shown), etc.
Each cube is approximately 1 tablespoon, at least my trays were, you may want to measure yours with water first.

Totally Awesome One Seam Flying Geese Block

Sunday, May 9, 2010
Last month at our LQG (local quilt guild) meeting we were challenged to have 100% participation in our monthly block drawing. The chosen block was this super easy One Seam Flying geese. I was so excited when I saw this that I almost peed in my pants. It couldn't be more simple and brilliant! I love learning new ways to make blocks faster. Let's face it, I have limited time for sewing and I like to feel as though I accomplished something in my 5 spare minutes!

Now some of you may have already seen this technique since this video has been posted for almost a year. Apparently I live in a cave {oh wait I live in a small town in Alabama so I guess that's almost like living in a cave!} because I hadn't run across this technique yet. So in my loving, giving nature, I am sharing the video here to enlighten other cave dwellers like myself (*cough *cough - Joy). Enjoy:

By the way if you haven't already signed up for a free account over at The Quilt Show, what are you waiting for? They have several free tip videos and a while back I got a free voucher for 2 free past shows! Make sure you sign up for the newsletter because that is where a lot of the tips can be found.

PS. Happy Mother's Day to all the Mother's! The future of the world rests in your hands.

“Motherhood is the greatest potential influence either for good or ill in human life. The mother's image is the first that stamps itself on the unwritten page of the young child's mind. It is her caress that first awakens a sense of security; her kiss, the first realization of affection; her sympathy and tenderness, the first assurance that there is love in the world.” ~ David O. McKay

Courage and Love

Wednesday, May 5, 2010
I started following Stephanie's blog shortly after the accident. I'm so grateful to her for her example of faith and love of our Savior and our Heavenly Father. I'm grateful that she has the courage to share her story with millions of us. Reading her blog always makes me cry with her for her joys, her triumphs, and her failures. I always come away from her blog with a resolve to be better. Thank you Stephanie for your courage.

Here is a lovely new video of her life. I'm warning you though, grab some tissues!

Birthday/Mother's Day Giveaway

Monday, May 3, 2010
UPDATE 5/9/10: The winner via Random Number Generator was #12
Marcia said... Please enter me in your giveaway. I love my mother because she is still eager to learn and try new things (especially foods) at age 79. She wants to try Greek yogurt but our little local store does not carry it. So, I want the Greek yogurt for my mother.

Congrats marcia! I've sent an email so please get back to me with your contact info!

I had a really awesome Birthday and now I want to share with you!

Recently Yoplait and My Blog Spark sent me a Nourish Your Inner Goddess” gift pack so I could try out the new Yoplait Greek Yogurt. The gift pack included: a super soft bath wrap, slippers, other bath goodies, and coupons for 2 free Yoplait Greek yogurt cups.

I have noticed all the Greek yogurts popping up in my grocery stores. With my 2 coupon vouchers I picked up a strawberry and a honey vanilla flavored cup (blueberry and plain also available). The packaging boasts of having 2x the protein (12 grams to be exact) of leading yogurts and 0% fat.

For being fat free (plus having more protein) I thought it was pretty tasty. I didn't notice any after taste (like with Splenda) in either flavor. I did notice that the strawberry flavor was a bit more smooth than the honey vanilla flavor. What I loved most (besides the 12 grams of protein) was that these yogurt cups aren't overly sweet. The Greek strawberry 6oz cup has 18grams of sugar when compared to the Original Yoplait strawberry flavor which has 27grams of sugar per 60z cup. The Greek strawberry only has 130 calories per 6oz cup making it a pretty good snack!

While I really enjoyed this yogurt I don't know how often I will be buying it. My local grocery store has them priced at $1.10 each! I know I've seen them for less at Walmart. Hopefully Yoplait will continue to roll out the coupons for this yogurt to make it more affordable. In fact you can print off a $0.30 coupon here courtesy of Yoplait! This coupon would get you a great deal if your grocery store doubles coupons (sadly mine doesn't.)

So leave me a comment for your entry to win your very own “Nourish Your Inner Goddess” gift pack. Tell me anything, which flavor would you like to try? Why you love your mom so much? How do you relax? anything really! I'll pick a winner on Saturday evening.

Update 5/3: Good question by one of my readers, I'm not sure if Yoplait/My Blog Spark is willing to ship internationally so I will double check and get back to you ASAP. You may still leave a comment just in case they do!

Update 5/4: I was informed that this giveaway is for residents of the continental US, further more they will be unable to deliver to a PO Box. Sorry to my international readers.

EQ7 coming soon!

Saturday, May 1, 2010
Have you heard that the new version of Electric Quilt is coming out May 31st? I haven't decided yet if I'm going to upgrade or not. I have really enjoyed my EQ6 and this new EQ7 has some nifty features.

The very best feature, in my opinion, is the new activation policy. It used to be that you could only activate EQ up to 3 times. This meant that you could put EQ on 3 different computers. it also meant that if one of your computers died it used up one of your activations! Now you can activate and deactivate EQ7 as many times as you like! This means that you can install it and not have to worry about what will happen if your computer dies or if you sell off your computer.

You can also work on images directly in EQ7 and apply "symmetries" to an image to make cool things like this:

I am also excited about the new Shrink and Flip feature. You can use it to make new blocks taking an existing block and rotating however you like.

Do you own a version of EQ? Do you like it? Will you upgrade?
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