Thursday, August 23, 2012

Peach and Blackberry Cobbler

One of our family's all time favorite treats. It is super easy!

Fruit Mixture
2 pounds fresh peaches
1 pint fresh blackberries
3/4 c sugar
3 T cornstarch
3 T butter melted

3/4 c flour
1/4 c cornmeal
2 T sugar
1 stick butter
2 T cold water

Heat oven 350 degrees

Fruit Mixture
Combine peaches, berries, sugar and cornstarch.
 Place in 8x8 oven proof dish. (A cast iron skillet works great.) Drizzle melted butter over.

note: This recipe is very forgiving. I never weigh my fruit, I just fill the skillet. I am sure I put in way more than 2 pounds.  I also substitute different fruit depending on what I have handy. Blueberries, pears, etc. Just don't leave out the cornstarch or it will be runny.  Guess how I know?

Combine flour, cornmeal and sugar. Cut in butter
 (see my pie crust recipe for directions on cutting in butter) Add cold water.
                                                              Crumble over fruit.
Bake 45 minutes until top is golden

Serves eight maybe ten if your kids are not all hungry teenagers.

I am linked up at Somewhat Simple  and Delightful Order

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Long day

You know it is going to be a long day....when you get a call telling you there is an IRS agent waiting for you as you are driving to work.... and he needs some paperwork. Is there anything scarier?  Not the best way to start a morning. When I asked if it was for real. Ron said "he seems real, he has a badge."
 I spent the next ten minutes of my commute (it seemed a lot longer) wondering how my day would end. At least I might get out of making dinner, someone else would be making mine. And I was pretty sure if I got arrested that federal prison is much nicer than Sheriff Joe's tent. 
Lucky for me he was very nice and there had been a possible glitch in the system (what? our government?!) because a lot of reports from that quarter were missing, etc. Whew!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Bobbin Organization

Why didn't I think of this before! Really, Why?! I have spent some serious time and effort on organizing bobbins. I know crazy when so much of my world is neglected and in chaos. But bobbins and thread all messy makes me nuts. I also am a bit OCD about my thread and bobbin matching when I sew and can't stand to wind one color over another color on a bobbin.  I have tried that and eventually need the color under the one on top. Then I have the dilemma do I unwind the top color and waste all of that thread or just wind over the top color again and make a rainbow out of this thing.  I know if only I had used my obsession for curing cancer or world hunger. Sorry, all wasted on bobbins.

Find a shallow container. This is one I found at a thrift store. Mark the width on a kitchen skewer.
Cut the scewer at the mark. Measuer up and repeat with the rest of the skewer. My box is 4 1/2 inches wide so I was able to make two out of one 12 inch skewer.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cupcake Sailboats

I teach the 16-18 year old girls at church. As a girl I loved this poem that hung on my sister's bedroom wall and I wanted to share it with my girls.
I didn't think to take a picture  because I was ditching Sunday School to finish them until I was dashing out the door. Kind of lame that they are in the pan for transport but hey what do you expect from someone playing hooky. The boat is a Oreo Cakester cut in half and the little red flag is made from a bit of fruit roll up. Linking up at craft-o-maniac

Friday, August 17, 2012

Thrift store therapy

I have been having some thrift store fun. I am still on the hunt for a Haymore Milk bottle. I found this Prescott Dairy one at an antique store in Mesa, it will have to do for now. I always snap up these glass plates when I find them. My grandma had a set of these she used for her bridge parties. I love them.

I am making a valentine bunting so that was my justification for the fabric, $2 for 5 yards.  I still need one more crochet doilie.  I am going to make a bunting from them for my kitchen window.
The cake pan stand is first attempt at making my own cake stand. It is made from an old heavy cake pan and  a candle stick. It looked darling with cookies in it. But it is crooked!
The candlestick is heavy and seems so solid but it is sadly warped somehow. I am not sure if I am going to keep it or if I can fix it. Looking at it makes me a bit crazy.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Betsy Ross Flag

I found an old piece of scrap wood. I think it may have been a sign in a former life because the corners were already rounded.

I tried using spray paint but the wood was so old it just sucked it up and you could not tell I had painted at all. So I used a couple of layers of exterior paint as a primer then spray painted white. I would have liked to have left it distressed looking but the whole time I kept thinking how much paint I would need to use so my husband would realize it was suppose to look the way it does and not throw it out. He does not appreciate rust and chipped paint like I do.

Using a craft ruler apply tape to mark stripes. This was a tad tricky because the board was 21 1/2 inches tall. I needed 13 stripes and the taped was 1.41 inches wide. Way too much math! Reminds me of one of my dad's riddles.
 Mark off the field. I made mine too small. It is square and I thought that is what I was suppose to do. But it looked weird and I  had to fix it in the next step.

 Paint stripes red. I moved the right side of the field markings over a couple of inches making it more rectangular. Using a plate I laid out my stars. The stars on a Betsy Ross Flag are oriented out. Spray blue.
 All done. I think it needs to be toned down a bit. Sanded a little or something. Maybe once Ron gets use to it he won't notice if I shabby it up a little.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Great Grandma Ashcroft's flakey pie crust

I come from a long line of awesome pie bakers. I learned mostly from my mom and a little from my grandmother who measured everything by hand and had only a 1/2 c measuring cup in her house. I assume for us baking impaired girls because I never saw her use it.
After calling home twice while at the cabin to make sure I had the ingredients and baking time right I thought I would post the recipe for future reference. My great grandmother Arrilla Ashcroft was a young widow who  did things like take in borders and wash to support her children. She was well known for her delicious pies and sold them to local restaurants. This is her recipe.

21/4 c flour
3/4 t salt
2/3 c + 2 T shortening. I like butter flavor crisco
ice water
Combine all ingredients excluding the water in a large bowl. Cut in shortening until it resembles very small peas. You can use a pastry cutter or a food processor for this but I think two knives work best. 
Gradually add ice water. Fluff with fork. Repeat. Do Not Stir! 

When the dough sticks together, but before it gets too wet you are ready to roll. Place half of the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap. It's not pretty but it works.

Fold in half in order to move it into the pie tin. The less you handle the crust the flakier it will be. Poke holes in crust with a fork.
For apple pie, fill crust with apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, butter  and a touch of nutmeg if you like.
The family I grew up in liked a two crust pie. Ron's family likes this crumb top instead. I have been converted to thier crumbly ways. Plus now I can make two pies for the same amount of work.
Dutch apple crumb topping
1/4 c butter 
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c flour
Combine all ingredients in bowl. Cut in butter the same as you did for pie crust.

Sprinkle over top of pies.
Bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes.

Here is Aubrey showing off her very first pie ever. It was amazing.
I am linking at Southern Lovely and Lil Luna

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Swirly twirly french braid

My girls love getting their hair braided. Sometimes it is for the braid itself (thank  you Katniss Everdeen) Most the time it is so they can have crazy awesome curls the next day. Like Heather's on the first day of school.
This is how we do the Swirly Twirly. Yeah, I know we are super creative when it comes to making up names for stuff. Probably why our dogs have lame names and I have never named a car. Although I think that it is so cool.

Section off hair. Think of putting a box at the crown of the head and leaving hair loose all around. Then divide the "box" crown section in half horizontally. 

Begin braiding the bangs on one side of the head. I like to use a reverse french braid 
so the braid stands out a little.
                         Keep braiding along the ear, back of  head and up the other side.
                     Take out the band from the top section of the crown.  Braid across.
Finish up by braiding down and across the bottom half of the crown.
Finished. Yeah Swirly Twirly hair!

Monday, August 13, 2012

First day of School

We had a smooth morning. I am down to 4 school aged kids. So cake walk! :)
Michael is a Junior this year. He is excited and hoping that he gets all of his coaches as teachers this year.
This is Aubrey's freshman year and first day at Greenway. She is nervous and has been a bundle of nerves lately. (don't tell her I said that because it will totally set her off.) Besides not doing her summer reading assignment until the last minute (yesterday and this morning) she is in the process of  trying out for the volleyball team. Final cuts are tomorrow. She is a great swimmer so swim team is her fall back plan.  Check out her shoes. Polka dot converse, sooo cute!  We found them at Nordstrom's Off the Rack for $16.97! Awesome!
Ashley will be the big kid on campus, an eighth grader at Desert Foothills. She is getting so tall and pretty. I am still adjusting to seeing her in glasses.
Heather is in 5th grade and has Ms Caroll, Aubrey's former teacher. Loved her, I know she will be good to my baby. Heather had me braid her hair in a "swirly twirly" yesterday so she could have these curls today.

Tyler spent his morning reminding everyone that his school doesn't start for another month. He was still smiling when I got to work. We spent the morning trying to find housing for him onilne with no luck. I think he will be living in a cardboard box!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Cabin wrap up

In addition to the blackberries the yellow apples ripen this time of year.  The whole cabin smelled of sweet apples. We made pie to bring home, yum.

I spent way too much time on the green lounge watching the humming birds chase each other. It is nothing like at home. It is a serious turf war over the feeder. We also had a group of woodpeckers that liked the other hummingbird feeder and would hop on and really stress out the little hummingbird who thought it was hers

I didn't have my good camera so I am afraid some of these pictures are sub par.  Heather and I spray painted this flag on an old piece of scrap wood we found laying around. 
Finished sewing the scripture totes for my graduated YW.  Drove to town to agonize over what color boa for the trim. I will finish the hand sewing this week and get it to the girls before the universities start up next week.

Friday, August 10, 2012

One last week at the cabin before school starts

By Monday I was pretty sure I was going to survive my crash and my headache was also mostly gone. I got in with my chiropractor that helped with a lot of the pain but I  have a cracked rib. Its funny how some pains get worse as others get better. It is like my brain can only handle so much. So Heather and I packed a bag and headed to the cabin for some much needed R and R.
Stopped in Prescott Valley to get a shot of this awesome double rainbow. It was a full arc and we could see the other end just outside of Prescott all  the way down to the ground. 

The blackberry bushes are loaded this time of year.  Our first days haul was a whole pint!
I was able to get some sewing done. And look who loves to iron! She was such a great helper with everything. Carried all the heavy stuff up the stairs, picked things off of the floor and helped me get up out of furniture.
Love her hair. As I was taking this picture she let me know that she hadn't brushed it in three days. 
I love the cabin!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Road rash and Sunburns

Today was my first day back on my bike in a whole week. We got home from San Diego late Wednesday night then Ron and I got up early Thursday took off for the cabin to paint the porches. It is amazing how fast that guy can work. I was just the prep girl, lots of sweeping and some scraping. But he got all of the railing and porches painted in one days time. We even had time to go to dinner at Murphy's.
This morning I learned the hard way road rash and sunburns are a bad combination. I was only a few miles into my ride this morning. I took a turn and on the down stroke of my inside leg my pedal broke! This is my second set of pedals. I already upgraded  the original plastic ones when I broke one avoiding a crazy teenage driver by the high school a few years ago.
I hit the ground hard.  Things flying off every which way. Before I could even stand all of the way up, there was a very kind older woman there trying to help me gather my things. She wanted to push my bike home for me  but I knew I looked like a horror show, blood everywhere. Ron had just left for his hike and was still in cell phone range. I was so relieved because my pride was hurt enough without having a little old lady walk me home.

I won't take pictures of my wounds. I thought my shirt would be gross enough.

Friday, August 3, 2012

San Diego

I forgot how much I love the Ocean!
I loaded up the kids after helping Ron out with his fifth  Sunday lesson.  I was so tired and dreading the 6 hour drive.  But I hadn't been to see Amber since her move and I knew it would be my last chance for a long time.  (The high school kids have already started open gym and meetings for swim.)
We got there pretty late.  The latch on the car door got jammed and the door wouldn't shut. Amber lives 2 blocks from the Ocean in Sunset Cliffs next to Ocean Beach. Parking is crazy there so I am out on the street a block from Amber's house at midnight with a screwdriver and using the light of my phone trying to fix the car door. Can I say hallelujah for smart phones and YouTube!
I woke up tired and still not very excited. But then we went to the beach and all of that just melted away. We  spent hours and hours swimming, boogie boarding and body surfing. Thanks to Ty I finally was able to do the last two. He is good at explaining the mechanics of things and I have never caught a wave before in my life but once I did I was hooked. We all got super crispy burnt the first day. Which is crazy because we are sunscreen veterans. But I think the cloud coverage, cool ocean breeze and 75 degree temps are deceptive. 
Hodad's is  my kids favorite place to eat in Ocean Beach. Yummy burgers and shakes. People start lining up before it opens at 11 a.m. and the line never ends.
We got up early our last day to spend time serving in the temple. The San Diego temple is so beautiful and the workers so kind and helpful. Amazing peaceful experience.

Michael opted out of the trip. There was a party at home he wanted to go to and he said he was tired of traveling. Yeah, like we are such jet setters. I kept trying to find him as I was counting heads. One time I even said "Where is Michael?" It makes me a little sad to look at these pictures and not see him with the other kids having a good time. That girl hosting the party must be pretty cute.