May 29, 2009

Homemade Wooden Blocks

I made these blocks at my parents the other weekend with my mom and sister-in-laws.  We cut up boards to the sizes we wanted and then used an electric sander to smooth out the edges.  (the electic sander is almost a must unless you want this to be a month long project!!!)  This is a much cheaper option then buying them at the store. To finish them off, I'm either going to use mineral oil, which is ok for children to put in their mouths, or decorate them with paper and mod podge.  The mineral oil would be easier but I think that the paper would look much cuter!  I got my inspiration for using Mod Podge from Making A Home with these blocks!  Check out The Shabby Nest for some awesome frugal ideas during her Frugal Friday Link Party!

Ahhh Joann's Sales...Sigh.....

For Memorial Day, Joann had an amazing sale especially on their Simplicity Patterns.  It was buy 5 for $5.  These patterns sell normally for $10-$15 a piece.  So I stocked up!  I ended up getting 15!!!  Now if I could only figure out how to read them!!!!
I've always had this dream to make my own curtains.  I have enough different styles here I could make curtains for every window.  We will see if these are actually sewing patterns for dummies.  From my experience it is sometimes easier to just look at the picture and figure it out.  At least that has been the case on the Table Top patterns on the project I'm making right now. 
As long as I'm having kids or go to a million baby showers, these will come in handy!
I figure I'm going to be having kids for a while so I might as well get some cute costume patterns for the next several Halloweens.  Plus, I'm too much of cheap wad to spend money on a costume at the store.  Those things are expensive!  

I thought these were so cool looking.  The book has different textures to it.  You can zip it, tie it, make the dog walk, play peek-a-boo, and much more.  I am also in love the with stuffed letters.  Wouldn't that make great baby gifts?  

May 28, 2009

Simple Lasagna

This is my favorite lasagna recipe of all time.  I find it really simple and it always turns out.  For my lasagnas I use whole wheat noodles instead of the white noodles like this recipe suggests.  I can't taste a difference.  I also use cottage cheese instead of ricotta cheese.  Personally, I think it tastes better.  If you left click on the picture below and then open in a new window/tab it will give you a larger version of the recipe.  You can tell that it is well used!

If you can't get the picture from above here is the recipe typed out.  

Simple Lasagna

1 container (15 oz.) part skim ricotta cheese (I prefer cottage cheese)

2 ½ cups shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided

½ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided

¼ cup parsley

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 jar (26 oz) spaghetti sauce

1 lb. ground beef, browned, drained

1 cup water

12 lasagna noodles, uncooked

1.  Preheat oven to 350F. Mix ricotta cheese, 1 ¼ cups of the mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese, parsley and egg until well blended; set aside.

2.  Pour spaghetti sauce into meat in skillet.  Pour water into empty sauce jar; cover and shake well. Pour into skillet; stir until well mixed.  (This will yield about 5 cups sauce.)

3.  Place 1 cup meat sauce on bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish.  (This way the noodles won’t stick to the pan.)

4.  Layer 3 lasagna noodles, 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture and 1 cup meat sauce.  Repeat layers 2 more times.  Top with remaining 3 noodles and sauce. 

5.  Sprinkle with remaining 1 ¼ cups mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup parmesan cheese.  Cover tightly with greased aluminum foil. Bake 45 min. or until cooked through.

6.  Remove foil and bake an additional 15 min. or until bubbling.  Let stand 15 min. before cutting for easier serving.

May 27, 2009

Salsa Roast and Mexican Rice

I have found that putting salsa with meat makes a flavorful dish that is also really moist and low in fat.  I usually just let the meat simmer with some broth and salsa on the stove.  I decided to try it in the crock pot this time. 

Salsa Roast (5)

(Sorry about the blurry picture.  I didn’t realize that the lens was dirty.)

1 Top Round Roast (Sirloin, Tenderloin, and Top Round cuts of meat have less fat)

1 cup salsa

Brown Rice


Put the roast in the crock pot with the salsa on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.  When the pot roast is done, take the juice (salsa) out of the crock pot and mix with uncooked rice.  Cook the rice like you normally would but with the salsa incorporated in the water.  For me, the best way to cook brown rice is to not follow the instructions but to use double the liquid.  So if you get 1 cups of liquid off of the meat, add 1 more cup of water or broth and then add 1 cup of rice. The extra water helps to make the brown rice much more moist. 

Salsa Roast (6) 

This meal is great if you are on a limited budget.  Add a green salad and you have a wonderful, flavorful meal for dinner!

May 26, 2009

Ragged Squares Quilt

This is the baby quilt that my mom made for Alex.  I LOVE IT!!! I sent her the design that I found on Crazy Mom Quilts and she made it.  Crazy Mom Quilts has a wonderful tutorial available.  My mom said it was very simple, especially with her new walking foot.   I also love the pattern on the back of the quilt.  Thanks Mom!  You're the best!!!

May 19, 2009

Yard Sale Junkie

This is my amazing find from the other day. I got this jogging stroller for $20! I snatched it up so fast when I found out the price. I found other amazing finds that weekend as well. Several toys for .50 that would normally sell brand new for $10+. I am officially a garage sale junkie!!!

May 9, 2009

Baby Shower Gift

Here is the gift I made for Lacy's Shower.  I forgot to take a picture of it before I wrapped it up so this was after she opened it up.  I made the blanket out of leftover fleece.  I only messed up a few times but I'm getting much better at fixing my mistakes.  I thought the blanket turned out pretty good.  

I cut the small squares 3x3 and the large squares 5.5x5.5.  Sew the 4 small squares into square before sewing the rest together.  I backed the quilt with fleece which helps hide the seams from the fleece.  It was a great way to use up some scraps that I had.  The only thing I had to buy was the piece for the back which was even on sale this week.