Saturday, February 27, 2010

homemade yogurt.

I'm thinking about trying this recipe for homemade yogurt from fellow blogger-&-frugal-girl-extrodinaire-Kristen. I'll bet it's really yummy, and quite a lot cheaper than buying yogurt at the store. Plus, you KNOW there are live, active cultures in this stuff if you grew it yourself...


Friday, February 26, 2010

standing tall.

Inspired by Amanda @ soulemama

***{this moment} - A new semi-regular Friday ritual I've been thinking about. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.***

What a lovely idea. Here is my moment, with just a few words:

Noah is standing up on his own. He wobbles and braces himself with his legs all splayed out, and then smiles like he knows he's accomplished something big...which he has. It's a big milestone for this first year. He's almost 10 months now, much to his mama's dismay...wasn't he just born yesterday? What a sweet little boy he's turning into, my Noah bug.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

link to dana's pants pocket tutorial.

Dana at MADE posted this tutorial for these adorable pants (along with several other designs...take your pick, they're all amazing!). I have to make these! February has been "Celebrate the Boy" month on her blog, and has been totally inspiring for this mommy of three boys.

thrifting 101.

I love thrift stores. I'd rather shop at a thrift store than just about anywhere, mostly because I'm such a tightwad. Mr. Gardner loves thrifting too, so it's a favorite pastime of ours. I started back in High School (before it was cool) at a store called Rags & Wags in my hometown. That was about 15 years ago. That's a lot of thrifting. I've learned a few valuable lessons in that time:

1. To get great finds, you need to go often. Probably once a week or so. Mr. Gardner is something of a bibliophile, so he finds out when the local thrift stores put out their new books, and tries to go weekly. He's found some amazing books using this method.

2. Don't buy things just because they're cheap. This is the hardest thing for me...I have bought way too many things at thrift stores for this reason, and not because I really like them, or will use them, only to re-donate them right back a few months later. Don't buy an item if you don't love it or have a specific use for it. Which leads me to...

3. Keep a list of things you need or want and take it with you when you go thrifting. This may seem counterintuitive, because if you've ever gone to a thrift store looking for something in particular, you know inevitably you will not find it! However, if you do go often, chances are you will eventually see what you are looking for. If you don't have said item on your list, you will walk into the store and be completely distracted by all the stuff, all the while having this nagging feeling that there was something you wanted to watch you walk right past it.

4. Don't underestimate repurposing. This is probably one of my favorite things about thrifting. You can re-use and re-purpose almost everything in the store. We've picked up some great, well-made furniture at thrift stores. True, when we bought said furniture, it was spray painted purple and green, and needed to be refinished, but that's the fun part! Sheets can be made into almost anything, old baskets or luggage are great for storage, clothing can be resized, throw pillows can be recovered. There are a lot of amazing ideas out there for repurposing the items that are sitting, waiting for a new life!

5. For every item you buy while thrifting, donate an item back. This is a great way to de-clutter your home. I always have a donation box going at my house for items that are no longer used, or needed. I especially try to do this with my children's things, because toys and books and outgrown clothes seem to accumulate unusually fast at our house!

That's all I have, but would love to hear more tips from other thrifters...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

what i did today...

Last night, as I was going to bed, I looked over at the lone dresser in our bedroom, which was buried under piles of magazines, diapers, and articles of clothing, and resolved that today, if I did nothing else, I would clean it off. Oh, and I would finish the load of laundry that has been "soaking" in the washer....

So after the boys ate breakfast, and I did the dishes, and tidied the kitchen, and took out the trash, and changed a couple poopy diapers, and fed the dog, and got everyone dressed, I stood in front of the dresser and began the daunting task of removing and sorting the accumulated junk.

AsI did, I found a pair of my favorite earrings...which reminded me that I've really been wanting to make an earring frame for all my earrings (I got the idea from a dear friend, who got it from apartment therapy, I think...) I bought a frame at the thrift store about a month ago and just needed some screen to hang in it. So, I left the mess, and proceeded to go outside to cut a ruined screen out of one of our windows. Fifteen minutes later, I had this little project finished...

But still had a mess on my dresser.

Which I took care of.

But the clothes are still in washer...tomorrow, perhaps?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

reversible baby booties.

Ok, these are the most darling little booties...EVER.

I have wanted to make them for a long, long time, and I finally made them for a friend with a brand new little boy. I am so excited about them that I'm posting the pictures of them before I give them to her (I don't think she knows I blog...yet). I must say that the tutorial I followed from crafting blog maked out of Canada was really, REALLY good. So good, in fact, that I was actually able to figure out how to make them...that's saying something! And I figured out how to make them in an evening, with "help" from my three children. The house is an absolute disaster as a result...but these darling little booties sitting on my kitchen table make everything worth it.

A couple of notes:

I used a light quilting cotton pattern for one side, and a rich brown flannel for the other. While I was looking around for fabric ideas, I saw some made out of old embroidered tea towels that were, well...amazing (I'll have to keep an eye out for old tea towels when thrifting). I also saw some with corduroy for the bottoms, which would be great if you were making them for an older child who actually used their feet...

Which brings me to the next thing; these are incredibly tiny. Way smaller than I thought. They are definitely newborn size. I took some pictures of them in my hand, to show just how small they are. So darling!

Here they are with the brown flannel side out...


Originally uploaded by jengardner
We just got a new printer and I discovered, much to my delight that it is also a scanner. So, inspired by all the love this Valentine's Day, I got out our wedding photos and scanned them all! I've been wanting to do this forever...

Here's my favorite.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

happy valentine's day.

So, since everyone knows that chocolate and Valentine's Day go together perfectly...I wanted to share the BEST chocolate cookie recipe in the whole world. I got it from the blog of one of my dearest friends who is also something of a gourmet cook in my book. But be forewarned, if you don't care for chocolate, you will not like these cookies. They are made with dark chocolate chips and are amazingly rich. I make them at least once a month, much to the chagrin of my four year old who despises chocolate (I know, I know, something went horribly amiss in the gene pool there...)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

make you own...

With three sons, I've been going through baby wipes like there's no tomorrow, and they're not cheap. Lately, several of my friends have been making their own (and raving about how great they are), so I thought I'd find a recipe and try them out soon. I need to run to the natural food store to get some of the ingredients (I think I might try some organic baby wash and essential oil in mine...either lavender or tea tree oil). And here's a link to a tutorial on how to make the lovely wipe case cover shown put your homemade wipes in...

I also ran across this recipe for home-made deodorant on a great little blog I just discovered. I've (unsuccessfully) tried several all-natural deodorants before because I've heard the aluminum that is in EVERY anti-perspirant is not good for you. So I think I will whip this up and see if it works. It's made with coconut oil, so it has to smell pretty good...

Friday, February 5, 2010

love this home.

I found these photos of a home in Brussels, Belgium that I LOVE on a design blog today. The whole house is done in shades of off-white, with touches of buttery yellow and sea-foam green. The owners have an amazing assortment of antique furniture like this hutch and farm table in the kitchen...

The kitchen is my favorite room...the owners used old library shelving, complete with ladder, to house their beautiful stoneware and dishes (hate to think how dusty those dishes get, though...)

The library is beautiful as well, looks like the same shelving. I just LOVE the sparsely treated wood on the ceilings and floor and the airy french doors. I'm imagining that they open to a lovely garden that smells like lavender...

The entryway is a bit more formal, but still feels very welcoming to me thanks to that lovely, warm, yellow color...

And lastly, the bathroom, which has a little green in it...I love green, especially when it's understated like this.

I'll have to incorporate some of this design style into my own home, It feels old and homey, but fresh at the same time. I could live in this house. But it's not too kid friendly, I would imagine...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

make your own grocery totes...

I have decided to start posting links to blogs, etc. that I am enjoying every now and then to my page. I rarely actually get to do projects, or even update my blog, and it seems to me that one of the greatest things about blogging is sharing the wealth of amazingly creative ideas that are out there. So here is a link to a tutorial from this blog for these sweet recycled grocery totes. I would just love to make these...sometime...

mom's pancakes.

You know those recipes that your mom makes, that you totally take for granted when you are a little kid? And then you grow up, and one day you remember that wonderful...well, whatever...that your mom made and you just have to call her for the recipe? Well, last week I resurrected my mom's pancake recipe. I have actually had the recipe for a while, but haven't ever made it. I guess I overestimate the difficulty of getting out ALL those dry ingredients. That, and I never seem to have buttermilk on hand. But last week, I just happened to have the perfect amount of buttermilk and the overwhelming desire to eat some of my mom's pancakes. They were just as good as I remembered...

Here is the recipe:

Mom's Half Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes
  • 2 cups flour (1 cup white/1 cup whole wheat)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  1. Sift together dry ingredients in large bowl, mix wet ingredients in smaller bowl and combine, mixing well.
  2. Pour by 1/4 to 1/2 cup onto hot, buttered griddle (I usually have mine around 300-350, I think). Cook until bubbles on top pop, then flip and cook until browned on opposite side.
  3. Top with whatever you want and enjoy! These can be frozen and reheated in the toaster.