Wednesday, December 28, 2011

No-Sew Fleece Blankets

This is one of those projects which looks intemidating at first, but once you get started, it becomes very easy. I made my first one last year, and have made 2 more since as well as a no-sew fleece pillow. If you get the fleece on sale, then it makes for a very nice gift for Christmas, baby shower, or anything else.

First of all, you need to decide what size of blanket you want. The first blanket I ever made, I got 3 yards. That was a very large blanket and was actually big enough for 2 people, which was good since it was a Christmas present to my brother- and sister-in-law. Generally, for children and infants, 1 to 1 1/2 yards is good. For a throw blanket, 2 yards should be good.

When you've decided what size you want, then go out and get your fabric. I like to do one side with a pattern or a panel and the other side a plain color. This is all up to personal preference, however. Do whatever makes you, or the person receiving the blanket, happy.

Next, fine a table big enough to hold the fabric. If your in the position as I am and don't have access to a table that large, then using the floor is totally fine. Line up the fabrics corner to corner. If there is some overage of one of the other, don't worry. We'll take care of that in just a moment.

Fabric all line up!
Okay, so now we move onto trimming the fabric. If you have any sides that have been hemmed by the manufacturer or have those unprinted sides, go ahead and trim them off. Also, try and get the two fabrics as close to the same size as possible. Doesn't have to absolutely perfect. Close enough will do.

Next, cut off a 4 in x 4 in square off from all four corners. This will prevent your corners from looking funky.

Now, using your handy-dandy tape measure or ruler and cut strips 4 inches deep into the fabric one inch apart. Should look something like this:

After doing that on all four sides, start tying those strips together. Just a simple knot will do, but make sure to do it twice so they don't come undone while your snuggling with it or putting it through the wash.

All tied together
And there you go! A fully-functioning blanket which, depending on which size you went with, can be finished in one evening. Here's a view of the blanket which I was using for my example, which is going to be going to my soon-to-arrive niece:

1 1/2 yards of snuggly goodness

And here's a smaller blanket which I made for my own daughter. I think it started a little bit smaller than 1 yard and it's not nearly as wide as the other one, but I love the colors in this, especially the tie-dye green that I used on the backside.

If you can't tell, it's Snoopy. :)
And that's how you have a comfy blanket. Hope you enjoyed my little crafty "how-to" and if you do make one, please send me pictures. I would love to see them. Also, I hope you enjoyed the pictures in this one a bit better than ones in previous posts. I got a new camera for Christmas and I was totally excited to try it out. It even has an option for taking pictures of food, so let's see if my food looks more yummy. :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Still Alive

Woo! As I mentioned in my last post, things have been kind of crazy around here. A couple of weeks ago the husband and I moved from our tiny one bedroom apartment into a bigger two bedroom apartment. You really find out how much crap you have accumulated when you move. I really need to think about getting rid of some things....

Anywho, just an update on how everyone is doing. I'm loving my new kitchen. We have all kinds of places to store things and I even have a double sink! Yes! Now, I know many people probably wouldn't be excited about that, but when the only apartments you've lived in have had just one sink and a drainboard, well, hopefully you can see where my excitement is coming from. It also has 3 counters. My first apartment that I ever had....well....there were no counters. Just the sink and the drainboard. I love counter space. My dream kitchen has tons of counter space.

Even though we moved a couple of weeks ago, we still have tons of boxes left to unpack/go through in Lucy's room. Thankfully the stack is getting smaller, but as I mentioned before, we found out we have a lot of crap. *le sigh*

Speaking of Lucy, everything is going well. I just went to the doctor this past Monday for my check-up and everything is looking good. At this appointment they did my glucose test and I was *suppose* to get a shot because my rH is negative (my blood type is O-). But they forgot so I had to come back in on Wednesday and get that done. I thought I would be in and out fairly quickly. Nooooo. I had to wait in the waiting room for an hour before I could get my shot. Ergo, I was late to work that day by about 45 minutes. Yet, at this Wednesday appointment, I found out that I failed my glucose test. Anything above 140 they have to do the 3 hour test to make sure that you have diabetes, and mine was 162. Now, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't terrified of this next test. Diabetes runs in my family, so it won't be too surprising if I had gestational diabetes, but still....

So, Monday I go back into the doctor's and do the three hour test. First I have to fast for 10-12 hours, then they give me some glucose to drink. Wait an hour, they draw some blood, go back to the waiting room. Wait another hour, draw some more blood, go back to the waiting room. Wait for one more hour, draw even more blood, and hopefully find out what's going on. I'm thinking of bringing my cross-stitching with me, even though I'm not sure how that's going to work out. I tend to spread out when I cross-stitch, so we'll see if I can condense it somehow.

On the subject of babies, I am now officially in my third trimester. Almost there! I'm starting to freak out just a bit, because as of today, I only have 89 days to go. In terms of weeks, that's 13. Holy. Crap. Dylan is working on the crib (he's building her one) so there's that, but....I dunno. I'm just going into worry over mode, I think.

Work has been crazy. Veteran's Day is the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. Ergo, things were crazy yesterday. Working retail around the holidays is usually never very fun, but it wasn't so bad yesterday. My main annoyance comes with the customers who treat you less than human beings. Fortunately, since I work at a Christian bookstore I don't get too many of those, but they do appear from time to time. There were none sighted yesterday, so I didn't have to go all crazy prego-lady on them. One more whine about work, the apron I have to wear totally hides my belly bump. It makes me look like I'm just kinda chunky as opposed to pregnant. Hurumph.

I think I'm going to end this post here before I get too long-winded (too late! I hear you cry). I made really yummy meatloaf last night, so I think in the near future I'll be posting some recipes and the like.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Just a Quickie

Hello my gentle readers,

Yeah, I know it's been awhile since I've updated, and I'm going to make you wait for just a bit longer for an actual update, but I just wanted to let ya'll know that I haven't forgotten about you. Thing have been kind of crazy over here, including a move to a newer (and bigger!) apartment. I actually just got my Internet hooked back up yesterday, so that's why I've been pretty quiet.

I'm hoping to set some time aside tomorrow and do some more major updating on here. It will be celebrating my entry into my 3rd, and final, trimester, so that's always a good thing, right?

Well, that's all I have for now. Talk to you later. :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Menu Planning

One thing I've learned while on the road of running a household is that menu planning for a week (or two!) helps greatly. I don't have any kids yet, but even when I'm cooking for just Dylan and myself, having a plan (and sticking to it) makes things a lot easier, especially when we go grocery shopping.

So, I thought I would share my menu plan for this upcoming week. I typically do it one week at a time, as that's all I have for my work schedule. I tend to plan based on how much time I have after I get off work, and what we already have in the house. One thing I'm really trying to do is use up what we have in the house first and then go out and buy more stuff. Usually we end up with one or two items short of making a meal by the end of the week, so I think I'm doing pretty good. Well, here's my plan for the week:

  • Portobello Mushroom Lasagna
  • Garlic Bread
  • Salad
  • Homemade Slow Cooker Chili
  • No meal as I eat supper at church
  • Rice, broccoli, and cheese casserole

I haven't really thought too much about Friday and Saturday. Those are typically the days Dylan and I eat together, and it might end up being taco night or something like that. We'll see what we have in the house.

Also, I'm hoping to make a post about the chili as well as the portobello mushroom lasagna. I've had the lasagna before, and it was delicious! I'm excited to make it again. The chili I've never made before, but I've always wanted to make it. I tried to make Cinncinati Chili before and....yeah...that didn't turn out quite right. Hopefully this will turn out a lot better.

Well, that's all I have for today. I'll catch ya'll later in the week, maybe even as early as tomorrow! *le gasp*

Monday, September 26, 2011

Geek Overload

I'll admit it. I'm a video game addict. But I'm a unique addict. Normally I'll get hooked on a game and that's all I can play for about a month and then *POOF* I fall off the bandwagon. Then, a year or two later, I get the urge to play the game again. This is the big reason why I'm also a video game hoarder.

Currently I'm actually dividing my time between two different games: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Very different games but I like both of them. Oblivion I picked back up in anticipation of the release of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (more on that later). I've beaten the main storyline (which is saying a lot for me) and am currently fighting my way up the ranks in the Fighter's Guild. Force Unleashed I'm playing through 'cause Dylan is trying to make me get rid of some of my games.

So that's what I'm playing. I'll keep you all posted with any changes, but the rest of this post I want to dedicate to me geeking out about all the new releases coming out soon-ish. *Squee!*

First up is the ICO/Shadow of the Colossus Collection which releases tomorrow. I've never played ICO 'cause it's an older game and kinda hard to find. My brother and I had Shadow of the Colossus when we were younger and man was it hard! You're this tiny little human going up against these huuuuuuuge creatures. Kind of intimidating. Both games are getting an HD makeover and it's being released on the PS3. I can't wait to see the Colossi in HD. Here's a trailer so you have some idea of what I'm talking about:

Fast fact: Shadow of the Colossus doesn't have any loading screens. If you've played it, go back and think about it. Pretty amazing when you think about the details of the world and the Colossi.

Game #2 on my radar is Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Really this should be my #1 game, but ICO/SotC comes out first so....yeah....anyways, just watch this beautiful trailer:

Speechless, aren't ya? You get to fight dragons! Dragons!!!! And according to game developers, these dragons are just flying around Skyrim doing their own thing. More specifically, they have their own AI system, so even the game developers don't know what the dragons are going to do. In one game play video I saw, a dragon just randomly picked up an NPC (Non-Player Character) and flew off with him.

To say I'm a little excited for this game is an understatement.

Up next is Batman: Arkham City. Just when you thought you defeated all the crazies in Batman Arkham Asylum, they take control of a whole city: Here's proof:

If you played Batman: Arkham Asylum, then you probably know why I'm excited for this title. Even though the only other Batman game I've ever played is the LEGO Batman for the DS, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Arkham Asylum is the best Batman game out there. (Feel free to correct me if you believe I am wrong) The grittiness of it and the details are just fabulous! There's a bit of a twist ending in Arkham Asylum that I'm interested to see how it works out in Arkham City. Plus the villains have me excited as well. The ones that I've heard of so far are Joker, Harley Quinn, the Penguin, the Riddler, and Mr. Freeze (not played by Arnold Schwarzenegger).

Since this is getting a bit on the longish side, I'm just going to post the next two trailers and geek out about them in another post. :)

Assassin's Creed: Revelations

Bioshock: Infinite

So what games are you looking forward to? Tell me all about it! :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Southwest Chicken Wrap and Baby Update

Okay, so this "recipe" is really quick and easy to make. Sorry that I don't have exact measurements for some of the ingredients, but they are really up to taste. (You'll see what I mean when I get there) So first, the recipe, then, the gabbing. :)

  • 1 can of canned chicken breast
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of black beans, no sodium added
  • Taco seasoning
  • Fresh cilantro, finally chopped
Put everything in a bowl and mix together, adding taco seasoning and cilantro to taste.

My Take
Well, that was easy, wasn't it? And it's pretty healthy as well. If you're worried about adding too much taco seasoning, just start with a little bit at a time, mixing well and then doing a taste test. I personally like quite a bit of the flavor, so I add a good bit. As for the cilantro, I would err on the side of too little rather than too much. Cilantro, in my opinion, has a very strong taste, so you probably don't want to add too much, unless you really love the flavor it brings.

The best way to eat this, again, in my opinion, is to heat up the mixture and then serve it in a flour tortilla with sour cream on top. My mom, on the other hand, eats it cold. Either way works since the canned chicken is already cooked. You can probably come up with other toppings that would be delicious with it. Tell me about them!

Baby Lucy!
Today marks my halfway point in my pregnancy. It's crazy thinking that I'm already this far along. At this point, I'm getting really anxious about becoming a mother. I know that before I found out I was pregnant I was really wanting a child, but now I'm terrified that I don't have what it takes. Probably most first time mothers go through this stage of anxiety, but I dunno....sometimes you feel like you're the only one going through something. Selfishness, I guess.

She's been moving around a lot recently, more so tonight. Guess that's another thing I have to get use to. It's only going to get worse as she grows. lol

But, with all this anxiety, there also comes a sense of happiness and joy. Yes, it's coming from the fact that in about 20 weeks I'm going to have a baby girl, but it's also coming from the fact that I'm hoping to be a (mostly) stay-at-home mom. Because of finances and the like, I'll have to work some, but I'm hoping it'll only be 15 hours a week (3 hours a day, Mon-Fri). That's what my job is technically suppose to be, but I get more hours since I work out on the sales floor as well. This has me really excited 'cause my whole career aspiration right now is to be like Mrs. Beaver from Leave it to Beaver. I dunno, I've just always had this fantasy with me staying at home and raising the kids and cooking things from scratch. *sighs* How great would that be. What would make it even more amazing is if the house would just clean itself. lol.

Well, I'm going to call it a night, on the blogging front anyways. I think my next post is going to be showing my geekiness and be about video games. Let's see how many people I can scare away from my blog, shall we? lol.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Beef Enchiladas

I love this recipe. If I could eat these every night, I would. Of course, I probably say that about a lot of things, but trust me, these are delicious. I think the thing I love most about these is that you make the enchilada sauce. It's not something you just get out of a can and pour over the top of the enchiladas. Not saying anything is wrong with that, but I like being able to control the flavoring. Must be a control issue......Anywho, onto the recipe!

  • 1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chiles, drained
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
  • 8 corn tortillas (5 or 6 inches)
  • Shredded cheese, sour cream, and chopped onions, if desired (for topping)
  • Heat oven to 350°F 
  • In 10-inch skillet, cook beef over medium heat 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until brown; drain. Stir in onion, sour cream, 1 cup cheese, the parsley and pepper. Cover and remove from heat.
  • In 2-quart saucepan, heat bell pepper, water, chili powder, oregano, cumin, chiles, garlic and tomato sauce to boiling, stirring occasionally; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered 5 minutes. Pour into ungreased 9-inch pie plate.
  • Dip each tortilla into sauce in pie plate to coat both sides. Spoon about 1/4 cup beef mixture onto each tortilla; roll tortilla around filling. Place seam side down in ungreased 11x7-inch glass baking dish. Pour remaining suace over enchiladas.
  • Bake uncovered about 20 minutes or until bubbly. Garnish with shredded cheese, sour cream, and chopped onion.
My Take

Okay, so if you read my Cafe Strawn blog, then you'll know Dylan and I are extremely picky eaters. So, how do I even stand to look at this recipe with all the onions and peppers and chiles? Simple, I don't use them! And honestly, it turns out perfectly for us. I'm sure that if you liked those kinds of things then it would still work great for you, but honestly, we wouldn't eat it, so no point in making something we wouldn't eat!

I've made these things about 3 times and this last time I doubled the sauce part, as when I got to the part where you pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas, I barely had anything left and they turned out a bit too dry for my tastes. But now this time, it seemed I had too much sauce, as the enchiladas didn't crisp up as much as I would have liked them to. I think I'll have to tinker with it a bit more to find the balance that I like texture-wise.

One final thing that I tweaked about this recipe was that I put cheese on top of the enchiladas about 5 minutes before they were done cooking. Gotta have my cheese!

So there ya have it, a beef enchilada recipe where you get to make your own enchilada sauce. If you find yourself making this in the future, comment and lemme know how it turned out. Let me know of any changes that you made and what worked and what didn't work.

Happy Cooking! :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Starting Over

Yes, I'm starting another blog, but this one will be easier to upkeep, I think, because I'm rolling all my blogs into one. That's right; I'm combining Cafe Strawn and Shiloh's Stitches into one blog that will also contain little snippets of my life in general. Sound exciting? I'm sure it does. But don't worry! I'm going to keep the other blogs online so you can go back and look at the recipes/older posts. I thought about putting them all here, but that was too much work, so eh. They'll just be on a separate website is all. :)

This first post is more of an intro post and just kinda catching everyone up on stuffs. First of all, if you haven't heard the news (There's people that still don't know?! *gasp*) Dylan and I are expecting our first child. I'm currently 19 weeks along (almost half there!) and we're having a baby girl. Lucy Joanna is due February 9, 2012. This was unplanned (by us, not by God) but we're happy and excited. Of course this means in the near future we'll have to move, but ah well. Just means going through and getting rid of more stuff.

With this whole development, my goal is to become a more domestic housewife. Sure I'm working close to full-time hours now at the bookstore, but after Lucy is born, I would love to only work there the hours my position is suppose to work (15 hours a week) and be a mostly-stay-at-home-mom. Honestly, that's what I really wanna be when I grow up; a full-time housewife/mother. In that endeavor I'm trying to keep the apartment more clean, cook more meals from scratch (or scratch-ish, depending on how I'm feeling) and just being like Mrs. Beaver from the old TV show Leave it to Beaver.

I think this is going to be bumpy road as I'm totally not a neat freak, but maybe having a kid will help that? One can only hope....

So you, my lovely readers, will get to read all about the great adventures we're having here in our household. I'll post any advice that I come across as well as recipes, book/movie/video game reviews, and just other random snippets of stuff that I enjoy. (Trust me, things can and probably will get a little weird at times.)

Well, I think that's long enough for a first post in a new blog. Hope you guys will enjoy this and please, feel free to comment. I love reading comments. :)