Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The method to my diaper bag maddness

I love my diaper bag! Mostly because I can always find what I am looking for inside! My diaper bag is actually just a large messenger backpack
This one to be precise!
I had looked EVERYWHERE for a boy diaper bag, one that my dear sweet husband wouldn't mind toting around also, and had finally decided on a $80 backpack. Thankfully, though I didnt think it at the time, the company sent me an email a few days later saying that the backpack I had ordered was out of stock. I was a tad frustrated and anxious, seeing that I was due in just a few weeks. Well, we took a quick detour on one of our shopping trips to Sportsman's Warehouse, and I found this bag for 70% off! It ended up being about $20. Things I LOVE about this bag, It's big. It had 2 bottle holders, it is NOT girly (which is hard to find in a diaper bag!) What I DONT love about this bag, the majority of the space is one HUGE pocket in the center. Which brings me to the point of this post. What I have, and how I organize everything in my diaper bag.
Quick sidenote... When I was pregnant I searched for a list of the 'basics' to have in my diaper bag before I had the baby, and couldn't find anything, so here is mine to help any other new mommas-to-be out there! :)
1. Wipes. For boogers, spills and of course messy diapers :)
2. Diapers.
3. Sunglasses.
4. Water bottle, mostly to make bottles, because I dont trust public restroom/gas station sinks. yuck.
5. Makeup case. I keep a spare of everything in there just in case I ever have to get ready in the car. Mascara, cream blush, eyeliner, foundation, eyelash curler, lip gloss etc.
6. Wallet (I know it's filthy, I cant part with it, it's too perfect.
7. Shoes for the little mister.
8. My 'everything' case. I got these two cases from TJMAXX (but I've also seen them at walmart) they came with all of the baby essentials (clippers, scissors, thermometer etc.) but I emptied them out and they are wonderful for keeping things contained. This one has lotion, eye drops, wet wipes (famous daves :)) hair gel, AA batteries, hand sanitizer, and a baggie with medicines (tylenol, tums, benedryl and things like that) I also usually have a travel size hairspray but it's lost. :)
9. Baby food. I got these little mini tupperwares at walmart for pretty cheap. they are SO nice because the lids fit really tight so they dont spill all over. I have one of cereal puffs, and one of baby oatmeal.  I also carry a container of baby food in case we are out to eat and there isnt anything my baby will eat on the menu, and a spoon.
10. Pen.
11. Travel size kleenex.
12. Point and shoot camera. You never know when you'll need it!
13. Formula. I put some in the same kind of tupperware that i have the snacks in, It's SO much easier than carrying an entire can, but it holds a lot more than those dispensers that only hols 3 bottles worth.
14. Mints.
15. The other case in the set I got. This one has everything baby. A disposable changing pad, diaper rash cream, baby lotion, baby powder, orajel, baby tylenol, gas drops, and more hand sanitizer.
16. Baby toys and books. Small tip that I wish someone had told me. Only put small toys that you dont mind losing in there, because there will come a day when you will have to retrace your steps in walmart to find the stuffed hippo your husband gave you when you first started dating.

Hopefully this helps some of your diaper bag dilemmas, or at least gives you some organizing ideas!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Looking for some FUN this summer?!

I just wanted to share a lil slice of fun I found recently in the blogging world. If your like me, and Love to explore new places but don't {or can't} spend lots of money for the family vacation..YOU need to check out this fun website.
It's a blog written by some Stay at home parents who enjoy being outdoors and cheep vacations. {perfect combo, right?!} In the blog they posts calender events, or fun new places to go see and do! They were spotlighted on Good Things Utah back in January of this year, and FOX13 did some interviews when ENJOY UTAH Founder, Michelle, hosted the Food Drive for Disney On Ice when they came to SLC.
Most of the activities are in northern Utah areas, but they are always looking for fun places in the rest of the state as well! So next time your heading North and want a few fun places to enjoy for FREE, or cheep, check out Enjoy Utah.  

Thursday, May 19, 2011

How we do Salmon



We LOVE salmon at our house! we eat it at least a few times a month! Most of the time we have it barbecued, my husband made this recipe up and has never written it down (or taken a picture for that matter) but it's YUMMY!
 
This is the salmon we buy from walmart, it's in the freezer section. For like $4.99 you get 4, 1 person portions of salmon. Fresh salmon would probably be better, but this works for us, and I always keep it in the freezer. Anyways, so heres our BBQ Salmon.
2 Salmon fillets
1/4 cup teryaki sauce
squirt of lime juice
1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
If we use the frozen salmon, we defrost it in the freezer pack about 1/2 way, so the fish is still firm. Place salmon on a hot BBQ and brush with sauce. Everytime you turn the fish, brush the sauce on. We like our fish really well done, but just cook yours to your liking.

the other recipe I am currently addicted to is this one from Favorite Family Recipes. I changed a few things, my changes are in red :)

1 large salmon (cut into portion sized sections)
2 c. milk
1 TBS siracha chili sauce
1 TBS teryaki sauce
1 c. finely chopped pecans
1/2 c. flour (we use wondra flour)
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. seasoning salt (Lawry's)
1 tsp. pepper

Put salmon, teryaki sauce, siracha chili sauce and milk in a ziploc bag for 10 min. Take out salmon and discard milk. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. I forgot the flour by accident, and although it didn't stick as well as it probably should of, it still worked. Completely coat salmon in dry mixture. Brown both sides in a small amount of vegetable oil in a fry pan at med-high heat. Bake on a cookie sheet lined with non-stick cooking spray at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 min.
 
This recipe was SOO yummy!! It's definitely a new favorite at our house!

Spanish Chicken & Rice

3 cups prepared Spanish Rice
1 cup shredded chicken
1 cup corn
1/2 cup black beans
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Mix all ingredients together, heat in a pan for about 5 min. or until all the ingredients are warm and cheese is melted and serve over nachos, in a tortilla, in place of enchilada filling, or just plain!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

T-Shirt headband.

I got this idea from a picture I saw on etsy that has been floating around pinterest like mad. She charged 25.00 for one headband,that was a little much for me so I decided to just make my own!
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So, me and my mom went to D.I and bought some stretchy shirts. you have to make sure they are the right kind of stretchy for them to work, not just an old t-shirt.
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lucky for us this shirt already had a ruffle on it to cut off!
but if your shirt doesnt, cut a piece off for the flower and sew or serge a tight zig zig stitch around the sides.

then sew a running stitch and pull the bottom string to ruffle it together
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roll it together to make the flower
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measure the size you want to make your headband. ours was about 3 inches thick
and about 16-18 inches long. depending on your childs head size.
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turn the shirt inside out and sew together.

scrunch the fabric together and stitch down the center
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then glue the leaf and flower on! we forgot to buy a green shirt to make the leaves so we just used ribbon and it still turned out cute!
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and your done! thats all! we did it in like 15 minutes!
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scraps fabric felt mini book.

I made a few of these books for my moms for mothers day and they were a lot of fun to make! *disclaimer though, I'm not a scrapbooker, I wish I was, but I'm not and all the stuff from the pages are just fabric, felt and scrapbook stuff I already had! You can go ahead and by cute matching stuff to make your album if you want too. I embraced my imperfections and the fact that it didn't all match and I liked it. So, whatever floats your boat! I got the idea here and made my own with that I had.
here's what you will need

*fabric scraps
*Felt
*Stiff felt
*Scrapbook stuff (ribbons, buttons, stickers...)
*glue stick & glue gun
*scissors
*sewing machine
*velcro, snaps or whatever you want to hold your book together

I took my stiff felt piece and cut it to the size I wanted and then pinned and sewed the fabric on
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I cut my felt pieces the size I wanted and sewed them on down the middle of the book. for some reason I don't have a picture of that? bare with me here...
I wish I had those cute scissors that cute different patterns, but I don't so I cut my own squigglys.

next I took another piece of the stiff felt and covered it with fabric. I sewed it right onto the back of the book for a strap to hold it all together.
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 you can use whatever you want to hold it together, buttons, velcro, snaps...anything! I just used velcro on this one.

now you can start putting your book together! here are a few of my pages

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Make-ahead-meals

I have a hard time with make ahead meals. I made a ton a few years ago, but due to the fact that I actually ENJOY cooking most every night, the majority of them went bad and I threw them out. But I have started to do what I have seen called "gradual make ahead meals", which is basically cooking the time consuming portions of meals (beef, chicken, crusts, sauce, etc.) ahead of time, so that when you need them for dinner, they are all ready! I usually take one day for beef, one day for chicken, and one day for pizza stuff. It doesnt take a lot of time, but it sure saves you a lot! Here's how I do it...

Shredded Beef:
We have a freezer FULL of elk and cow roasts, so what I do it take a LARGE roast, or 2 small ones, and throw them in the crockpot in the morning with
6 cups of water (enough to cover the meat 1/2 way up)
3 beef boullion cubes
4 TBS garlic and herb seasoning
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp seasoned salt
Turn the crockpot onto low and cook for AT LEAST 10 hours... if not 11 to12.
it will be super moist and tender! shred in a large bowl and seperate into plastic baggies (i do about 1.5-2 cups in each) and lay flat to freeze!
Then you have shredded beef for enchiladas, tacos, stroganoff, french dips etc.

Ground Beef:
This one takes a little more time and attention, but not much.
I thaw 6-8 lbs of meat at a time (our meat is usually deer or elk burger) and seperate it into 3 seperate bowls

Taco Meat-
for every 2 lbs of meat add
3-4 TBS taco seasoning
1TBS garlic powder
2tsp onion powder
cook until meat is no longer pink and set aside to cool
Great for tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, nachos, taco salads, chili etc.

Italian Meat-
for every 2lbs of meat add
1TBS garlic powder
1TBS onion powder
1TBS garlic and herb seasoning
cook until meat is no longer pink and set aside to cool
Great for lasagne, spaghetti, baked ziti etc.

Sloppy Joe Meat (recipe adapted from here)
1 lb Ground Beef
3/4 cups Ketchup
4TBS Worchestershire Sauce
1/8 cup Mustard
1/8 cup Vinegar
1/8 cup Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 small onion, minced
In a skillet, cook ground beef and onion until beef is evenly brown.
Drain beef.
Add remaining ingredients to the skillet and stir well.
Cook covered on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Then I divide the meats into sandwich baggies in 1 cup portions, lay flat and freeze!

Chicken:
shredded-
I usually buy one of those big 5lb flats of chicken, throw it all in the crock pot with enough water to cover 1/2 way up, add 2-3 chicken boullion cubes and a few tsp of garlic and herb seasoning and allow to cook until chicken shreds easily (i would guess about 4-5 hours on low)
Let cool and divide into 1 cup portions in baggies, lay flat to freeze.
diced-
Cut up any amount of chicken you want, season with garlic and herb seasoning. Cook in a LARGE skillet, but do NOT crown the pan or your chicken will never brown! If you have to, cook it in batches. Portion into baggies and lay flat to freeze.

Pizza:
crust-
I used this pizza dough recipe 3 times, making 6 crusts, but Im sure you can use whatever recipe you want and it would work fine. I split the dough into 6 balls, let 'em rise, and stretched them into a pizza shape. Then I baked them on a pizza stone at 450 degrees for 3 minutes. NO longer! It wont look done, it will be doughy, but thats OK! then I layed that one out on a towel to cool and proceeded with the next dough ball. Once the par-baked crust had cooled, I double wrapped it in plastic wrap and placed it flat in the freezer to freeze solid.
Sauce-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 TBS garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1TB tomato paste
1 32-ounce can pureed tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1 TBS italian seasoning
Add the olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic powder and crushed pepper, then add the tomato paste, cook for a minute, then stir in the crushed tomatoes. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Cook on LOW for about an hour and a half , it will get think and sweet and yummy!
After I let the sauce cool down, pour 1 cup portions into baggies, seal and lay flat to freeze.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

best canning book..



this book is awesome. 
it teaches EVERYTHING for beginning canners
and some pretty awesome recipes for the canning
items they list in this book. 


Thursday, May 5, 2011

simple bow.

if you can crochet this is a SUPER simple bow tutorial. 
if you can't crochet, youtube it...it's that simple. 

Just make a tiny little rectangle, pinch the center together, 
and wrap with extra yarn..hot glueing to finish off in the back.
Then I crocheted just a single strand for the headband and looped
it through the center piece of the bow on the back. These are super pretty and 
girly..and SO easy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mother's Day Idea

I made this Hershey's Bar Wrapper for our ward to give out to all the mom's on Sunday. So if you're in my ward close your EYES! The wrapper goes around a regular sized (1.55 oz) Hershey's bar. 

I included the wrapper if anyone wants to use it. 
  HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Pinterest

I am totally about to go all 'sales lady' on you guys... but its worth it!
Have you heard of Pinterest? I just found out about it and I LOVE it!
I have folder upon folders of DIY ideas, recipes, crafts to copy... and this website makes it so I can save ALL of those ideas online. try it! 
All you do is save the button to your tool bar, and when you come upon an idea that you want to save, click the 'pin it' button, choose the category or "board" you want to put it into on your page, and it saves it to your account! no copying and pasting, no site hopping to find that cute idea you saw yesterday, it's all in one place, and takes up no space on your computer!  It's SO fun! go check out mine here.
You need an invite to join, so you can either send them a request for one, or leave me your email and I can send you an invitation which is much faster!
And if you already have an account, let me know! I want to follow YOU!
here are some of my 'pins' so far...
 Elle Apparel

Monday, May 2, 2011

Beef and Bean Tostadas

This is more of a dinner idea than an actual recipe since they are SO easy! But I mostly just look for ideas anyways! :)\
Beef and Bean Tostadas
6 corn tortillas
vegetable or canola oil
1 can of refried beans
1/2 lb ground beef
1 TBS taco seasoning
1 tsp onion flakes
shredded cheddar cheese
lettuce
sour cream
taco sauce/salsa
any other toppings you want (olives, guacamole, tomatoes, onion etc.)
Cook beef with taco seasoning and onion flakes.
Heat refried beans.
In a shallow skillet, pour about 1/4 inch of oil and heat on med. high until the oil bubbles when you dip the edge of a tortilla in it. Once oil is heated, fry tortillas. I didnt leave mine in for super long, maybe like 30 seconds per side, but if you like them really crisp, leave it in longer.
Layer tortilla, beans, beef, and all the other toppings.
Enjoy :)

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