Friday, September 30, 2011

The Best Ever Banana Bread

My family is funny about bananas.  

My Mister and the girls love them, and I mean l.o.v.e.  

So I buy lots and lots...or rather bunches and bunches...of them.  

They will eat them every day, two or three times a day, for about 4 days.  

Then they just stop eating them.  They even stop asking for them.

And they start looking like this:

Personally, I think it is a conspiracy.  

They know that when the bananas start to look like that, the only logical thing to do with them is to make banana bread.  And, they like banana bread better than plain old bananas.

Waaaaaaaayyyyy better.

So, I am going to share with you my favorite banana bread recipe.

The thing is, I got it out of a Family Fun magazine years and years ago and I don't feel right reprinting it here on my blog.  But, I will most certainly tell you where to find it.

Click that link.  That's where you'll find the recipe.

And, it truly is unbeatable.  This is a recipe I never have and never will attempt to change.  And, I've become very loyal to it.  There is no other banana bread recipe that will ever take its place in our home.

I follow the steps as exactly as I can:
Line the pan with wax works better than foil or parchment paper or nothing. 

I always try to get help mashing the bananas. 

It always tastes better when they mash it.

The sour cream is the key ingredient.
People always ask me why it tastes so good and I always say, "It's the sour cream."

They either look mystified and disgusted or pleased and enlightened and they always say, "oh!" either way.

I find it best to let them cool in the pan for about 20's kind of hard to wait at this point, though. 

Mmmmmm, oh boy!

P.S. Three bananas = one loaf.  If I have extra bananas, I try to make 2 loaves so I can share the love, but sometimes they disappear before I can get them out of the house.  It's that good.

I'm linking this up with some of favorites!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Little Bit o' Business

Hi Friends! 

Just a couple of things:  First, my friend, Fabi, over at Mrs. Sassy Crafter needs some help.  She is a fantastic card maker and has a surplus of cards that she wants to take to the Ronald McDonald house in her area so that they can pass the cards on to people who need a little bit of happiness in their days.  Her idea and hope is to be able to bring them a box overflowing with cards and she has put out a call for cards. 

Now, I'm not really a cardmaker...I never could find the inspiration.  But, there are a lot of examples out there to draw from and this is a really good cause to challenge myself for.  So, I'm going to try to pop out a few.  If you would like to, I'm sure she would love whatever you and I can give.

Cards of any sort and any theme will do, but they need to include an envelope.  She is hoping take them in on October 24th, so that gives about 3 weeks.

As an added incentive, she has put together a mystery box for the person who sends her the most cards!  Ooo!  Maybe you'll win.  She gives good prizes!  Head on over to her site and the link here for all the information.

Now, secondly, did you see my new header?  =)  Yeah, I really, really like it.  It is the masterful work of my brother.  He also designed my sweet little button, which I would love for you to grab and share if you are so inclined.  My brother, Michael, is a very talented graphic designer.  If you would like to see his work or if you might have a job for him, I have a link to his page at the bottom or right here:

Ok.  That's all for tonight!  Have a happy day!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hoo Are You?


What is your zodiac sign?

I am a Virgo.  I don't really know anything more than that.  I have no idea what characteristics a Virgo has or if I have them.

Name 3 things that are always in your purse besides your wallet.

I usually have a book, especially if am going grocery shopping alone; my iPod, again if I am shopping alone; and at least 5 pens (I have no idea how they get in there!).

Which magazines do you look at most?

Family Fun is definitely my favorite.  I also love Taste of Home or any other recipe magazine.  The only other magazines I read are my Church magazines, the Ensign and the Friend.

Do you pluck or get your eyebrows waxed?

Um...I don't do much of either.  Every once in a while, if I'm feeling ambitious or, I don't know, bored, I'll pluck a few.  When I do, I always feel like I should do it more often, but I don't.  I did get my eyebrows waxed once, and I loved the results, but I've never had it done again.

How often do you go grocery shopping?

I go twice a month, always on a Saturday.  It is, very often, my alone time.  Mister takes the girls and I take the morning to listen to my music while I shop.  I usually get Taco Bell and a Fruitista Freeze that I eat in my car while I read my book before I go in to the store.  It's the little things, you know.  =)

Monday, September 26, 2011

My Yarn Wreath!

I have been seeing yarn wreaths all over bloggy land and I absolutely love them all!  

I decided it was about time for me to make my own.

It turned out rather nice, don't you think?

I figured they were probably pretty easy to make, so I didn't use any particular tutorial to make mine.  I just did it the way I figured would work.  

So, here's what I did:

First, I got a wreath form.  When I went to the store, they were out of styrofoam forms (it must be wreath season or something!), but I did find this straw wreath for only about $3.
I left the plastic on it to hold all that straw in.

Next, I gathered the tools:  Yarn and glue. 

I don't know if other people have used glue to hold their yarn down, but it seemed like that would work best, especially with the plastic.  

I started out by putting a good amount of glue directly on the wreath. 
I smeared that glue around with my finger (because that is the funnest way to spread glue) and stuck one end of the yarn to the wreath.  (P.S.  I just put glue on one side, not all the way around.)

Then I started wrapping it. 
It was at about this point that I realized it would probably be easier to wrap the yarn if it was wound up in a ball instead of in the skein.  So, I took a little break and made that big skein into about 5 smaller balls.  That was much, much easier to wrap with.

I wrapped and wrapped and wrapped and wrapped until I had covered the whole thing. 

It became apparent that one round of wrapping wasn't going to cover the wreath adequately.  

I mean, look at all those holes! 
The wreath was going to get cold.  

So, I wrapped and glued and wrapped and glued and wrapped and glued again.

Doesn't it look much more cozy?  (Ignore that one little hole at the bottom.  I don't know how that happened!)

And, I was worried the glue would make the yarn stiff, but I didn't use a ton so it worked out perfectly.  The wreath is nice and soft and, yes, even huggable.

Next, I needed some embellishment. 

I searched all over for ideas and finally I came across this post over at A Pretty Life in the Suburbs.

I knew right away that those were the flowers I wanted!  And, wahoo!...there was a tutorial.

I used felt and followed her tutorial.  It was quick and easy and before I knew it (well, not really before I knew only took about half an hour) I was surrounded by pretty flowers.

mmmmmm.  They make me happy.

I pulled out my hot glue gun and arranged those pretty flowers nicely on my cozy wreath. 
I think it gave it just the touch it needed (and also it covered up that rogue hole!).

I really like that yellow one that is sitting there saying, "I don't quite fit in with these other guys, but I don't care because I'm bold and bright and pretty all on my own." 
We should all think more like that.

My door is happy now and nice and ready for fall.

Special thanks to Jo-Anna for the tutorial!  Go give her blog a visit and some love.

I will be linking this project up at my usual hangouts!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I made bread...

I was trying to take pictures of it, but they just didn't turn out so well.  I'll try that again later.

I did manage to catch this little girl playing with her reflection in the mixing bowl.

It looked fun. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Quiet Book: Make a Face

I saved my favorite page for last.

Here is the cover.

Ooooh!  Doesn't that just invite fun?

Open it up and this is inside:

Three pockets and a blank face.

The face has magnets sewn in where the eyes, nose, mouth, hair and ears would be.

There is a big pocket on the top of the pocket page for hair and other items...
...and the three smaller pockets are for eyes, noses, and mouths.

Here is what can be found in the pockets.

Put them together and all sorts of fun ensues!

Here is a sampling:

As with all of the others, this one is made to stand alone or it can be hooked up with all the others.  

And, yes, there is a space for ears that is yet to be utilized.  I'll get on that.  =)

I've got many more ideas for quiet book pages and I'm really excited to start making some more.  Do you have any ideas you are working on or that you might like to see me attempt?

Page 1: Dot to Dot
Page 2: Fabric Chain
Page 3: Matching
Page 4: Marble Maze

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dehydrated Apples with Cinnamon

My sister, Erin, is a homemaking genius.  She has worked very hard to become so and I feel like she could teach me a great deal.  If she didn't live so far from me, I would go to her house daily and learn at her feet.

Her blog, The Blessed Life, is a nice place.  She has a lot to share and she makes me happy.  Check it out if you have time.  She just had a baby, so it may be a little slow there for a while, but there is still a lot of good to see!

My point is, she should probably be posting this since she is the one who introduced me to it.

Still, I'm very excited about it and I want to share my little accomplishment.

These apples were on their way out.
They weren't bad yet, but they were thinking about it.  

You know, hanging out with the wrong crowd...

So, here's what I did with them.

First, get a cold water bath ready for them and add to it a generous amount of lemon juice.

Now, peel them an core them.
Do you have one of these?  They're marvelous.  I love mine.  And, I feel super cool whenever I use it.  
That right there is a good reason to buy it, right?

Once they're peeled and cored, drop them in the cold water and let them soak a bit.
This will help keep them white instead of brown.

Next, I laid them out on my dehydrator tray and sprinkled them with cinnamon.

I put them in the dehydrator, turned it on, and enjoyed the smell for the rest of the day!

P.S.  I have an Excaliber case you were wondering.

Here's what they looked like at the end of the day.

I wish you could taste them...or at least smell them.
They're gone though.  My kids and husband (and maybe me a little) ate them all up!

I'm linking this up at these great parties!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hoo Are You #55


1.  What are your favorite 3 things about fall?
First, while I don't particularly enjoy being cold, I still like the cooler air, especially here where it is hot and humid all summer long.  And, I love the excuse to start pulling out the hot chocolate or apple cider.
Second, I love Fall colors.  Nature puts on a little show before she goes to sleep and I enjoy watching it.
Lastly, it is the start of the holidays, a party until the end of the year.  I love the decorating, the food, the gifting, the parties...all of it.

2.  Are you a football fan and if so who is your favorite team?
No, I'm not really a fan.  I barely understand football.  I did enjoy going to games in high school because it was exciting even if I didn't know why.  And, I had a really good friend who would patiently say to me either "That was good." or "That was bad" and then he would explain why again.

Also, after high school, my friends started a football pool where we would pick teams to win throughout the season and win prizes.  I actually did pretty good and I was just picking teams based on which of the two cities I would rather go to!  =)

3.  What is your favorite fall scent?
Mmmmm....apples, cinnamon, pumpkin, and that cool, crisp smell in the air.

4.  Do you have seasonal allergies?
I don't know if you could call my allergies seasonal.  Ever since we moved to West Virginia, my allergies have taken a turn I didn't know was possible, even causing some asthma.  They are almost always bad and, yes, right now they are particularly bad.

5.  Have you started Christmas shopping yet?
No, but I have started putting ideas together.  I don't really do a lot of shopping anyway.  I try to make most of my Christmas presents.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Creativity Manifests Itself...

One of my favorite things about creativity is that it works for anyone.  Once you open your imagination, ideas start to flow.  It's fun and exciting.

And, it makes me so happy that my children are creative and imaginative.  I hope that I can nurture that in them.  The other day, I was given a fantastic example of how creativity can flow differently and uniquely in each person.

Remember page 2 of my quiet book?  The fabric chain?

Do you remember how I said, "This one took some time for my girls to figure out.  They were more interested in making the strips bracelets or using the Velcro to attach the strops together to form necklaces or headbands or crowns"?

It's ok if you don't remember me saying that.  You can just trust me on this.'s something I never would have thought of.
She called me in from the kitchen to show me what she had done.

"I'm a princess, Mama!"

"See my beautiful princess hair?"

And, as the graceful and beautiful princess she is, she taught her sister the secret of her beauty.

May she always be creative.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Quiet Book: Marble Maze

Page 4 of the quiet book is another simple one.

I was running out of time, so I threw together the most simple ones I had.  =)

It's a maze.

I sewed a marble in between the fabric and into a maze.

I kept the mazes very simple since my daughters are only 3 and 1.
And also because that was easier.

This one was going to be more complex, but the first time I did it I didn't measure right.
The poor marble got stuck.  So, this maze was bigger and much simpler.

But, I think this page has a lot of potential for fun and I will definitely be trying again.

Page 1: Dot to Dot
Page 2: Fabric Chains
Page 3: Matching

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