Monday, November 29, 2010

I Do-It-Myself.

Are you ready for another guest blogger?  I am!!
I can't even remember how I discovered Mandi from Tidbits from the Tremaynes.
Most likely from a blog that led to a know how that goes.
Once I read her lively posts and saw her adorable kids, I was hooked.
Mandi is funny, down-to-earth, a real sweet heart and funny (did I already mention that?).
I so wish that we were neighbors.  She's the type you could totally go ask for a cup of sugar and you'd go home with something else!  Maybe some scraps of trim!  heehee
Maybe one day we'll meet in real life.
So without further adieu...

Last year, we searched for our first house.

And while I knew I was full of all kinds of cuh-razy decorating ideas, I only had two main priorities for this new house of mine: location and an "open" feel.

Um, yeah. My house is a full-of-windows peepshow, man. Felt like I was getting snowed on the other day. That'll do for an "open" feel.

Anywho, this house: it's new-ish, from a real estate perspective. From a decorator's perspective? Hehehe. . .

Yee-ah. It was built at that age where there is now a lot of need for an update. Are you thinking lots and lots a brass? The original builder's white? Then we're on the same page.

So, for a gal with all kinds of crazy ideas floating in the noggin', a new house to torture, and a hubby that works all kinds of crazy hours. . .

Oh. Crap. The hubby works all kinds of crazy hours. And I couldn't even really use our drill. Dang. I's in a tight spot.

That was when cold, hard reality gave me a good B-slap to the face:

it's you. Or it's not getting done.

So I guess it'll have to be me, dang it.

(excuse the hair; that totally hist 'do is an "I've-got-a-project" 'do)

Now would be a good time to tell you that I love molding. It goes with everything. Including chips.

(On my favorite project list)

Now, I'm not telling you that I have no fear when it comes to a saw. They scare me so bad they might make me pee a little. Might.

I'm not telling you that I don't make mistakes.

(also on that favorite project list)

Ahem, my bed might be covering up a slight spacing discrepancy with that wainscoting. Might.

I'm not gonna tell you that I don't have a close relationship with spackle (the mistake hiding wonder),

Or that I haven't accidentally drilled my finger, sanded my hand, wasted an entire piece of molding with bad cuts, spilled paint on the carpet, pulled out crooked molding with a crow-bar, snapped the measuring tape back in so fast that it flipped back, broke a blood vessel, and I thought I broke a finger it hurt so bad. . .

All I'm sayin' is, besides that my house is a hot mess, is that practice makes perfect.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

How-to Make a Pie Crust

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. 
We did.  We went to a friend from church.  They had over 50 other church people over.
Lots of fun!

Yesterday I blew the leaves off off the patio.
I awoke to this...

For Thanksgiving I made 4 pies, 2 buttermilk, 1 pecan and 1 pumpkin.
My grandma taught me how to make pie crust.
I love making them and teaching others to make it too.
Here (with the help of my daughter) are step-by-step photos for you.

I use an old recipe book. (1960's I think was the last revision.)
There is duct tape holding it together, seriously.
 Here is the recipe for one 8-inch pie crust.  (Though the photos below show enough for three crust.)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening (butter flavored tastes the best)
4-5 tablespoons cold water **see water photo**

This is how I measure.
A teaspoon can fit nicely in the palm of my hand.
 Stir dry ingredients.
 Add shortening.
Cut the shortening in with pastry knife until crumbly.
For flakier crust have bigger crumbles. 
 Two knives will do if you don't have a pastry knife.
 **Water photo**  I find that I ALWAYS have to add more water then the recipes call for.
So, I just  add water from the tap until I get the consistency that I like.
I add the water a little bit at a time in a small "well" on the side.
Then, with a fork, I "work" the water into the dough.
I keep adding water and working it until I get a nice ball.
The drier your dough the flakier it will be.
However, too dry at it will crack and be hard to roll out.
To much water and it's a sticky, gooey mess.
You'll know.
 Don't be afraid to use your hands to work the dough, not knead it.
 I like to form the dough into a nice flat, round mound before rolling.
I always roll my rolling pin across the floured surface before rolling the dough.
This helps it not to stick.
You can also flip the dough on the flour on both sides. (Hope I made sense here.)
 I don't have a crust mat or whatever you call them.
So, what I do is roll the crust out until I think it's the right size.
I then place the pie plate on the crust to see if it's to small or too big.
 I then place the rolling pin at the top of the dough and gently roll the dough along the pin.
It usually looks like this before I transfer it onto the pie plate.
 Once that's done, I fit it into the plate.
 Now here's where you can get creative.
You can use a fork and press it right onto the dough for a flat edge look.  Trim the excess crust off.
Or you can pinch the edges.
This works great for a full pie and one that puffs up while baking.
Fold the excess dough under to make a wall all around the dish. 
You want it to be a bit taller then your dish.
Then you pinch the dough like so...(see below photo).
 Some turn out like this...
 ...while some turn out a bit prettier.
You can leave the crust out on the counter while you prepare the filling or place it in the frig until ready.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My first guest! It's all in the name.

Today's guest blogger is a very dear friend of mine in real life.  Though we are far away, we are still close.  I could write a long post on just Anne and me and the things we have been through together.  She is a funny lady (can you tell I am drawn to funny people?), she is super nice and down to earth.  Her heart is VERY big.  I hope you enjoy her as much as I.  You can follow her life as a home schooling mom, pastor's wife and domestic diva here

This is my first guest post ever!  I feel a bit strange.  I had so many great ideas bouncing in my head!  I thought I would get comfy, and pretend I was drinking a tall glass of Alamama tea, and talk.  Thank you my friend for inviting me, I only wish I was sitting in your rocking chair of your living room.

For those who don't know me, I am Anne.  That is Anne with an E.  I am very proud of my E.  I am also very adamant about my name, it is one syllable.  It is not Ann•ie.  With the surge of internet forums and email names, I needed a name to remember, it had to be easy and short.  I picked Anne of Alamo.  I am not from Texas.
When I started my email accounts and made my internet name, I lived in a little town in New Mexico, called Alamogordo.  This is the town where a small church called The Potter's House is located.  At this church, I accepted Jesus Christ into my life, married my husband, dedicated my 4 children to the Lord and met and have grown to love and be loved by so many wonderful people.  This little church is touching the world!  Taking the words of Jesus Christ to Go Ye into all the World and Preach the Gospel and How will they KNOW, unless someone sends them? (Anne paraphrase).  
This church sent my husband (along with my children and myself) to preach the Gospel.  We are now in Yuba City, California.  Leaving the church in Alamogordo was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  They were my family, and support. But we were not sent out and abandoned, we were sent with support both financial and spiritual.   This church prays for us on a daily basis.  That is how we are able to do what we are called by God to do!

We have been here in Yuba City for almost 3 years, seeing lives transformed (including my own) and pressing in for all that God has for us.  My family loves it here.  We have been blessed in so many ways.  My husband has a part time job that meets the needs, but is off by 8am to give him the time to still do what he is called to do here! Our homeschool adventure has been paid for by the Great State of California.  Our home is lovely and our neighborhood safe.  My parents live 90 miles away.   We have many Starbucks.  Fruit grows in abundance and is given to us in bags full.  We have green grass all year.  I love it here.

I have people jokingly call me Anne of Yuba, but my heart and allegiance is to my mother church in the town of Alamogordo. I tell them just as adamantly as I would about my E on the end of my name, it is Anne of Alamo, you see,  I don't ever want to forget MY ALAMO! 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Family Christmas Card Photos

It been only for the past few years...
 ...that I have been obsessed with getting...
 ...just the right photo for Christmas cards.
Every year, I drive my family crazy by...
 ...constantly telling them to stop here,  get together, smile, "snap".
 Some photos have turned out better than others.
 Some made us laugh.
 Others, no so much.
 We have taken them in AZ, CO, CA, NM, and MASS, in the mountains and ... the beach.
 And have even bared our feet.
So what am I doing today?  Dragging  the family back out for another photo shoot!

Friday, November 19, 2010


Some days I have to push my Plain Jane self aside.

Bought these gems at the thrift store.
Will paint them, just haven't decided what color.

Found this this morning.
The joy of boys!

LOVE this!
Free from Canvas People.
I only paid $15+ for the shipping.
Will order more!
Looks much better in real life.

My attempt at turning a sweater into a pillow.
The sweater was VERY stretchy.
This is after a wash.

This was Monday... 

...part of it anyway.
It all ended up getting done! 

Have a GREAT day!

***edited for Mandi (or anyone else who may want to know).   Mandi, here's the song list from my blog playlist:
Autumn in New York by Fitzgerald & Armstrong
Autumn Leaves-(4x) by Matt Monroe, Kady Malloy, Percy Faith & Eva Cassiady
'Tis Autumn by Stacey Kent
"Autumn" from Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi
The First of Autumn by Enya
Autumn by Tchaikovsky
Notice the theme?  Enjoy! 
Again, if you are one of my followers who listen to my playlist while you surf, I moved it here.**

Thursday, November 18, 2010

under construction

sorry about my blog...i am playing around.  nothing seems to look good for me today.

19 years ago

19 years ago this month I married my best friend.
 We had a couple of kids.

Had family visit and some even live with us for awhile. 
We have been many places together.

Taken many road trips together.

 Celebrated many holidays together.
Can't wait to see what the next 19 years have in store.

**Just a note...I have tallied the vote on the music.  It was CLOSE.  But the No's have it.  BUT if you want to hear music, I put it on my home school blog.  Thanks for your input.**