November 28, 2009

Poncho Snuggie? Woobie Poncho? un-Snuggie?

We're trying to come up with a name for my newest creation: my version of the "Snuggie".

With the Holiday Weekend sale at JOANN and a 20% off coupon I got this fleece for only $2.00 a yard! Each "snuggie" only took me 20 minutes to make, with minimal sewing, and I suppose you could leave all the edges unfinished if you wanted to, since fleece is easy like that.

Granddaughter is exactly 1 yard tall from the shoulder to the floor and Grandson only 1 inch shorter so these were super easy. Also, they were 1 yard from wrist to wrist, so each snuggie is 2 yards long by 1 yard wide (minus 2 inches for Grandson).I have a nice piece leftover (2 yds x 21 inches) for a couple of scarves or some doll blankets, or a fleece beannie.

I cut a 5 inch wide hole for the neck, cutting an opening a few inches down the front. I folded under the edge and zig-zagged all around. I made a fastener with a doubled piece of ribbon and a piece of velcro.

Starting at the bottom, I sewed up the sides, leaving plenty of opening for a roomy armhole. I also folded under the edge of the armhole and zigzagged around it.

I left the hem unfinished ......VOILA!! 20 minutes and $4.00 for a yet-to-be-named cuddly garment that has been worn all day so far! First this morning, like a robe, over p.j.'s and then all the rest of the day over their clothes since it's a chilly, rainy day here FINALLY in So. Cal!

Name suggestions? Anyone? ........

November 17, 2009

Soup du Jour #6

You know how when you wash your car and then it rains and you know you made it rain because of the car washing? Well, I think all my cold-weather-wishful-thinking-soup-making is keeping the weather nice here. The days are still nice and sunny. Sunday was absolutely beautiful! But the nights are getting pretty chilly. I almost shut my bedroom window last night and I never shut my window unless I can actually see my breath inside my room! I love sleeping in a cold room with my flannel sheets and flannel comforter on the bed and.... (ahem)... you know... no PJ's?

shhhhh....just don't tell my family....I'm sure they don't want to know that about me. Are Grandmas/Mimis allowed to sleep in the...I mean, without PJ's? I'm probably supposed to be wearing a high-necked, long-sleeved nightgown or something like that, but hey! I have a lock on my door and really....have you ever slept between flannel sheets and a flannel comforter with no PJ's?! Try it and you'll never want to buy new PJ's again!

Well anyway...I was just going tell you that I made Posole for soup #6 on Sunday.
I am not a fan of traditional Posole, which is a Mexican pork and hominy stew. It always seems too greasy to me. I like bacon and ham but most other pork I can live without. Since I really LOVE hominy, I long ago came up with my own low-fat version using chicken and leaving out the usual chili powder.

Here's my recipe for Chicken Posole:

(note: this time I didn't use the raw chicken breasts. I used my new best-friend, Mr. Costco Chicken! because as I've mentioned before: Costco Chicken = delicious, and the easiest thing ever)
4 large chicken breasts, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1/2 tsp. cumin
2- 14oz cans hominy, drained
1- 4oz can chopped ortega chiles
1 Tbsp. oil
shredded cabbage
choppped cilantro
lime wedges

In a large pot or dutch oven, brown chicken and onions in oil. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add broth, oregano, and cumin. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Stir in hominy and chiles. Simmer 10 more minutes.

Ladle into bowls and serve with shredded cabbage,cilantro,lime wedges, and hot sauce.

This is delicious served with jack cheese quesadillas on the side.......ENJOY!!

November 14, 2009

guest blogger, beginning sewer

Today's post will be written by a guest blogger: Granddaughter #4, age 6 (with some help from Mimi, of course)

Hi, my name is Grace. I have been waiting a long time to be six because Mimi told me she would teach me to sew when I turned six years old. All my bigger cousins already learned and I really wanted to learn, too. Last week was my birthday and I got my ears pierced and I didn't even cry, but my eyes got real watery.

And I got to help decorate my own cat cake that Mimi made for me.

I reminded Mimi that I'm six now so when can I start sewing? Today just Mimi and I were home by ourselves so today was our sewing day. First I learned all the important parts of the sewing machine. I was really nervous because Mimi told us a story before about my Gram when she was 4 yrs. old. Little Carmelita didn't listen to her Mother and put her fingers in the sewing machine while it was sewing and it sewed through her fingernails. I really like to hear that story but then it made me nervous when I had to work the sewing machine by myself. But Mimi promised that if I just mind all the rules, I wouldn't hurt myself.

First I practiced really slow on some paper with lines on it. It was really fun! After the first line I didn't even want Mimi to help me anymore!

I did 2 pages and then Mimi said it was time to try it on fabric and I got a little nervous again. I was afraid I might make a mistake. I have a new baby cousin that's getting born next month. I am making a blanket for her. Cousins are kind of confusing, but I think I get it now. Even though the new baby will be my cousin, Mimi won't be her Grandma because the baby is from my Mom's family instead of my Dad's, so my Nana will be her Grandma instead of Mimi. I have lots of cousins and Grandmas and stuff but mostly I get the point.

Sewing the fabric was really easy! I told Mimi she could go in the other room and I would call her when I got to the corners. She said I was doing really great!

Then I had to iron it and that iron really scared me! Mimi told me the same thing, that if I just minded the rules I wouldn't hurt myself and she stayed right next to me just in case. I was very careful because I could tell it was really hot and it made some noise that I didn't like but I did really good with the iron, too!

Then I had to sew all around the edge of the blanket with pretty blue thread. I wanted to use some fancy stitches that look like little flowers. That took a really long time and actually it was kind of boring.

Mimi said next time we'll just use straight stitch since it's faster and it's more fun for me anyways. It sure did look nice when it was finished, though!

SEE!!! Look what I made! It's all finished!

I hope Baby Hayden will like her new cupcake blanket! I'm going to give it to her when I get to go see her after she's born.

I LOVE SEWING! I'm really a sewing girl now, just like my cousins and Mimi and Shan!!

I love that sewing machine so much I wanted to use it some more, so Mimi cut me some scraps and while she was making dinner she let me use it all by myself while she was in the other room. I only had to ask her 2 questions!

Look what I made by myself! Some scarves for my dolls!

You know why else I love that sewing machine so much? Look what it's called.....

GRACE!! Just like me!

Next time Mimi goes to the fabric store I'm going to go,too, so I can make blankets for all my dolls, because I'm a sewing girl now!

November 12, 2009

Katy No-Pocket apron

Do you know the children's book "Katy No-Pocket"? My mother often checked it out at the library to read to me when I was little.

It was written in 1944 and has the same illustrator as the Curious George books.
It's about a mother kangaroo who for some reason has no pocket and is desperate to find a way to carry her baby. By the end of the book she is wearing an apron covered in so many pockets that she is carrying around all the baby animals in the jungle!

My co-worker has a daughter who is turning 2 this week. This little girl is rather.....quirky? Oh, the stories I hear! She really is unusually one-of-a-kind already at age 2!

Well...among all her little quirks and oddities, she really, really loves pockets. If she isn't wearing pockets herself, she'll put something in your pocket.

For her Birthday, along with a copy of the book, I designed her a Katy No-Pocket Apron, just her size, with 6 pockets across the front.

I can't wait to hear what kinds of things she finds for her funny little self to put in all her very own pockets.....

November 11, 2009

Soup du Jour #5

Our weather still isn't really soup-worthy yet, but I had the day off and was determined to make a pot of something....
I've really been craving Chinese Food lately and my favorite is Broccoli Beef, SO... I invented:

to a pot of beef broth (about 5 cups) add 2 tsp. fresh grated ginger, 2 pressed garlic cloves, 1 or 2 sliced green onions, a handful of grated carrot, the seasoning packet from a pkg. of Beef Ramen and a 1/2 tsp. sesame oil. Simmer while preparing the beef and broccoli.

Cut a pound of thinly sliced beef into bite sized pieces. (I used meat intended for carne asada). Stir fry quickly in a little oil until browned and slightly carmelized. Add to simmering broth. Add a few Tablespoons of water to frying pan to loosen the browned bits from the pan and then add to soup. Add 1-2 cups broccoli flowerets and the pkg. of ramen noodles, broken up a little, to soup. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring to loosen noodles.

This really hit the spot! I'll definitely be making this again.

Exactly what I was aiming for.... Broccoli Beef AND soup all-in-one!

November 10, 2009

my "dull and boring" life.....

Every so often on a Monday morning, when I'm asked how my weekend went and I reply with the usual "sewing, cooking and Grandkids", I get the response: "That's all? Again?....Don't you ever want to have more of a social life and get out and do things with people? (translation: have a date?)

Are you kidding me? Where would I squeeze in time for anything (or anyone) else? As a longtime single Mimi to 5 busy Grandkids, 2 that live in the same house with me and 3 that are only 2 miles away, when would I find the time? I may once have suffered an empty nest a long time ago (my "baby" turns 29 this month!), but does this nest sound empty to you?......

#1 runs Cross-Country with the Freshman team at the High School

#2 has taken dance lessons for 7 years and is currently taking Contemporary and Hip-Hop at a nearby Dance Studio. Her hip-hop team just performed for the opening of the new Michael Jackson movie at our local movie theater.

#3 is playing soccer

#4 just started Gymnastics and is crazy about it! Her Mother has to drag her out of there when her session is over!

#5 is playing his first year of T-ball
With games and meets and performances and helping to drive to practices when some of these things overlap, I barely have time to sew aprons or make soup!
Some of these activities are finishing up this week but I'm sure new ones will be starting up any day now......
Empty Nest? HA!!.....(and I wouldn't have it any other way)