Friday, April 30, 2010

The Perfect Bedtime Snack

Orange Julius and Stovetop Popped Popcorn.

Can you handle two more recipes this week?

Orange Julius:
6 oz frozen orange juice concentrate (1/2 can)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Blend in a blender for a few minutes until it's nice and airy. Add ice cubes until desired consistency. (approximately 20-25 cubes) Pour into cups.

Warning: Brain freeze will occur if you attempt to guzzle this drink. :)

Stovetop Popped Popcorn:
Place a few tablespoons of oil in the bottom of a large pot. Add enough popcorn kernels to cover the bottom of the pot. Shake pot to coat kernels with oil. Place cover on pot, leaving it slightly ajar to allow steam to escape. Cook over medium heat until kernels are done popping. Do not shake pot or lift cover. Pour into large bowl. Salt and season as desired.

My kids love to dip their popcorn in their Orange Julius. Blech. I wouldn't recommend it, but they love it!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Returning to the 21st Centry

The able mabel household has now re-entered the 21st Century. Our microwave is finally working again. I can now resume my normal evening routine. It goes something like this:
  1. Look at the clock and gasp at how late in the day it is. Where has the time gone anyway?!?
  2. Open the pantry, nimbly dodging falling cereal boxes and bags of stale chips, to see if any supper ingredients jump out at you.
  3. Head out to the garage in search of frozen meat in the freezer. Make sure not to fall into the freezer while searching way to the bottom.
  4. Return, shivering, to the house and open the fridge.
  5. Wrinkle nose at previous weeks leftovers turning into science experiments. Throw up hands in exasperation at milk cups spilled in shelves.
  6. Paw thru the veggie drawer to determine if any veggies are still relatively firm.
  7. Return to pantry, snagging cereal box out of two year old's hands as she madly stuffs cereal into her mouth as fast as she can. Rearrange canned goods to see if anything new rears it's head.
  8. Check thru the inside freezer, pushing aside all misc loaves of bread and buns (really, am I ever going to use them for bread crumbs? Nice thought.).
  9. Sigh loudly.
  10. Close freezer, making sure the baby is out of the way. Frozen baby is not a good thing.
  11. Sigh again.
  12. Debate if we should have eggs, again.
  13. Hands on hips, roll eyes at 4 yr old who suggests for the 10th time that we should just have pizza.
  14. Close eyes and wait for the "aha" light bulb to come on.
  15. When the light bulb comes on, with a spring in the step, gather all ingredients to make a delicious and nutritious supper. (This is where the microwave was sorely missed. Thawing meat, melting butter, etc.)
  16. When the school kids walk in the door and ask what's for dinner, shoot them a warning glare before answering "good food". (If the dinner being prepared has a name, one of them is sure to be grossed out by it.)
  17. Resume making dinner while crossing fingers the 2 yr old and 4 yr old will eat at least two bites and that you'll have patience to deal with their whining without dumping their dinner plates over their heads.
  18. Hand out dinner plates.
  19. Become a broken record reminding kids to eat with their mouths shut while trying to enjoy own dinner.
  20. Clean up a few milk spills.
  21. After all morsels are consumed, return to kitchen, being careful not to step on any wet food on the floor, to a waiting stack of dirty dishes.
  22. Sigh loudly.
  23. Roll up sleeves and channel the Inner Slave Driver to get the kids going on getting the dishes done sometime before midnight.
  24. Put feet up on the couch, read a book and relax while the "elves" scurry about spit-shinning the house into tip top shape. (Okay, okay. I made this line up. Dreams are free though, right?)

Sneak Peek at a work in progress

When plans to get together with a friend and sew the day away fell thru, I snagged the opportunity to consider this afternoon a "bonus day". Meaning a little research and development going on. I already had my floor washed, bathrooms cleaned, workout done, clean laundry tucked out of sight and mind in the laundry room. What else was there to do besides sew? ;)

A few months back I had purchased this double sided fabric from
It wasn't exactly what I was expecting. It has a layer of batting-like fabric in the middle and is already quilted. I've been looking for ideas of what to do with it. It's too think for clothing.

Today I decided to try make a diaper changing pad out of it. I wasn't sure if it was going to be too thick or not. Add two pockets, a way to tie it shut and some binding for the edges. Easy peasy, right?

Yep, except some parts of the binding didn't pass QC. The biggest beef I have with it is that I started and ended the binding right in the middle of the outside, right where it's super noticeable. Not cool. What was I thinking?

I love the look of the rounded top edge. I'm still debating on exactly which type of closure to put. This particular one has the elastic with the decorative button (still to be added), similar to our other pouches.

I'm not sure I like the look with the binding. The verdict is still out on that one. When I do this again using other "normal" fabric, I think I'll experiment with the magnetic clasp idea, or possibly a snap.

A shot of the inside. I like the idea of adding pockets to store diapers and wipes. All you need all in one place.

This particular one is headed for the pile labeled "a date with the seam ripper", then I'll redo the binding. On the next nice day, you'll find me on the back deck with this stack, ripping seams to my heart's content. Sounds like a grand time, doesn't it? Anyone care to join me? :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Our Favorite Muffins

I used most of today to catch up on laundry and to do some baking. Lemon Bars for a bridal shower tonight. Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins for all the kiddies to munch on. I've promised myself a full day of sewing tomorrow! Sweetness!!

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins are a favorite around here. Especially when paired with a cup of coffee. (the kids may beg to differ on that statement) This batch had character, each had their own individual, unique "innie belly button"! (Disclaimer: Food Stager, I am not and never will be. While I'll never be able to take food pictures where the food looks as good as it tastes, trust me, these muffins are delicious!)

The only muffin pans I have are stoneware so my muffins always have a yummy crust around the entire muffin. No more soggy muffin bottoms! (blech)

Here is the recipe:
1/2 cup butter, softenend
2 cups sugar, divided
2 eggs
1 cup lemon yogurt
2 tsp lemon extract
2 cups flour
3 tsp poppy seeds
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cream together butter and 1 cup of sugar. Beat in eggs, then stir in yogurt and extract.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, remaining sugar, poppy seeds, soda and salt. Add to butter mixtured until moistened.

Grease muffin tins. Pour batter into tins. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Makes 12-18 muffins. (depends on the size of your tins.)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Celebrating Life's Little Accomplishments

You see, I have this slight "problem" although it's a good problem to have. I have a husband who can do just about anything, who's very efficient, knowledgeable and the like. I don't have to do anything mechanical or fix anything because I know he'll know how to do it and will do it right. The words "Hey Hon, can you come help me fix this?" slide off my tongue all too quickly and easily. He'll come to my aid without complaint. Therein lies my "problem". I'm basically a "duh" when it comes to doing that sort of thing.

This past weekend we went camping to Moab with our kids and a few other families. (To see pictures, click here)

When planning the weekend, we tossed around our different options of which day to leave on and how to go about getting there. Since Hubby works an hour west of where we live and Moab is 3 hours west of us, it was decided that he would hook up the camper on Wednesday night, I would pick the kids up from school on Thursday afternoon and then we'd make our way west to pick him up from work.

I gulped, nodded and decided I'd be a "big girl" about driving with the camper attached to the 'Burb. I never "have" to do it so I wasn't super comfy with the idea although I knew it wasn't much different than driving without it.

We made it down to his work all in one piece. I breathed a sigh of relief as I handed the keys off to him and happily hopped into the passenger seat. It wasn't so bad after all.

On the way home, we did the same thing. When we got to his work, he hopped into his car and drove it home while I followed, driving like a granny, with the 'Burb and camper.

He, obviously, reached home ahead of us and as I pulled into our development, I was determined to try back it into our driveway all by myself. Backing up a trailer has never been on my list of items to accomplish (why should I do it when it takes him 3.5 seconds to get it in perfectly?), but I swallowed the urge to ask for help and just go for it myself.

Never mind that the whole neighborhood was watching.
Never mind that I had to correct and recorrect my angles 17 times.
Never mind that I knew which way I had to turn the wheel, it's just that the trailer wasn't cooperating.
Never mind that the area I had in which to back up in was quite large.
Never mind I had a full Peanut Gallery behind me saying things like:
"The trailer is going the wrong way."
"Can't you just go get Dad to do it?"
"It's still going the wrong way."
"Do you even know what you're doing?"
"Ack! You're going to run over that green thing!" (the electrical box, which was about 3 feet away)
"Hey, Mom! You're getting closer!!"
"Look Mom! It's actually on the driveway and not in the rocks!"
"Yay!!! You did it Mom!"
Never mind that it took me 10 minutes.
Never mind that it wasn't exactly straight.
Never mind that it wasn't all the way back to the garage door.
I did it and that's all that matters!!

After much finagling, I even managed to get it unhooked from the trailer hitch this morning.

I'm not sure where this accomplishment will get me in life, but I do know that I can't ever say now that I don't know how to do it. It's just a matter of how "pretty" the whole process will be. :)

No worries, Hubby. Even thought I managed this task, I'm not getting rid of you anytime soon. You're still way too valuable to my well being! :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Finds

Quite a few months back, my aunt was asking me about our Etsy shop. She has been a sewer for years and years, creating some wonderful and darling products. She wanted to open an Etsy shop but didn't want to do the "dirty work". She has now talked her daughter into joining her and they have opened up MOMnI.

In their shop you'll find: Handbags
adorable patchwork blankets

I can't resist popping into their shop everyday to see what new products they've listed!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Becoming domesticated one bun at a time

Before I launch into my saga, let me give a little background information.

My husband and I got to know each other when we both worked for a bakery that was owned by some of his family members. I worked in the store and he did various jobs in production. When we got married, he wasn't quite done with college and I worked full time so he ended up doing most of the cooking by default. Never mind the fact that he is a much better cook and baker than I'll ever be. This is the guy who can sniff a jar of spice and if it smells like whatever he's making, he'll add it. That is a talent I don't have.

As the years have gone by, I've taken over most of the cooking and baking. I manage but adore when he comes into the kitchen to take over. He's so humble, he hates to admit how good he really is. If we have guests over, he'll try to make me take the credit for his good food. No way Jose. The glory is all his! He hates it when I brag about how good his is.

My baking consists of mostly cakes, bars and cookies. I have rarely, except for an occasional batch of caramel rolls, ventured into the world of yeast breads. Hubby would love it if I would. I did give some breadsticks a shot one time and you should have heard him laying on the compliments as thick as shag carpet. I finally had to tell him to clamp it, as he was endangering his chances of ever getting them again. Slightly overboard.

Last night I decided to give Overnight Wheat Buns a try. As I was making them, I completely forgot that I had my very own In House Baker puttering around in the garage, available to help should I need him.

I got to the part of the recipe where it said "add flour to make a soft dough." Oh great. "Soft" as in what? A one month postpartum belly? A wad of Silly Putty? A feather bed? I guessed at exactly how much flour, got it all mixed up and put the bowl of dough to raise in the stove.

About a half hour into the raising process, Hubby walks in and says, "Ah Dearie? The top of the dough is all dried out, you're going to have little hard chunks in your buns." (That doesn't sound very good, does it?)

Seeing my blank look, he explained, "You need to grease and then cover the dough with a cloth towel when it's raising."

Oh. Well. The recipe didn't have that part in it. (Rescue attempt #1)

As I punched down the dough for the first time, it was definitely one month postpartum belly soft in both touch and looks. Hopefully I was on the right track.

Soon it was time to form the buns. The recipe said, "Form into buns, place on greased cookie sheet and leave to raise overnight."

Looking around, I only had three cookie sheets and this recipe made about 6 dozen buns. So, I greased my counter, formed all the buns and started to cover them with a towel (see, I did learn something new). I was mentally patting myself on the back when Hubby walked in again and plopped himself down on a stool.

"Ummmm", Sir Baker says, "how are you going to get the buns onto pans without them collapsing?" He was, once again, rewarded with a blank stare. "After they're proofed (or raised), if you touch them, they'll collapse", he gently explained. (Rescue attempt #2)

Getting up he washed his hands and offered his assistance. Thank you!! If only I had thought to ask him a few hours ago. I pulled out every available baking surface and greased them. He looked in the cupboard, saw the muffin pans still in there and suggested we make some twin buns. Done deal! (Rescue attempt #3)

We spent the next 15 minutes re-rolling the dough into nicely formed buns. He was a pro. When I remarked upon it, he said "What do you think we did with all the leftover bits of dough at the bakery? We formed them by hand." I shrugged and told him I was too concerned with getting the buns bagged and sold that I didn't think about how they got made. He smirked and said, "Yeah right. You were more concerned about me." Good point. Very true. :)

By 9:30 last night, my counter was filled with miles and miles of little brown piles all happily tucked in for the night. (Thankfully none were steaming.)

I've been baking them off this morning. While the flavor is wonderful, they're a little bit flat and small. I'm sure it's because each was formed twice last night.

It really was an easy recipe and the only time consuming part was forming the buns. However, next time I make them (did you catch that? I'm actually going to try again!) I'll be sure not to handle them so much.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'm still alive and kicking!

I woke on Monday morning and declared this week "Organization Week". That means, no able mabeling for me. Bummer, but I really need to get a handle on this household, although I realize it will be short lived. :)

The winter duds need to be washed and put away (except for one set of mittens and a hat for each kid. Those will get put in a tote and placed in the camper. When you camp at 10,000 feet, it tends to be chilly in the mornings and evenings.).

Spring/summer wardrobes to go thru and place in closets.

The camper needs cleaning out and made ready for camping season.

The basement is a royal disaster.

The list goes on and on...

I have collapsed, exhausted, into bed each night with the house just as messy as it was last week. Nothing like very little visual progress but yet I know that I've been plugging away slowly but surely each day.

I still have a stack of fabric in the corner of my living room (don't ask) that I keep staring at, not sure what to do with. Obviously I'll make things out of it :) but how to organize it in the meantime? Right now I don't have a permanent craft room so all my crud is stored in my bedroom. Do I buy more totes for the fabric? Do I use temporary open shelves and stack it all on there? Help! What do I do?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Something is still missing...

I'm keeping my finger crossed that the able mabel house is finally on the mend. I allowed myself a sick day yesterday. I had grand plans of sewing all day but ended up roosting on my rump most of the day. If I tried to do anything, my stomach rocked. Working on able mabel stuff while not feeling well was something I'd rather not do. The whole household was horizontal between the sheets by 9:30pm last night. We all woke up feeling refreshed!! Please let that bug be behind us!!

Today was not a productive day (able mabel wise) either. I ended up hanging out waiting for the repairman to come fix our microwave. He came all right but left leaving the microwave with more issues than it had before he started "fixing"it. He did admit that he didn't know what's wrong so he'll talk to his boss and let me know. Great. I never realized how much I rely on my microwave until now when it's not working. We're surviving though. :)

Cleaning and doing laundry allows my mind to wander. I started thinking about my pictures again. I was looking back at the bibs and lovies and am feeling like something is still missing from them. Darling baby aside, there is still something that...I don't know...bugs me. Maybe it's the background or the angle...
Ditto on the blankets and lovies. These pictures feel a little "flat" and "lifeless". It feels like I'm missing the element of "fun". I've been searching the Internet for ideas and have a few possibilities bouncing around in my head.
I want people to look at the picture and "need" them, not just "want" them. With all the baby items out there, I want able mabel products to stand out.
I think I just need to take out the camera and start experimenting. Practice, practice, practice. I know I can get better pictures, it's just a matter of figuring out what works best.
If anyone has any ideas or tips for me, shoot them at me (no pun intended).

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What's a Mom to do when

ever since Saturday night a barf bucket and bottle of re-hydrating fluids have become necessary to always have handy? When the washer hums constantly with bedding that no "normal" laundry is being done?When she has to lock herself in the bathroom to clean it while a blubbering baby bangs at the door?
When her couch is taken over by slumbering lugs?
When the appliance repair guy, who is suppose to come fix the clunked out microwave, calls looking for directions to her house but can't find it because he's in MN and she's in CO?

When she feels her Inner Screech Owl rearing it's ugly head?
What's a Mom to do?

She vents to her husband at work via text messages (who kindly offers to come home to help), tucks her cherubs in bed, inhales deeply in the clean and sanitary bathroom, puts one last load of bedding going, reschedules a local repairman to come fix the microwave,
grabs her book,

picks her way thru the maze of toys and heads for the exercise bike. She's pops off 13 miles in 40 minutes (a tad bit slower than normal but cut her some slack, will you?) while occasionally looking up from her reading to admire the mountains and enjoy the cool air coming in thru the slightly opened window. Her Inner Screech Owl tucked safely away, she enjoys a bowl of fresh strawberries and vanilla yogurt.

That's what she does. Ahhh!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Weekend Wrap Up

Saturday morning Hubby took off for a well deserved day of fly fishing with one of his buddies. (This picture was taken last year on one of our camping trips.) He definitely needed a day off.

The kids and I puttered around the house. One of the projects I worked on was "modifying" a stack of holey jeans and pants. I've had a huge pile of them sitting in my closet waiting for me to do something with them. I just wasn't sure exactly what I should do. I knew I could always cut off the bottoms of the jeans and have them be shorts and capris, but I don't always like the messy cut off look. There is always the fabric ruffle which is perfect for my little girls, but seems too "little kiddish" for my bigger girls.
I was visiting with my "sewing partner in crime" on Friday and asking her if she had any ideas for me. She suggested adding a piece of bias tape instead of hemming them.Voila! I love the look. Clean look, simple to do. Perfect. This one was the experimental pair. I had bought several different colors of what I thought was single fold bias tape from Walmart, but when I opened the packages they were something else. Go figure. The only "right color" I had was denim so that is what this pair got. I'll share more pictures as I get the pants done.

Saturday evening I hauled the troops over to a friend's house to meet up with our husbands. We made possible plans to spend the day on Sunday outside since it was suppose to be gorgeous out! As we were visiting our two year old started throwing up. Gulp. Looks like our plans for Sunday just got changed. As I cleaned her up, Hubby hustled the rest of the kids out to the 'Burb and we headed for home. She had not shown any indication of being sick so it was a bit of a surprise when she started hurling. Talk about feeling guilty to expose our friends' kids to a sick bug!!

Sunday morning I found our baby had also thrown up. So much for any hike we were hoping to go on. Such is life with kids.
The boys entertained Baby Doll thru the open window.
(Excuse the grainy picture. I had to crop it way down but couldn't resist using it since I love the 4 yr old's face! Too bad I didn't capture Dolly's giggle.)

During nap time, I nestled myself into my camping chair to enjoy the sunshine. With camping season right around the corner, I have to get my body "camping chair ready". :) Might as well start now.

These two played hoops for a good long time. I did join in for a few games of PIG and Around the World. I tried a little two on one but could only play for a bit before my stomach couldn't take it anymore. It was fun to shoot a basketball again. It had been a while.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A challenge done.

One of the blogs that I read daily is think fast by Kim.

Earlier this week she issued a challenge for all of us readers to create a card using on of Paper Crafts sketches.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not really much of a card maker. (JB has done all of the cards in our shop) It's always been a hard size for me to work with.
However, this darling organizer filled with goodies was mighty tempting...It's quite the dangling carrot, isn't it? Delicious!

I decided to get out of my comfort zone and make a card.I choose this sketch...and made this card. A few variations from the original sketch but so be it.
I used black cardstock with a subtle pattern. The blue with hints of pink is paper by My Mind's Eye. The pink is a strip of ribbon. The sentiment, flourish, flower and bird are all rub-ons.
I can see many flaws that I'm itching to fix but I'm not touching it anymore. Kim never said it had to be perfect to be entered into the drawing. :)
Now back to my comfort zone I go!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

We celebrate another birthday in able mabel land

This time it's the leader of the pack.
The man of the house.

The one we all wait for to walk in the door at the end of the day.
The one works hard, with little complaint or rest, to provide for us.
The one who makes us all laugh.
The one who is silly, goofy and downright funny.
The one who fixes things.
The one who builds things.
The one who takes us outside to explore nature.
The one who carries the weight of the family on his back.
The one who keeps us all going.
The one who has patience to deal with "kid stuff" when I don't.
The one who carries a strong sense of responsibility.
The one who doesn't get enough thanks for all he does.

The one we all love to pieces!

The one who isn't scared to roll up his sleeves and "play" in the flour.
The one who is a much better cook than I.
The one who is the most handsome man on this earth.
The one who loves me for who I am.
The one who is my best friend.
The one who is huggable.
The one I love with all my heart!
The one I'd be lost without.

I love you Hon and wish you a very happy birthday!! Thanks for being you!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A few more pics

Lately, I've been sewing in the morning as opposed to the afternoon. I'm not sure what made me make the switch but so far it's been working.

This morning as I was sewing away, my two year old walked up and did this number... "It tickles my ear", she said. She did it several more times throughout the morning. Whatever floats her boat. :)

I whipped out a few more bibs and then re-did the photo shoot from yesterday.

One of the new ones. This one required piecing the fabric so I covered the seams with ric rac. Love the texture it gives. Also love how she's playing with her toes. So yummy!

You'd never guess by looking at this picture that she had just finished throwing a massive fit and kept trying to pull the bibs off. A bonus of using snaps instead of velcro!

Put her in blue and she looks like a little boy. Hmmph.Put her back in pink and she's all girl. If only we could get that hair to grow in. :) Hair or no hair, I'll still keep her!
Now I have a date with my dvd player and yoga dvd ("the hard yoga one" as my kids call it), then it's off to finish up a blanket for a customer (this will be her fourth birdie blanket she has purchased. I love repeat customers!). I'd still love to work in a bit more sewing but chances of that happening are slim to none. I'll take what I can get and be thankful for it...

Monday, April 5, 2010


baby bibs!
Starring.... The One and Only Baby Doll!! Taaadaaa! ("This job is so much fun! It feels so good right here that Mom included me!")
I decided to start making bibs as a way to use up the small pieces of leftover minky.

I tinkered around with the shape...("Hear me roar! Oh wait, there isn't a lion on this bib. Oh well, I'll practice anyway.") and the size...("Check out these chompers! Mom can't wait until I get them all in. She acts like I'm crabby or something when I'm teething")

before settling on this particular one. ("You gotta admit, I'm pretty darn cute. Mom started singing me a song that goes "She's a cutie, cutie, cutie" and I rewarded her with this 1,000 watt grin. I love that song! Afterall, it's very true...Cutie Pie am I!")
JB gave me the awesome idea of making them adjustable so babies can get more mileage out of them.
I'm excited to get them listed! Now if only I could get some decent shots to use for the listing...I was so worried about getting Baby to cooperate that I forgot to make sure my other details were in order, such as the backdrop. I listed some anyway but I think I'll try to retake them all in the morning.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Joys of Blogger

Each time I tried to blog on Thursday and Friday, I got an error message. Apparently someone, somewhere didn't want me to update! ;)

It was a good week anyway. I spent one full day sewing and got quite a bit done.

My model took a bit of coaxing to cooperate though..."I'm just gonna sit down for a widdle bit, Mom."
"Please Dolly, just stand up for a bit longer.""But my fingernail is busted."
No bribes would work so I went with what she would give me.

My 5 year old was more than willing but she is too old. I promised her that when I got some aprons and purses done, she could have her chance to model. The first words out of her mouth on Friday morning were, "Did you get any aprons and purses done?" Slave driver!! :)

Today we're doing the Easter thing. Eggs are dyed and the kids have moved onto the next best thing, leaving Mom to clean up the mess. Such is life. I actually don't mind this time since I'd rather not have dye all over the house...

I wish you all a Blessed and Happy Easter!
May you resist the urge to plaster your face and hair with gooey, sticky peeps. (or in this case...Rice Krispie Treats. Whatever keeps her quiet and in one place for two minutes! :) )