Friday, June 20, 2014

Making Pretzels

So I bought this book the other day at Half Price Books (for $7.98).

I loved all the pictures and some of the recipes looked delicious.

When I got home and looked at it a little closer, I realized that it was British. Some of the ingredients were things that I had never heard of - caster sugar, strong flour, treacle. A quick Google search told me that those were simply granulated sugar, bread flour and molasses. Okay, I can handle that.

The ingredient amounts gave me pause as well...350g? 5oz? What do those even mean? Is that like 2 cups? Then I remembered that I had this nifty measuring cup from France - thanks French family!

Problem solved.

This morning, I decided to try the pretzel recipe. Looks good, huh?

I took about 3 1/2 hours...but I was able to make 16 delicious pretzels (12 salted, 4 cinnamon and sugar) that have no unpronounceable ingredients. Pretty productive morning, if I do say so myself.

Here's the pretzels from the book:

Here's my pretzels:

Up close:
        Salted                                      Cinnamon and Sugar

My twisting technique could use a little work, but my taste buds can't tell the difference! And, bonus - my house smells like the mall...well, the tasty smelling part of the mall, anyways...

So, what new things have you been up to?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

One Reason to Not Get a Minivan

When my husband wants to go clamming on Father's Day, and wants to take Elijah and three brothers from our church with him, I conveniently get left behind because our SUV only seats 5...

Darn! :)

Happy Father's Day to my dad, step-dad, and father-in-law!

And an extra special Happy Father's Day to my husband, who isn't afraid to take our "I have no fear of water and I will not listen to anything you say" three year old to the beach, and who doesn't make me go dig in the sand for clams! Love you, thanks for being a great dad to Elijah!

Crochet Bow Ring Tutorial

Want to make a cute little crocheted bow ring? Of course you do! Here's how!

lace weight [2] or lightweight [3] yarn - I used Glamour and Cotton-ish
size F hook
ring form - I used these and took the prongs off with some wire cutters

1. ch 17, sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc across (16)
2. ch 1, turn, work 16 sc across
3. sl st back to the beginning chain along the short edge, ch 1, work 16 sc across the back side of the beginning chain.
4. ch, turn, work 16 sc across
5. Fold in half and sl st the two short sides together, fasten off leaving a long tail
6. Turn inside out so the seam is on the inside, and wrap the yarn tail around the center.
7. Secure by threading the tail through the bow with a needle. Do not cut the tail!
8. Lay the bow down on the ring form, and using what is left of the tail, continue wrapping the around the center of the bow and the ring form. Secure by threading the tail through the bow with a needle and knotting. Cut the thread.
8. Enjoy!

Easy Beaded Crochet Necklace Tutorial

I made this necklace last week while trying out a new crochet skill - beaded crochet. If you can make a chain stitch and count to 30, you can make this necklace! It's easy, but takes a little bit of patience. This necklace is lightweight and perfect for warm summer weather - you'll forget you're even wearing it!
  • Size 10 cotton crochet thread (I used Aunt Lydia's in Antique White)
  • 2.1 mm crochet hook
  • Beads - I used these in a sea glass color mix, but you can use whatever you have on hand.
  • A needle that fits through the hole in your beads
  • Small piece of sewing thread
  • 1/2" Ribbon clasps
  • E6000 glue
  • pliers

1. First, thread your needle with the sewing thread. Tie the thread into a loop.
2. Then thread the thread loop with your crochet thread.
3. Thread 30 beads onto the crochet thread.
4. With the hook, ch 10 on the crochet thread.
5. Push one bead down to the hook, and make a chain stitch around it.
6. Chain 4
7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you have secured all the beads. After the 30th bead, ch10 and fasten off.
8. Pull thread tight to knot.
9. Repeat steps 1-7 three more times (or as many times as you want). You should have (at least) 4  beaded chains with 30 beads each.
10. Trim the edges of your chains, add a little glue to the inside of the ribbon clasp, put the 4 chain ends inside the clasp and clamp down with the pliers.
11. Repeat on the other side of the beaded chains.
12. Let dry and enjoy your new necklace!

Imagine all the fun things you can make with this technique - bracelets, ankles, headbands (add a little elastic...or even use elastic thread). You can change up the materials to make a piece of jewelry that is uniquely you. Perfect for gifts this summer!

Friday, June 13, 2014


It's officially summer around here...not that the weather would clue you in though. Cloudy, rainy, windy and chilly...and actually one of my favorite kind of days. I was born and bred in Western Washington, that's for sure!

Monday was my last day off class. The students took their final and I got most of my grades calculated.

Tuesday was the release of the new Outlander book, Written in My Own Heart's Blood. Any guesses as to what I did on Wednesday?

Wednesday, I finished the Outlander book. 800+ pages, and now I have to wait another 3 years or so for the next book. At least this one didn't end on as much of a cliff hanger as the last one did. Thanks for that, Mrs. Gabaldon. :)

Thursday was errand day. We have a lot of events that need gifts in the next week and a half - birthdays, graduations, Father's Day, and a baby shower - so I spent the afternoon picking out gifts while Elijah was at school.

Today, Friday, is the beginning of potty training. I'm already exhausted. No worries, there will be no posts about potty training. I'm so not that kind of mom :) However, in between outfit changes, I've been busy with my crochet hook.

I've been working on a new skill, beaded crochet, and I am enjoying it so far. Check back next week to see a tutorial for the new (super easy!) necklace I just made.

I've also been crocheting up a bunch of little bow rings. They're cute, and a tutorial is also in the works for next week. I'm currently wearing the teal one as I type. It matches the new necklace that I'm wearing :)

So far, I have been thoroughly enjoying my summer...and it's only just begun!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

As I was celebrating...

Today, as I was celebrating the end of my last real teaching day this year, a man opened fire on students at Seattle Pacific University. Today, as I was celebrating only having one final to give before summer break, a young man died of his wounds. Today, as I was celebrating having three months off from dealing with students, an extremely brave student risked his life to subdue the shooter. Today, as I was celebrating by leaving the office early, my sister sat hunkered in her office at SPU waiting for the active shooter lockdown to be lifted.

Puts life into pretty harsh perspective, doesn't it?

Tonight, I am hugging my loved ones a little closer. Tonight, I'm thankful that I will get to see all of my students and colleagues on Monday for one last time before summer. Tonight, my heart is breaking with the realization that it could have been my city, my school. And tonight, my prayers go out to my sister, the friends and family of the young man who was killed, those who were injured, those who were present, and all of the students, faculty and staff at Seattle Pacific University.
May God grant you His peace that surpasses all understanding.
May His love fall around you like rain.
May He bring comfort and healing to your souls.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

May: Monthly Update

Is it just me, or did May feel like a really long month? Maybe it's just because I'm so looking forward to summer and having a couple of months off. Even though the month felt really long, it's hard to believe it's already June. Seriously, how did that happen?

May was pretty busy around here...and by around here I mean my house, not the blog. Haven't been doing much on the blog lately...don't worry, I'll be back this summer when naptime returns to my life!

  • We celebrated my birthday, Mother's Day, and Memorial Day.
  • We found out one of my cousin's is pregnant - yay!
  • We found out one of my other cousins' second baby is a boy - yay, again!
  • We've been doing some serious decluttering around the house.
  • And of course, with the late spring/early summer weather rolling in, we've been spending time checking out new parks and going out for ice cream.
Here's a recap of what I did this month:

  • I started a baby blanket for cousin #1's baby.
  • I edged a fleece baby blanket for cousin #2.
  • I crocheted a shawl...for no real reason...I used this pattern again, but just kept increasing until it was the size I wanted.
  • I sewed a simple flannel blanket for cousin #2's baby.
  • I also made a pastry cloth using this tutorial (but made it much smaller to fit my counter). 
  • I made some BFF coordinates bracelets for me and my best friend Sarah, who will be moving to Nashville in a couple of weeks. My bracelet has the coordinates for Nashville, and hers has the coordinates to the city I live in. Hers is already on its way to California in her birthday card.
  • I have discovered no knead bread (here, here and here), and am in love! I've made 4 loaves so far. Delicious! (Also the reason for the pastry cloth.)
What's on the agenda for next month?
  • 5 more class days until summer!
  • More bread baking
  • Perhaps trying to make my own yogurt
  • Checking out new parks and beaches
  • Working on the baby blanket and a couple other ideas I've got rolling around.
  • Naps...oh, how I miss naps! :)