Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Marshmallow Shooters

Another Easter project!  I found this idea on "Make It Do" .  It's called a Marshmallow Shooter and it is SO much fun.  I made these last night and the girls and I "tried them out".  You would not believe how far you can shoot a marshmallow with this little gadget!   
Notice I forgot the T connector in this picture!
To make one shooter you will need the following: 
1/2" PVC pipe.  A total of 14" of it cut in:
(Two 2" pieces, Two 3" pieces and One 4" piece)
2 elbows
1 straight connector
1 T-connector
1 cap
One note: PVC connectors come 2 ways.  Some are threaded and some are not.  You want the plain jane and very cheap non-threaded ones. Also be sure and purchase all 1/2" product.  I had to really pay attention when I was buying my stuff.  It wasn't all that organized at the store.
I ended up purchasing a pvc pipe cutter.  It cost me about $12 at Home Depot but seemed worth the cost because I was making a bunch of these.   The project went VERY fast using these cutters!
 The parts all laid out!  It is so easy to put together!  Just push one end into another. 
The finished product!  You put the marshmallow into the mouth end (left) and blow it out.  Believe it or not, the marshmallow not only blew all the way through but it hit the wall on the other side of the room the first time I tried it!
Of course I couldn't make just 1!  I made a total of 16 of these puppies and it only took a couple of hours including all the cutting!  Total cost: $26 not counting the tool.  That's less than $2 apiece. 
Becky woke up with a marshmallow stuck to she and her sheets.  She left this note for Katy.  LOL!

I'm picturing all of my nieces and nephews having a great time with these and Zoe (the dog) enjoying chasing marshmallows. :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

How to Make a Superhero Cape

I first found this idea at oohdeedoh. I am making them for our family Easter celebration.  The way I do our Easter egg hunt is to assign each child an egg color.  That way we can hide the eggs hard or easy depending on the age of the child.  This year I am making each of them a Superhero cape to match their egg color.     
You will need one t-shirt for each child.

First cut the sleeves off at an angle as shown. 
Then cut open the sides of the t-shirt on each side.
Lay open the shirt.
Cut away the front of the shirt about 1/4" away from the edge.
Now you have a basic cape shape.
I used Wonder Under (Iron on adhesive) to attach my decorative shapes.  I used a dessert plate to draw the circle you see and then ironed it on.  Cut around the circle and peel off the backing. 
Iron the circle on to the cape.
I made 5 of these capes so I juggled the t-shirt fabric left over from the front of the shirt to make the designs.
I made my neices "Princess Superheros"!
The boys got a lightning bolt and their initial. 
I took one of the leftover sleeves and made a "mask" for each child. 

I found all of my design shapes on the computer and printed them on cardstock.  Cut them out and then traced them onto the Wonder Under.  Remember if you use letters on yours to turn them over and trace them backwards.  Then when you iron them on you will be right.

I'm looking forward to seeing my Superhero nieces and nephews hunting for Easter eggs in their color coordinated capes!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Spaghetti Sauce a la Marlene!

About 5 years ago I was watching a local morning tv show and "Chef Dad" was sharing how to make his spaghetti sauce.  I decided to try it and with a few changes we love it!  Here is my version.....

The ingredients are basic and it is very easy to put together!
First I measure my seasonings into a pyrex dish.  1 Tbsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. basil flakes, 1 tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. sugar, 1 tsp. crushed red pepper (or to taste.)
In a dutch oven measure about 2 Tbsp. olive oil and add chopped onion to taste.  In this batch I used 1 and 1/2 onions because they were very large.  Saute onion until tender.

This is where it gets a little wierd!  Not everyone in my family likes mushrooms.  I think it's not so much about the flavor but the texture.  SO, I add a full 16 oz. of mushrooms to the sauce but I run them through my Salad Shooter on the grater setting. We don't usually add meat to our sauce and the mushrooms give it texture and color.  So far no one has complained about them.  :) 
The recipe calls for 1 Tbsp. garlic salt.  I use the minced garlic in the jar.  Either is ok.  Add it now.
Next dump in 3 28 oz. cans of tomatoes.  I use 3 different kinds of tomato products:
28 oz. finely chopped tomatoes
28 oz. tomato puree
28 oz. crushed tomatoes
You can really use whatever tomatoes you like but these 3 give my sauce the texture I want.
 Now dump in your seasonings.
Stir it all up, cover it and simmer for about 15 minutes.  You are done!
I love the texture of this sauce! It makes enough to serve us dinner and make 3 more containers to freeze for future use.

Here's the recipe recap:

Spaghetti Sauce a la Marlene!

28 oz. finely chopped tomato
28 oz. tomato puree
28 oz. crushed tomato
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. garlic salt (or minced garlic)
1/2 tsp. basil flakes
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. olive oil (I never measure this, just eyeball it.  It's for sauteeing your onions.)
1 large (16oz) package of mushrooms
1  1/2 large onions, chopped

In a dutch oven saute onions in olive oil until tender.  Grate mushrooms directly into the onions and saute some more.  Add minced garlic and mix.  Dump in your tomatoes and seasonings and stir.  Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.

About the red pepper:  The original recipe called for 1 Tablespoon of red pepper flakes.  We did that and could hardly stand to eat it!  It was SO hot!  (And we like hot food!)  In our sauce I add 1 tsp.  You might want to start with 1/2 tsp. instead if you're not sure about the heat.  It really adds a nice bite without being really hot in my opinion.

You can add other veggies to this sauce as well.  Sometimes I will grate a zucchini into it.  It's a great way to hide veggies from your kids.

Friday, February 11, 2011

One year....

One year ago.
It was our Spark a Smile
card making get together.
No one showed up but Janelle and I.

We still made cards and chatted.

Her dad called her a couple of times.
Just checking on her.

Janelle and I talked about the fact that her dad and her husband were going hunting early the next morning.

They had a great time.

The next afternoon I got a call.
There was a terrible accident.
Their truck was hit by a train.
I couldn't believe it.
It had to be a mistake.
Her dad was killed instantly.
Her husband was thrown from the truck.
He survived.
It was a long recovery.

It's hard to believe it's been a year.  I feel priviledged to have been there when Janelle got those last calls.  I still have a hard time believing Dr. Gene is gone.  Tomorrow friends and family will get together to remember.  And to celebrate getting through this first year.  We miss you Dr. Gene.