To compliment our summer reading lists for first and third graders I made the below list of our favorite board books for younger kids. We still read many of these books to our kids even though they are way past the board book phase! […]
When my oldest daughter turned one many years ago she was inundated with so many gifts they filled a small kiddie pool. She was the first grand kid on my side and her dad has a large family plus being the first child of our […]
Stitching update time! My goal was to update once a month but we were so busy in the garden that I barely got any time to stitch until a couple of weeks ago. I had to pause all work on my birthdate alphabet sampler to work on a present for my mom for Mother’s Day. I didn’t finish it in time but I should have it complete in the next week or so. I found this cat butt pattern in the Freudian Stitch shop on Etsy. My mom is not a fan of cats and I have been giving her cat things just to make her laugh. She loves my stitching so when I saw this pattern I knew I had to stitch it. I showed it to her on Mother’s Day (unfinished) and I should hopefully finish it soon.
I am really enjoying stitching the cat butt pattern. It flows really well and I love how easy it is to count the stitches in between the cats. I have had to substitute a couple of colors since I could not find them in my gigantic boxes of thread and I didn’t have time to go to the store until after Mother’s Day.
I went through my stitching boxes yesterday to see what I could find in there and I am ashamed to admit I have several WIPs that I had forgotten about and several patterns with thread in various stages of being kitted up. I am a huge fan of the Heaven and Earth Designs website and have purchased quite a few (ie more than 10) of their patterns. To date I have finished exactly one of them. It still isn’t framed properly but it took me three years to stitch off and on and I am super proud that I actually finished such a big project. It was the Cairns Bird Wing pattern by Teri Rosario and I loved stitching it.
I have this huge project I started about three years ago called “Computer Wizard” by Randal Spangler. It is a gigantic project with about 90 full pages of stitches to do. I have completed about half of a page of it which seems crazy with all of the time I spent on it. I have not worked on it in a few years though but I hope to put it back in the rotation soon.
Here is a picture to show the scale of “Computer Wizard” My cat butt project is on a standard hoop and will fit into a 4×6 picture frame when it is complete.
I worked a little on my alphabet birth date project but most of my limited time was spent on the cat butt project. I am really please with how the alphabet project is coming along. I just wish I had more time to stitch it but as soon as the cats are done I will switch back to this one since it needs to be finished ASAP and it doesn’t require using a magnifying light. My eyes get tired really fast using the light so I can’t stitch as long as I want to.
Progress! I extended the blue border and got some of the yellow squares complete. Hopefully I can finish this block and another by the end of June.
This is a piece I bought of of Etsy a number of years ago. It is a Halloween Dachshund sampler I got from Plum Street Samplers that I started when I first started stitching and forgot about. I spent more time than I should have carefully placing these stitches but I looked at it again and I am not sure if I cut my fabric large enough so I will have to measure it out again to double check.
This is another Randal Spangler piece. It is a quick stitch, which in Heaven and Earth Designs means it doesn’t always use the full picture and the colors are not as detailed but it still has quite a bit of confetti and details. It is called “Literate Dragon“. I am having a really hard time with this one. I picked the quick stitch so that I could finish it in about a year. There are only four full pages and a few not even half pages so the pace wasn’t super fast but it is proving very difficult to stitch. I am having a hard time finding my rhythm and every time I pick it up I just get frustrated and barely make any progress. I am going to try again in a couple of months depending on my progress with the alphabet piece.
I have a few other pieces I have sort of kitted up, patterns that have been printed but no thread purchased and possibly a couple of starts still stashed away but I was a little overwhelmed by how much I need to work on when I went through everything so the rest of it will stay on the back burner for a while. I also need to desperately organize my extra thread, fabric and random stitching accessories and hopefully now that we have a dedicated sewing space I will finally be able to organize it instead of having my stitching stuff stashed all over the house. My goal is to have the sewing room organized this fall once everyone is in school and I have more time (ha ha!). Now off to work on my cat butt project!
My grandma made fruit salad for us growing up and it was always my favorite because she put a few marshmallows in there. My mom was always trying to eat healthy so marshmallows were a rare treat in our house. I made this yummy salad […]
Today I decided to make some of my easy pear sauce. My kids devour it as soon as I make it. Luckily it only takes a little bit of work to make and is easy to make ahead.
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We do most of our shopping at Costco to save money. Our kids work and play hard and even though two of them are under four they still eat a lot of food. I started making pear sauce in place of apple because the younger two kids were not big fans of applesauce as babies. Now they will eat applesauce but they still love my pear sauce and when I make it they get very excited. I buy a bag of D’Anjou pears from Costco and let them ripen for a week or two, sometimes three. I try to leave the bag as flat as I can on the counter so that the pears do not develop bruises in the areas where they are resting on each other. When I am feeling the need to cook ahead I will buy two bags of pears and make a double batch and freeze some of it. I have tried Bartlett pears and they work in a pinch but the D’Anjou pears make a more flavorful sauce. I am very excited for a few years from now when our pear tree is producing and we will be able to make pear sauce from our own trees!
The earliest I will wait to make the pear sauce is when the spot under the stem gives in slightly when pressed. The pears can still be green and slightly firm at this point but that is ok. I will also wait until the pears are yellow and almost overripe if I run out of time to make it. These D’Anjou pears work well for this because when life gets busy (as it often does in our house) you have a couple of weeks of leeway before you have a bag of rotten pears instead of delicious pear sauce. You can also pop the pears into the fridge if you look ahead and realize you won’t get to making the sauce for a few weeks.
Whether you peel the pears or not, depends on your preference and how much time you have. It takes me 15 min to cut the pears and get the sauce on the stove if I leave the peels on so when I am in a time crunch that is what I do. I was in a time crunch today so I did not peel my pears. They are also heading towards overripe since I did not get around to making pear sauce last week but that is the beauty of these particular pears, they are meant to be stored for a while so they will still taste yummy!
On to the sauce. You will need 7-8 pears, vanilla, cinnamon and a large pot. I use our 3.5 quart pot for this.
Wash the pears. Make sure to remove the stickers if you aren’t peeling them.
Cut them into roughly one inch square pieces (Quarter, take out core, slice each quarter a few times) and place into pot.
Add vanilla and cinnamon to the pot. I don’t measure this but I add about 1-2 tsp of vanilla and probably 1-2 tsp of cinnamon (I love cinnamon!). At this point you can add a little water to the pot depending on if the pears are juicy or what you are using it for. If it is for baby food you may want to add a little water (1 Tbsp or so) to make it thinner. If I am making pouches I will add about 1 Tbsp so that the pear sauce will be thin enough to go through the opening. You can also add water at the blending stage if you want to wait and see how thick it will be.
Place pot onto stove at medium heat and bring to a simmer. Stir frequently at first to make sure none of the pears stick to the bottom of the pot, Let simmer for about 25 min or until pears are soft and squishy.
Let cool. I usually cook the pear sauce during nap and let it cool for a couple of hours. This gives me time to clean up. Today while the pear sauce cooked I played with the puppy.
After the pear sauce has cooled put about half of it in the blender and use the pulse setting to make it smooth. Repeat with the other half of the sauce.
At this point I will either put it into the fridge, portion it into resealable pouches and freeze for the kids or dole it out to waiting children. Today I put it into a large container (reused from lunch meat). We ate some of it for dinner and I will put about half of it into reusable pouches tomorrow and freeze all but two of them. We use these reusable pouches and they work wonderfully! I fill them about 2/3 full and stick them in the freezer for up to a couple of months, but honestly they usually get eaten within a week. My kids get one pouch a day and I just pull them out as needed.
Some variations you could do are to cook a mix of apples and pears, steam vegetables and add them to the blender with the cooked pears to make baby food and to add nutmeg to the pear sauce.
I have been working on this Zoo Alphabet Birth project from Dimensions since my three year old was a baby. I am hoping to finish it for her by the time she turns 4. It is fairly simple to stitch which makes it slightly boring and […]