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June 26, 2013

Homemade Restaurant Style Flaky Biscuits: Oh My Summer Foods

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I hope you're prepared for the most incredible, flaky, ranch style biscuits that you have ever eaten. This is my mother-in-law's recipe and she really knows what she's doing when it comes to cooking. My mother-in-law uses cream because she likes the fact that it doesn't have all the preservatives in it and they have a milk cow. It can also be made with shortening/butter with almost the exact same instructions. The process of folding and rolling is what incorporates the layers.

While we were at Steen's Mountain we got to make biscuits for lunch one day.  Scary and I finally had a chance to teach Jo how to make them. We've been raving about these biscuits for over a year. Now she has a quick recipe when she just needs a little something extra for dinner. The top picture is the best finished picture we could take because the cowboys were hungry and we had to eat dinner quick before getting back on the horses to herd some cattle.

4 cup flour
2 T. baking powder
2 T. sugar
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. salt
2 ½ - 3 C. cream/milk (2/3 cream-1/3 milk)

Combine dry ingredients and mix together. Make a well in the middle and add cream mixture.

Stir until dough clings together.

Take 1/3 (this will be the mock trim dough) and place on a heavily floured surface, lightly coat top with flour.

 Pat in in flour and roll out. Fold into thirds then loosely roll into a roll. Do this until the dough feels firm but still remains soft. Set aside.

Scrape out remainder of dough onto the floured surface. Roll and fold dough as many times as you did with the trim dough. Then tear “trim dough” in chunks and top the dough (if the trim dough is too sticky then dust with flour). Fold into thirds until it fell firm but still soft. Then roll out gently raising the rolling pin at the ends. Roll till it ¾” inch in height, then cut dough with a biscuit cutter (they have a sharp edge) or with a sharp knife into squares (you don't want to squish the layers together when cutting them if you don't have a biscuit cutter).

 Bake in a 450⁰F oven for 10-12 minutes until the tops are a light brown.

Flaky Biscuits (with cream)
4 cup flour
2 T. baking powder
2 T. sugar
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. salt
2 ½ - 3 C. cream/milk (2/3 cream-1/3 milk)

Flaky Biscuits (with shortening/butter)
4 cup flour
2 T. baking powder
2 T. sugar
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. salt
2/3 - 1 C. shortening/butter (fork into dry ingredients before adding milk)
1 ½ - 1 3/4 C. milk

Combine dry ingredients and mix together.  Make a well in the middle and add cream/milk mixture. Stir until dough clings together. Take 1/3 (this will be the mock trim dough) and place on a heavily floured surface, lightly coat with flour. Pat in in flour and roll out. Fold into thirds then loosely roll into a roll. Do this until the dough feels firm but still remains soft.  Set aside.

Scrape out remainder of dough onto the floured surface. Roll and fold dough as many times as you did with the trim dough. Then tear “trim dough” in chunks and top the dough (if the trim dough is too sticky then dust with flour).  Fold into thirds until it fell firm but still soft. Then roll out gently raising the rolling pin at the ends.   Roll till it ¾” inch in height, then cut dough with a biscuit cutter with a sharp edge or with a sharp knife into squares.

Bake in a 450⁰F oven for 10-12 minutes until the tops are a light brown.

June 25, 2013

Link-up Party & Quick Tip Tuesday: Saving Sewing Time

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 I love blogging and I love sewing. Both of which bring me incredible, great joy. But sometimes on this journey of trying to do it all, I lose my perspective. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by deadlines, internet issues, and big projects. Not to mention the crazy days and house that comes with these challenges. Usually when I finally decide to do something and have the fabric I need, I have no more than a week to get it done. It’s easy for things to get crazy fast.


I found this quote that seemed fitting for what happens when my life gets out of control and I’m not careful about managing my time. I have discovered 2 easy ways to cut back on the busyness and insanity that it takes to be a creative seamstress.

1.    Cut out patterns as you get them. Whenever there is a pattern sale and I buy a bunch of patterns, I declare a stay at home movie night with my husband. Then start with my favorite pattern and cut all of the pieces out (for the kids, I try to keep all the size ranges so that I can use it for longer). After that, I fold it neatly and put them in numerical order back into the envelope. I try to get through as many patterns as possible. I do this at night while the kids are sleeping so that the pieces don’t get lost or torn up. This can save you hours of pattern piece cutting and trying to find the right pieces. Plus if you’re like me and you like to pattern mix (i.e. the pockets from one, the pants from another, the bodice from a third, and the sleeve from a fourth) then it’s nice to have them already cut out.

2.    Clean the space before you start cutting or sewing. Maybe you’ve never have this problem, but if the house is crazy, it seems like it is so easy to lose a little bit of everything from cut pieces, to seam rippers (I have to keep 3 at all times because they are so prone to disappearing), to the sewing scissors. Also if you try to sew with kids, it’s a lot quicker clean-up when all is said and done.

These tips make me a more patient and happy mama. The kids stay on my good side and it doesn’t have to be mass chaos.

June 24, 2013

Fun Summer Activities: Family Together Time on a Budget

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Heaven on earth is the best description I can use to explain my hometown. It is so good to be back in the slow and easy pace of life. There aren't any close grocery stores(you have to drive over an hour to get more food or call a neighbor down the road and borrow a cup of sugar). After living in such a different world as the suburbs of Chicago (in a wet basement, no less), it is incredible to be back.

I've got to be home for about a week and a half now, and I absolutely love it. Mom and Dad are so kind to share their home with us and the kids are loving having them so close. This is going to be a fun 2 months, I just hope that we don't end up driving Mom and Dad too crazy.

It's funny how much easier it is to spend time together as a family here. It feels like every night is family night. I love it because I think spending time together as a family is essential. Just before we moved back to Idaho I found a book called 2002 Things to Do with Your Kids. It is a true jem! I'm going to start sharing some of these with you so look forward to some great ideas. Today I'm just going to give you a few ideas of what we did with the kids this week.

Movie Night- (we watched it outside on the lawn with the crickets singing in the background)

Fishing- free (kids under 14 in Idaho don't need a license- check it out for your state)

Circus (once a year it comes to around and we were able to catch it and Grandpa gets us tickets)

Trampoline Time (Heber wasn't  really into jumping, but we were able to play some games that he was okay with). He actually discovered his shadow while we were on the tramp.
June 21, 2013

Friday Facet: Country Girl feels a little lost in this Surban Jungle

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 We have lived in the "Greater Salt Lake" area for 3 weeks. One of those I was gone to help as a HOBY Facilitator and visit our Aunt and Uncle at Steen's Mountain.  The other night when I drove home from Idaho, I was determined that I would take the Legacy Highway and the Belt Way (I-215, for you Utah folks) and find my way home without getting lost.  (Note: I am much better at getting to our apartment from I-15, but the other way is a much better way to avoid all of the traffic).

Growing up I did stuff like this:
Al and I in Junior Riding club
The fish I caught one summer after work while fishing with my dad.
It was a requirement in our family if you caught you cleaned something
that scared my college roommates at first.
Sometimes for special occasions Dad would take us out target shooting. 
Up until a few months ago Rexburg, Idaho was the largest town I had lived in for a prolonged period. Rexburg has a population of about 25,000 (13,000+ being college students) isn't more than a big little town.

Back to me getting off on the Belt way. I got off at what I thought was my exit. But headed West instead of East I was miles from the right direction. I panicked and couldn't remember what my address was and what the number of the main roads we were off of. I didn't have my cellphone, I knew I was going to be lost forever!

I remembered that the complex had given us a keychain with our address on it. I was creeping down the road just trying to find something familiar that was even remotely close to the number listed on the keychain, when I realized I was holding traffic up. I got back up to speed and turned left because it seemed like I needed to head more toward the mountains. At this point I was completely frazeled.
Then I saw:
Source: Desert News Utah's first flex lane systems
Now for someone who is used to driving through livestock but who's hometown didn't even have a four way stop this looks daunting but I was some what relieved because I remembered there are flex lanes by our home. I breathed a sigh of relief, I might make it home. A few minutes later I was in our box filled apartment.

This is a metaphor for how I feel right now. I feel a little lost, frazzled.

I miss going out to the apartment playground and having an insta play date by sending a text or knock on the door of my friends by inviting them to join us.
But we are going to get through. The kids love the new playground and I have a few prospects for friends in my ward (Mormon term for congregation).

I also miss my neighborhood quilt/craft shop, Porters. It was Al and I's favorite store to just go window shopping in and we got some of our best crafting ideas from just browsing.
But the Joann's here is huge and the staff is really nice and knowledgeable. And it is only about 3 miles from home (which I see as a positive but could be a real negative for my fabric budget).

The other day I had a yummy burrito at a local Mexican restaurant that made me feel a little bit more at home.

What do you to make yourself more at home in a new area or new sort of environment? Would love to hear your ideas.

With Love,
June 20, 2013

Preview: Bubbless Ruffleless Romper Pattern Remix

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For the E&E bubble shorts remix I wanted to think out of the box with a simple romper design.
More on that tomorrow and pictures with Boston in it. Edit: JUST KIDDING put it on her and it is still too big. I have to go back to the drawing board one more time and make it several inches smaller. Good Night, I am off to do house recovery.
With Love,
June 19, 2013

Fresh Light Pasta Dinner: Oh My Summer Foods!

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I stumbled upon a recipe a few years ago.  But, I didn't have the ingredients so I changed it up.  I have never made the original recipe, because I have enjoyed this one so much!
Cut up some Bacon Fry it till its medium well done.

 then dump on some Parmesan
 Next add some chopped onions, and cook it all together till the onions are semi-translucent
 Then add some rough chopped zucchini and cook it until starts to get tender.
 lastly add the rough cut tomatoes and stir them in until they are warmed

Now serve this on top of pasta ( I forgot to take that picture)
and serve it with some garlic bread 
(I forgot to take that picture too, I was to busy eating- If you aren't making this yet- head to the kitchen now-you will not regret it!)
June 17, 2013

Vulnerable and Weak: Messy Day

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While at HOBY we had an opportunity to hear from Bryan Yager, a man who travels the world talking about leadership. He talked about how a leader is someone that is willing to show their vulnerabilities and weaknesses. This is a delicate balance with a blog, because blogging is really about having the magazine quality life. But then I remembered our mission statement and we are trying to build a blog where you can feel encouraged, inspired, uplifted that can take you to a place of creation. 
Sometimes I am confused and think that I can do it all. Then I go crazy (like smoke out my ears, roadrunner legs and complete confusion). Then I talk to one of my sweet sisters and they try to calm me down. Then I begin to think rationally and eat the elephant of a crazy day one bite at a time.

Today was one of those days, where the realization that I can't do it all came to head.

Last week I spent 2 days in the car driving home. After finally getting home, the next morning I woke up sick. I was SO sick in bed with a sinus infection. My kids, husband and I went in survival mode. Which means that the boxes that needed to be unpacked are still not unpacked. The sewing projects I have planned are still in the planning stages.
 This morning the kids got a special treat, once a year chocolate cake. Boston enjoyed it but she got it all over her face and her hair. It required her to take a bath, then Ryder needed something out of their bedroom so stepped across the hall and then I heard a terrified cry from the bathtub. I rushed to the scene and after a quick survey of the tub, I realized we had a problem. Poop. I swooped her out of the tub. Scrubbed the toys and the tub. Then put her back in to get clean.
All the while this was happening Ryder was practicing X-games tricks with the firetruck walker off his bed. After the vehicle was impounded to our bedroom. It was time for our blog planning meeting, which didn't last more than 5 minutes because the combined noises coming from the kids on our 3 lines was too much.
Jo did gave me a few pieces of advice before we ended our call. Just clean one of the rooms so you have a space to relax. Take the kids to McDonalds to burn off energy. I followed the spirit of her advice and I built a fort from the couch cushions with Ryder. And we may have had a little dance party in the kitchen.

I am working on finishing cleaning the kitchen (figured it was a good first space) and then I will move on to the dining room.
With Love,

I am hoping by the end of the week I will be sewing and able to play along with the sewing fun, if you aren't having a crazy week/day you should check it out.

Romper Week
Flip This Pattern
PS. Peak A Boo Pattern Shop has all their Rompers on Sale, Click here to visit Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop.

Their Anchors Aweigh Sailor Romper: 3 mos. - 4t couldn't be any cuter! Or the Sea Breeze Romper would be perfect for 4th of July Sewing.
June 13, 2013

Shaffer Sisters Working Vacation

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We grew up with a pretty amazing family!  One of those family members included one of our favorite aunts.  Her name is Aunt Suz.  She is soft spoken, kind, and sensitive.  I remember my Dad always saying how much he loved to hear her sing and play the guitar.  She is married to her high school sweet heart., Though, Scary was always afraid of her husband, Uncle Tim, just because he was a wild, wrestling, tickling, crazy cowboy.  Now that they are empty-nesters, they have decided to embark on adventure of their own. 

Well I bring them up today, because our Aunt and Uncle started a Guest Ranch.  People can come from all over the world to work on their Ranch.  They can drive cattle, help build fence, ride horses, and do a little cowboin', or just sit back, enjoy the view/food, and soak in the jetted tub at the lodge.  Last weekend my sisters and I decided to meet up at Steens Mountain Guest ranch and do a little work to help our Aunt and Uncle in the online marketing area. 
Building a new blog was pretty painful for Uncle Tim, but he muscled through, and in the end, he came up with what I think perfectly represents him and the ranch.
So with out further ado, please go check our Aunt and Uncle out over HERE.
We love them and we know you will too!  Over the next month or so, we will show you what we have been doing here on the ranch. 

June 11, 2013

Clip Board Jobs: Quick Tip Tuesday

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Do you have jobs that you hate to do? ie. refrigerator, clean and vacuum the car, organize the bathroom closet.  Those are my least favorite jobs, because they take time and extra energy that this Momma of 5.5 does not have extra of.
Do you have children AKA cheap labor that like to work for cold hard cash?
If you answered yes to both questions, then you have a dynamite duo on your hands.

Introducing  CLIP BOARD JOBS
(yes I felt it needed bold lettering)
This is an awesome way to get work done around my house.  The visual display of cash gets these little minions of mine busy.
Our rule is that they have to do their daily chores, before they can earn money for extras.  So, I just put the money on the clipboard in the morning, with the jobs I don't wan't to do, and then I go about my day helping and doing normal mom things, like talking with my sisters on the phone.  As soon as the kids see the money go up, they are off and working.
Its magical.

We decided that Quick Tip Tuesday would be a pretty fun summer series.  So, this is where you our favorite fans come in.  If you have some good tips put them on our ongoing linky party and we may choose you to be featured on Tuesdays.  So link-up!
with love,
June 10, 2013

Fun Summer Activities: Field Trip; Nez Perce National Historical Park

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I went with our fourth grade boys to the Clear Water river.  We went to a site in Lewiston ID, called the Nez Perce National Historical Park.  There were about 40 park rangers there.  They put on an amazing 6 hour presentation.
The information ranged from imprinting, to micro organisms in the water, to Indian folklore, to actually releasing baby steal-heads into the river.  The program was amazing!  The boys got so much out of it.  I can't wait to take all of my kids back this summer.

A hand made eel net, carved with a pocket knife and the net is made from hand woven hemp.

 This guy was phenomenal he made the net shown above, and carved the eel forms, that he later used a cast for these rubber eels.  He is a native of the area.  He talked about the sacred nature of the eel.  His forefathers refer to the eel as the ancient ones.   
 These rangers taught the boys about imprinting.  
We learned that there are 3 ways that helps a fish to return to its original spawning grounds
1) smell
2) sight-they swim backwards to the ocean
3) these crazy little magnetic rocks in their heads that act like a GPS
 The army corp taught us how to measure water velocity.
 This is important for regulating the flooding in Dams, maintaining streams, and figuring out water temperatures.
 This guy taught the kids about measuring water quality by the type and number of the bug larva in the water.
 After all of that the Fish and Game got together and made us lunch!
 Here the park rangers are teaching the kids how to measure the pH balance of the water.  
They also learned about phosphates and the green house effect on water. 
 The kids started raising these steel-heads in March, from eggs.  They watched them hatch, changed their water, fed them, and maintained their water temperature.  
 This lady taught the kids how microchips are inserted in to the fish.  The yellow ring is a scaled down size of the giant rings that are put in to dams, to "scan" the fish as the swim over them.  The microchip can tell the people who study it what hatchery the fish came from, when they hatched, and which direction they are heading.

This is a video of the actual steel-head release in to the Clear Water river.  
I am so happy that the boys got to experience this!  Amazing!!

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