Monday, April 11, 2011

Busy, busy, busy...let me show you!

Remember spring break? Well, all my crazy busy began there. Here are some pics:
The Cement Mixer. not my friend. it doesn't even LOOK friendly. 
The Sand and Pebble Pile. after adding some water to the above unfriendly cement mixer, I then shoveled approx 7 scoops of this into the mixer and then turned it on. When it 'looked' like the right consistency, I would add several shovel fulls of this:
The Cement Powder. you got it. unfriendly, but very very useful. A must in mixing cement. it is super fine, lightweight stuff, but does such a big, tough job. amazing. 

After the mixing is 'just right', Jeffrey would come with his wheel barrow and I'd dump it in and he'd go dump it and I'd start over. We did this about 2 million times in one day. Here's the point:
The Future Patio. with a fire pit/grill in the center. hmmm, whose idea was this? mine. I think the end result is gonna be well worth it.

We actually aren't finished with it yet. We are so close, but not quite there. Jeffrey has to keep going to work and working in New Mexico again this week isn't helping, so we just go on and dream of the finished project. 

I'll post an update and pics when it's completed!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tortellini Lasagna

Have you ever tried this? Made this? We really like it a lot! It's a neat variation of regular lasagna.


  • except, I used two jars of Marinara. I ordinarily use homemade, canned marinara, but I shared what I had canned, so I ran out for us. :(  but, I like Newman's. 
  • Spinach should be thawed and squeezed to get the water out. 


  • spread some sauce on the bottom of the baking dish

STEP 2 and STEP 3

  • add half of the tortellini and half of the spinach. This is where you could add some Italian seasoning, etc. 


  • add cheese


  • repeat all the steps. 
  • pour the remaining sauce over the top, sprinkle on a bit more cheese cause it's so yummy and looks pretty. 
  • BAKE at 350 for about 30-45 minutes til it's all bubbly. 

I regret to say this. I forgot to get a pic of the lasagna when it was done. Three starving guys... you understand, right? 
We had garlic bread, fresh yummy salad and iced tea with ours. 
What will you serve with yours? 
Take a pic of the end result and show me!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Compost 101

Before I dive into this, one of the things you will quickly learn about me from my blog is that I love being outside. I believe seriously in composting our kitchen wastes and I love worms. Worms tell me that we have some good balance going on in the soil, that there is plenty for the worms to eat and they leave behind plenty of their poop, which is very good for our soil as well. 
I actually took a Master Composting class once in another county that I lived in before Midland and I found it interesting that people really were over thinking this and making it complicated. This is SIMPLE. I suppose it is somewhat of a science, but don't even think about it. Just do it. 

What is composting?
Composting is a natural process of recycling organic materials. It's taking something that is waste and recycling it into something beneficial. Like leaves, grass clippings, kitchen scraps, etc.

Benefits of Composting:
Improves soil and plant health, conserves water and reduces us of garden chemicals.
Keeps stuff out of landfills. Not all towns or cities have a recycle program for leaves, trees, etc,
Saves you money since you won't need to buy any good soil or compost.

Types of Composting:
Cold Composting ( easy, not much effort, slower )
Hot Composting ( fast, more effort)

I generally do cold composting, taking kitchen scraps out every day or so and add to my 'spot' and occasionally turn it, water it, add manure to it. I have an on going compost, so anytime I have ever needed any, I can dig down a bit and have good, black soil. It smells amazing! Periodically, I like to dig a bit to see if I see worms. I take coffee grounds out very often and worms like coffee grounds. I wonder if the caffeine causes them to work faster loosening up the soil... 

Cold Composting:

  • low maintenance
  • can add materials as they become available
  • doesn't heat up enough to kill weed seeds
  • can cause a smell if there becomes an in balance, although, I have never experienced this. 

  • grass clippings
  • brown leaves
  • twigs
  • water
  • kitchen scraps-NO MEAT, FAT, CITRUS

  1. Start your pile in an area where water doesn't puddle when it rains, but near enough for you to be able to water it and it's convenient to add materials to.
  2. Put yard trimmings, leaves in a pile as collected. Moisten dry materials as they are added. Mix grass clippings with leave or composting materials already in pile. 
  3. I add horse and chicken manure, but no sweat if you don't have any. 
  4. I seriously do not stir or mix but maybe once a week or so. This is NOT the textbook way, but it does work. 
  5. Add kitchen scraps as often as they become available. 
  6. Cover with black plastic (a trash bag)  to keep moist. But nothing bad will happen if you don't. It just keeps it warm, moist and composting. I haven't ever done this. I have thought of it before though...
When you do stir it around, at the bottom of your pile, if it looks like dark, rich soil, rake all the undecomposed  materials next to it to start over and harvest the compost. It should have worms and smell earthy.

Hot Composting:
Adding leaves

  • heats up enough to kill most weed seeds and pathogens
  • uses space efficiently
  • labor intensive (like daily)
  • must be built all at once
  • requires paying attention to the moisture and carbon/nitrogen ratio

  • grass clippings or other high-nitrogen material such as green leaves, cottonseed meal, etc
  • brown leaves
  • twigs
  • Watering and mixing

  • water

  1. Use a bin or a circle of fencing. Just something to contain your materials. It can be any shape you want. 
  2. Place it where water won't puddle when it rains, but near a water source.
  3. Place about 6 inches of brown materials at the bottom
  4. add 1-2 inches of green material 
  5. Mix with a pitchfork and moisten the materials (must!)
  6. Repeat until bin is full
  7. Monitor the heat in the pile with a compost thermometer (walmart).
  8. Turn the pile once it has heated and starts to cool, usually about a week. 
  9. Monitor again, turn again.
  10. Repeat this until it won't reheat. Your pile will be considerably smaller.
  11. Let compost cure for a few weeks before using.
  12. Finished bin
Once you feel comfortable with the whole composting thing, you can have several going at once, staggering their start ups so you will always have good stuff available.
TADA!! Compost!
No need to let it sit there to cure if you want to use it as a mulch.

Now, go outside and start some type of compost today!! Get a bucket or use a bowl, etc and begin saving vegetable trimmings, skins, grape vines, egg shells, tea bags, coffee and filters, paper cup cake papers, any bread, cooked vegetables, potato peels, etc. I think you get the idea. Just start and before long you won't even need to think about it. You can even compost dryer lint, cardboard, newspaper, manures, but no dog, cat or pig poo. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Silence and Banana Muffins

I decided to go ahead and blog right now because the boys WERE deep into their history and quiet. WERE. Wait, it's quiet again. They get into serious debates about math charts, angles-stuff I don't understand and they are debating it. So it's all quiet again in the house. I love the quiet. I think because it is such a rare sound. If I'm in the car alone, also rare, I turn the radio off. I just want to think or just be. Can you relate?

This morning, I got up a bit early and made banana muffins. I started with a recipe way back when my 20 yr old was 2 and have altered it into what I love. I'll share it with you here today. It's definitely worth trying. You may be hooked. They are the very best, real muffin I have ever had, although I may be a partial to this particular banana muffin.  :)

makes about 2 dozen muffins

4  ripe bananas
1  cup packed brown sugar
1/2  cup Smart Balance Oil 
1  large egg
1  cup all purpose flour
1  whole wheat flour
1/4  cup flax seed meal
1  tsp baking powder
1  tsp baking soda
1/2  tsp salt
1/2  cup plain or vanilla yogurt
1  Tbls vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line the muffin pans with paper liners. I spray the paper liners with non stick spray.

Peel the bananas, (put the peels in your compost bucket) break them into pieces and place in large mixing bowl. Beat with mixer until they are smashed good. Be careful, they jump out sometimes! 
Add brown sugar, oil and egg; beat until smooth.
Add flours, flax meal, baking powder, baking soda, salt; beat until smooth.
Add yogurt and vanilla ; beat until combined.

Fill muffin liners 3/4 full.  Sprinkle a bit of brown sugar and some oats on top before baking.

Bake about 25 minutes.

Cool slightly.  Eat and enjoy!!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Welcome to my blog!

Thanks for stopping in for a visit! I started this blog about a year ago, wanting to share my recipes, things I sew, stuff we do as a family, homeschooling adventures and I have really stumbled along with my blogging and sharing things.
A few days ago, I was really thinking  and praying about who I am, what my purpose, goal is. I don't know about you, but every so often, I feel not good enough or haven't done enough. I'm not sure what brings that around, but it made me realize that I haven't been enjoying my blog or my sewing. I really haven't been enjoying things the way I use to and I think it's because I have been trying to follow someone else's guidelines for my blog, when that doesn't even come close to fitting my life and who I am. So, with that said, some things are about to change here and you are welcome to follow along and find out who exactly Evelyn of WHRD is and what drives me and gives me purpose.
Hold on to your boot straps and let's go!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A winner and some new knits!!

First, congrats to Jennifer Land, of!! She wins the two aprons! 

So, I stumbled upon a fabric site, Girl Charlee your online source for exclusive top quality knits and other unique fabrics. I really liked their site! They had great 
sale prices too! Let me show you what I got!! 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Kid Apron Giveaway!!

This was actually intended for last week... but I homeschool and we have been really busy lately and I just couldn't keep up!! To add to that, I have lost my Kodak point and shoot type camera, so the pics here and at my site STINK! Let me know if you have any questions about anything in the pics.
So, no more delays. Here THEY are! I have TWO aprons to give away! 

Side 1: charcoal gray, white stripe
Side 2: multi veg soup print

Side 2   
Side 1
Reversible aprons.
One for a boy, one for a girl! Made from dollar store dish towels with Velcro closures for waist strap and comfy elastic for the neck strap. Sized for approximately 3-5 year old children. Pre-washed and dried, so no shrinkage.ENTRY RULES:

  • You must sign in and follow me here, leave a comment letting me know. If you already follow me, please just leave me a comment letting me know that you wish to enter. 
  • Follow me on, leave me a comment letting me know.
  • Visit my etsy shop at and comment letting me know what you like, what you'd like to see. 
  • That's three ways to win!!  
  • Drawing will be Saturday, February 26, so you have until midnight, my time, Friday to enter. Open only to U.S. residents.   

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

An Organized Home, a WINNER and a Good Thrift Store Find

I have a continual dream of an organized home. Schedules that flow easily, children that flow with the schedules, husbands that don't randomly show up in the middle of the day saying please drop everything, I need you now, it will only take today but goes on consuming us for a whole week. Ahhh, a girl can dream, right??

I keep a binder like this, that contains all my important family info. Copies of birth certificates, shot records (if you do those), menu plans, school schedules, etc. I really found this helpful when my kids went to public school.

I really like these printable forms over at Organized Home. I can't believe my sister didn't create this site. She's always so in order and I'm the complete opposite. There are tons of different forms to print out; such as:
Daily To-Do List
Master To-Do List
Planner Pages-you know, refills

Weekly Chore Charts
Shopping List
Menu Planner
and lots more!! Don't take my word for it, go check it out and put them to use helping to organize your home and life.

There are also topics such as Freezer Meals, Time and Money and so many more! Go, print, create a household binder and be at least more organized!


Jacqueline Smith, from  macaroni & cheese is the winner of the cool yoga bag mat! Since I didn't have very many entries, we did not use, but I wrote the names on identical papers from a notepad, folded them, held them in the air and let my son reach in and choose. I sure hope to have many more entries in this weeks drawing.


I truly enjoy thrift store shopping. I like antiques stores, but sometimes they are too pricey. I'm cheap. I want cheap prices, so I tend to enjoy 'junk' stores better. I have a few favorites here in Midland that I will post about eventually, but today, let me show you what I found in Colorado City, about an hour west of Midland, on I-20.

I'm pretty excited about these. I got ALL OF THESE. for $6. I'M NOT JOKING!! I even asked Mr. Elroy Boedecker (owner), "are ya sure, for all?" He was sure and I scored!! I was sooo excited. I really needed the bigger of the pots, but I couldv'e lived without the smaller, but I'm already finding ways to use them, so I moved them over to the I needed them list.
Mr Boedecker dabbles in furniture refinishing and does quite an awesome job at it and I think he's too cheap, but he thinks it's fair. He has no internet or even a computer (we asked), but he has a telephone and you can call for directions or hours. If you pull up and he's home, he will open for you.
If you happen to go thru Colorado City or are there for a visit, not far from his shop is a wonderful plant nursery, Neff's Nursery that has been there for EVER and is also entirely too cheap on their pricing! They have charged 40 cents a vegetable plant for several years now. I buy all my wood stock plants (trees, grapes, berries, wisteria, etc) from them. They answer their phone too and will tell you what they have, give prices, when and how to plant. They are just NICE.
Here's the info to reach the above neat people in Colorado City. One day I'll post about 'THE VOICE OF MITCHELL COUNTY', but that's for a blog all on it's own!!
Mr. Elroy Boedecker
3318 N. Hwy 208
Colorado City, TX 79512
map to Mr Boedecker's place

Neff's Nursery & Greenhouses
3469 N. Hwy 208
Colorado City, TX 79512
map to Neff's Nursery

Thursday, February 3, 2011

New Wool Scarf and Tutorial Link

Good afternoon!! It's been so cold here in West Texas this week and it usually is only really cold for a day, maybe two, so I don't have many winter accessories, so today I decided to make a new wool scarf! I rarely make things for myself, so I'm pretty excited. This project only took about an hour, including measuring and cutting the fabric. 

Are ya ready to make one for yourself? Dash on over to Make It and Love It for the wonderful tutorial. Take a stroll around Ashley's blog. She has loads of cool tutorials, tips and tricks and recipes!! 
This is Ashley's scarf from the tutorial here. She used flannel. When I saw the tutorial, I knew exactly what fabric I wanted to use. Mine is a wonderful, super soft wool, that reminds me of a blanket. It is not one bit scratchy, but so soft and cozy. I got it last year half price at my local Hancock Fabrics store. 
I hope you are inspired to go make yourself, or someone special a scarf today and stay warm!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Yoga Mat Bag Tutorial and GIVEAWAY!!!!

This is a super simple bag to make and I've been asked a few times at my Yoga class to do a tutorial for the bag so without further delay, here it is!
3/4 yard of medium to heavy weight fabric
3/4 yard of cord to coordinate your fabric
fabric marker
scissors or rotary cutter
straight pins
I like to wash/dry fabric before using it so any shrinkage happens before I construct the bag, not after, which could result in a wonky looking product!!

All seams are 1/2" unless otherwise noted and is considered in the measurements.
Measure and mark the dimensions below directly on the WRONG side of the fabric, using a yard stick or ruler and a marking pencil or chalk. Then cut out each piece along the marked lines.

 Cut 1 piece for body of bag: 17" wide x 32" long
Cut 1 piece for strap: 11" wide x 40" long
Cut 1 piece for outside pocket: 7" wide x 15" long

Make the pocket: with Right sides together, fold the pocket in half widthwise so you have a piece that measuring 7 x 7. Stitch the sides, leaving the top open for turning. Press the seams open, turn, press again. Stitch along the open end just to keep it in place. Edge stitch along the top of the folded edge. This will be the top of the pocket and will help the pocket look neat and tidy.
Pin the bottom edge of the pocket to the bottom edge of the body piece and 2" in from the longer edge. Make sure the edge stitched end it up. This is the top and opening end of the pocket.
Stitch just the sides of the pocket, backstitching a few times at the top of the pocket for some added durability. You don't want your pocket to begin to come off when you are trying to shove a water bottle in the pocket!!
Make the strap:
Fold the strap in half, press just enough for a visual guidance. 
Unfold, using the pressed mark down the center, fold one edge over to meet the middle pressed mark. Press.
Repeat with the other side. You will then have both edges folded towards the center. 
Now, fold in half. Carefully line up the edges. Press really good. 
Edge stitch down each side. It doesn't matter if you stitch the ends or not, they will be sandwiched and sewn into the body of the bag. 
Next, position the handle in the center of the half without the pocket. If you folded the body of the bag in half long ways, the handle would be centered on that half. Pin it down even with the bottom edge, then secure it part way up so it won't get in the way.
Fold the body of the bag in half long ways, matching all the edges. Secure with pins. 
From the top corner with raw edges, measure down 1 1/2" and mark. Measure down 2 1/2" and mark. 
Stitch all edges EXCEPT the top edges. Stitch down from top to the first mark (1 1/2") and back stitch.
Then begin sewing at the next mark (2 1/2") and back stitch, then continue sewing the side and bottom. This will leave a one inch opening for your cord to go through. 
Press the one inch opening open with the iron. Stitch it with a zigzag stitch. Mine kinda looks like poo, so do better then that!! 
Next you will need to turn the bag inside out if it's not already. 
Using a ruler, fold the edge down 1/2" and press. 
Then, using a ruler again, fold it over 1" and press. This is making the casing for your cord to go in.
Edge stitch around the top of the fold, then stitch around the bottom of the fold. I know I say edge this and that, but I believe it, along with pressing as you go, is what makes a product look great. Don't skimp on the quality of your own product. It's worth the time and effort. 
Now to complete the handle. Finish the end of the handle with a close zigzag stitch. Find your center (long ways) and fold the end of the handle in about an inch. Pin it in place, with the fold lined up with the bottom stitching of the casing. See pic below if that didn't make sense. 
The handle kinda folds in. 
Now for the cording. Just feed it into the casing with a safety pin, decide what your fav length is, hold the two ends together, tie a knot and you are done!! 
Slide a yoga mat in and try it out. Don't forget to add a bottle of water to your pocket. The pocket could use elastic if you feel so inclined. I truly have been thinking about it and maybe a Velcro loop for my keys. The possibilites are so endless and I'd really like to see what you come up with. Don't be shy. Send pics!! Also please let me know if you have questions. It's 2 am and I could have skipped something. 
I will be drawing names to give this very yoga mat bag!! Entries will be accepted until Saturday, February 05, 2011 at 9 p.m. my time. I will draw the winner on Sunday and announce it here AND I will email you. 
*All entries MUST have complete email address to qualify. 
*Anyone can enter, except my household members.
*To qualify to enter, you must Follow me here AND post on *Facebook or Twitter about this giveaway at 
***Post a comment letting me know what you did to enter and if you are already following me, let me know that you want to enter. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chicken and Dumplings!

My mom always made such delicious chicken and dumplings, the fluffy dumplings. Below is the recipe I use to make mine. And it yields about 8 servings. I'll give the ingredients first, then some instructions and pics.

For the Chicken:

3 pounds of chicken pieces (leg quarters are fine)
2 quarts of tap water (8 cups)
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon or 6 chicken bouillon cubes
1/4 teaspoon pepper or a good shaking of Adam's Beef Fajitas Season (my all purpose)

For the Dumplings:

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
2-1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon each salt & sugar

I used a pressure cooker for cooking my chicken, which is about 20 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure for a whole chicken, less time for cut up. But you can boil it and it works out just fine.

Now let the chicken simmer like that for a full two hours. Longer if the chicken was partially frozen when you put it in. You want the meat to fall off the bone. When the chicken is good and tender, remove it from the broth. Try to make sure there are no sneaky bones which have worked there way to the bottom of the broth. If you find any, just fish them out. I do this with a slotted spoon, and a fork. The chicken is hot, so be very careful not to burn yourself. Collect your chicken in a dish or bowl and let it cool down.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones. Discard the skin and bones. If you used a pressure cooker, you will need to add about 3 cups of water, but not if you boiled the chicken. Start the broth simmering and add the de-boned chicken.

Mix up the dumplings. Add the milk and oil in a mixing bowl, then add the dry ingredients and mix well. The batter will be stiff. Using two spoons, drop the dough onto the chicken/broth. Try to keep them uniform in size for uniform cooking.

Cover pot with a lid and let simmer for 20 minutes. NO PEEKING EITHER! The dumplings cook from both the simmering broth and steaming in the pot.

Above is at the end of the 20 minutes. Nice and fluffy!! Gravy just creates naturally from the dumplings. Yummy!!