Friday, January 30, 2009

New in shop

Honestly I went to the yarn store for a completely different color. I found it there too, but while I was leaving the isle to check out (I swear, really I was, sorta) I spotted this variegated yarn. Oh, La, La! I had to have it. It really is much prettier in person. While crocheting at the dance studio every woman there loved it. I had been itching to use this yarn and it turned out so good. No buyer remorse here.

So this is my newest item in shop this week. One of my pretty shells washcloths accompanied with one of my famous Spa Facial Scrubbies. The color is called Rosa Patine. I loved making this set. It is available for sale in my shop for $6.00. Pair it with some soap and you can make your own Valentines Love Basket.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Featured on a blog

I have been featured on a blog! How exciting. I would love if you all could go and check it out. She is a fellow Cast Team member on Etsy and has a wonderful store herself. Here is the link. http://suerunyondesigns.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cooking with the kids (Monkey bread)

I like to tell my kiddos that they are monkeys. Some days this seems true with them running around and bouncing off furniture. So naturally when my sister shared the recipe for Monkey Bread with me, I had to make it with the kids. I changes it some from the first time I made it and I will include that here. Monkey Bread Time: LOL, you know where I stand with that and cooking with kids Ingredients: 1 Gallon size bag (food storage or ziploc will do) 1 (12 ounce) package of refrigerated biscuit dough I found a 16 ounce of Pillsbury home style biscuit dough in a can

1/3 cup white sugar ( I used the next size up 1/2 cup and left it out to add more later )

3/4 Teaspoon ground cinnamon ( I used 2 tsp and left it out to add some more later)

2 tbl. spoons and 2 tsp of margarine/butter

1/3 cup packed brown sugar ( I used 1/2 cup)

Something that is not in the original recipe that I used it vanilla extract. I use a generic store brand. I use this because the first time the outside of the dough tasted good but the inside was bland. I cut up the biscuits into fours and poked holes in them. The I let them sit in some vanilla extract. I did this first so there was enough time to soak.

Cooking:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 9 or 10 inch tube pan. I used my bread loaf pan, never actually measured it and it turned out fine.

2. Mix white sugar and cinnamon in plastic bag. Take your quartered biscuit pieces now. Out 3-4 in at a time and shake them (kids loved this!) Arrange pieces at the bottom of your pan. The sugar and cinnamon coating started to get pretty weak towards the end so I added more in. Just eye ball it. You know what your family likes.

3.In a small sauce pan, melt the margarine with the brown sugar over medium heat. I can be impatient so I used high heat and stayed there to stir it. Boil for 1 minute (this is when I turned the heat down some). Pour over the biscuits.

4.Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a plate. I put the plate on top and flip it all together.

DO NOT CUT! Take all the fun out of it for your kids to pull it apart. This will stay delicious for 2 days. I kept mine in the microwave and when we wanted more, I nuked it on high for 1 1/2 mins.

Lessons learned: As I home-school I think there is a lesson in everything. Here my kids first learned how to take turns. The older ones also learned compassion with the fact that there was also things that their little 2 year old sister could do. They learned some more math skills with measuring out the ingredients and home-economics with using the stove top (with me watching and ready to take over if needed) and the oven. You could even teach how to estimate here. Have them guess how many pieces there are in all and with that you could also do fractions. See lessons just start coming out! Of course there are times when the only lesson that needs to be taught is spending time together and the memories made. My best childhood memory is making popcorn balls with my mom and while we waited, dancing the tango in the kitchen.















Sunday, January 25, 2009

Home-school Mondays

MIA

Today's normal post for home-school Monday's will be MIA. We are on a lovely field trip to the Birch Aquarium. I have taken the camera and I am hoping to be able to share photos of our trip with you all in a Tuesday post. Until then, take a gander at a favorite of this house, Alphabet pancakes. They are a lot of fun and with the hands-on factor, it really help kiddos get into the spirit.

A popular web site lately for our pre-preschooler as she is starting to really master both upper and lower case letters, Starfall. I appreciate how it also includes the letter sound and is very user friendly. It is used as an award for pumpkin. Once she spends 20 or so minutes on upper and lower case flash cards, 1-10 number flash cards and the days of the week song, she gets time on the website. She has yet to grow tired of it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New in shop

I actually have two things that are new in shop this week. The first is an ecru colored washcloth / dishcloth set in a pretty shell pattern. There are three in this set. Several factors insipred this set. I love the color ecru. It goes with every kitchen or bath decor I have ever had. Secondly these are so much thicker then the ones that I can buy at Walmart. I like the deals I can find there but for as long as those things last (not long around here) I would like to have some crochet cotton ones. The longest I have had one last me, and I used it in the kitchen on dishes, stoves and oven cleaning mind you, was 5 years. Last is the design. I was crocheting a cardigan for one of my daughters and it used the shell pattern. I loved how delicate it looked whole still being close enough together for warmth that I decided to try it as a washcloth pattern. After some tweaking of it, I love how it turned out.

The second thing that is new (today) in my shop is some glittery star earrings with gold glitter. Naturally with three girls it was a matter of time before something with glitter made it to my shop. These earrings were completely insipred by my two eldest daughters, youngest still likes anything. The smiles on their faces were so big and bright. Made my heart swell up and my eyes water to see how thrilled they were. I know, sappy mom here but hey, my blog, my sappy moments. LOL

Well that is it for what is new now. I am working one a rose patine colored yarn for a Spa Facial scrubby and Pretty Shells Washcloth (1). I will be selling these as a set as well.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Etsy seller spotlight!!!

With Valentines Day fast approaching there are some cool things to be found on Etsy. Especially the Schooling At Home Estians Street Team .

Maybe you are a dad looking for something special for the two women (or more) in your life. What a thrill a mom and daughter would get to be able to wear matching necklaces! I know I would be over joyed to receive this. My daughters would also think it was 'so cool'. Little girls are always looking to dress up like mom. Or perhaps your daughter is close to her grandmother. What a wonderful way to show their bond. With this necklace set they will be able to. I have ordered a pair of earrings from MomPotter before and those are still my favorite pair of earrings!

Cooking with the kids (recipe included)


With a little patience you can cook with your kids. Just make sure that you have age appropriate tasks for them and there will be nothing but smiles (and some good memories).

I was craving some Green Bean casserole so that is what we made. For this you really need to have fresh green beans. I tried it once with canned and then swore I would never make it again! Don't be afraid of fresh food. I know it is easier to pick up the cans of veggies at the market but really it is cheaper if you do it yourself. For example: These greens need to be cleaned (ends snapped off) and halved. Right above them for $2 more there they were already done. No thank you. I have three kids and a husband to feed. I can do the work myself.

So now that you have your green beans you are going to need some assistants.


Here are mine. So cute!

Now at first I was going to have red here help snap the ends off the green beans but that proved too difficult for her. So I snapped them off. I showed her how to properly use a knife and she cut them into halves. Her 2 year old sister here got the halves and put them in the measuring cup and later the coliander. They had a blast and so did I. We then dragged a chair over to the sink and they each got a turn washing the green beans. Red got a pot to boil the green beans in and we set the timer for 10 minutes. In that time we cleaned our mess and then put the scraps in a bowl for the compost pile out back ( I still need to make it though ). Check your green beans maybe at 6 minutes to see of they are fork tender. As soon as they are, drain. Ready to eat or in our case use in our recipe.

Green Bean Casserole (can also be made the day ahead and reheated, i'll tell you that later)

Time: LOL You are cooking with kids. It'll take longer but taste better.

Ingredients:
2 cans (10 3/4 ounce ea) of Condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 Cup Milk
2 tsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper. Taste better with freshly ground pepper corns
8 cups cooked green beans (we did that above)
2 2/3 cups Frenches Fried Onions

Time to put it all together!

Put the soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper, beans and 1 1/3 cups onions in a 3 QT casserole dish. If you are making this a day ahead omit the onions.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 miutes or until it is bubbling. Stir the mixture and top with remaining onions. I like to put them on the outside perimeter
on the dish. Again if you are making this a day ahead omit the onions

Bake for another 5 minutes or until the onions are a golden brown. I had the assistants watch through the oven door and 'tell' me when it was done. I still set the time though because with littl ones you never know who will hit who first. I would end up forgetting that I was cooking. Bad I know.

Now you are done! This is a great recipe to do together. With homeschool and my own buisness
it can get hard to carve out the time. Planning ahead, even if it is that morining and only for that day helps. I like to set goals of what I would like to accomplish for the day rather than a To Do List. Just a play on words that makes a difference with me.

Okay now for if you make this dish a day ahead.....

You have just taken it out of the oven. I like to put it on my wire cookie rack to cool. Let cool to room temp. Cover will alum. foil and put in fridge.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Take alum. foil off . Now stir in those 1 1/3 cups of onions. Replace alum. foil losely over your casserole dish. This will help keep the heat in. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until bubbling. This way you know it is heated through. To cut down on cooking time you can set it for 15 mintues and at your halfway mark, stir it. When bubbling, add the remaining onions. Cook for additional 5 minutes or until they are golden brown. I almost think it tastes better this way.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. It really looks like a lot of work went into it when in reality it didn't. It is great for a homeschool lesson. Little ones can count the green beans, use them for addition, subtraction. They can also sort from big to small and group like ones together. Older ones can use them for muliplication and divison. They can also use the measuring cup. Sneak the lessons in whenever you can. Cooking is a great way to do it.Here is peanut mixing the ingredients before we add the green beans. She is an expert at this. :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Getting your monies worth


When you are in buisness for yourself every dollar matters more. You want to make sure that you are spending them the right way. If you have your own website then you want to know where people are finding you, what keywords are they using and when they are coming. If you have sold on Etsy for any length of time then you have probably heard of Timothy Adams Designs .

Once again he has come with some awesome advice and help for his fellow estians. Check out his latest blog entry here. There he will show you (great tutorial pics) how to go in and actually see when as in what time your site is getting the most traffic. You will able to manage when to list, relist and make some noise about your store on twitter, the forums or wherever you do it.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Home-school Mondays It's more than just books

I admit that at times it seams like we do a lot of book work, at least that is what my 9 year old says. So when she starts to get overwhelmed we switch to home economics. Some days it is cooking, like with the Cherry Chocolate Fudge and other days it is making things for Barbie! You can see by the smile on her face that this is really fun. Luckily I have an online store that I sell items I sew. That makes for plenty of scraps of fabric. Perfect size for a young seamstress to create with.

There will be days when you will need to get the work done. Just make sure that you leave a little time in there for something else too.

Making a web banner using your own pictures

** Picasa will not let you resize to 100. Only the 760. I would recommend that you resize your picture(s) that you want to use to 100 before hand. You can do this by using picnik.com , keep proportions when you do this so that picnik will not distort your picture(s).

Another way you can do it is to keep the Picasa window open, insert your banner to your shop. If if need to be cropped some more to fit then go back to Picasa and do that. The former way seems like it would be the easiest to me but there are your options.

Good Luck

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is something that I have always wanted to do. However I did not have the fancy expensive programs to do it in. And with this economy, I would rather try to do it on a free program. If you have read my blog for anytime you know that I have an Etsy store. I wanted to make a banner that used my products and looked nice and sharp. Here is how I did mine.

First download Picasa. It is free and it is here.

Here is the banner I made.

First step is to select the photos you want on your banner. When they are all collected in the selection tray (you can just click on them and they should show up there), click the collage button in the tool bar at the bottom to your right. Make sure to select the ‘Picture Pile’ type of collage so you can drag the photos into just the right order. Don't worry about them being the same size as you will be cropping them. Just make sure that you have them how you want them. Another cool thing with Picasa is that if you wanted one to be crooked you could do that.


When you finish, hit create collage and close your collage. You have a new picture. Next is to crop it, using the ‘manual’ size setting, into a banner, short and wide. Hit Apply when you have it cropped how you want. Now you can add writing if you would like also.


Here it is after cropping and adding some writing. Last step is to go under File and Export to folder. This will make a Folder in My Pictures just for your banner. When you export it make sure to size it to 760 for Etsy.


Your done! Aren't you proud of yourself?

Maraschino cherry Easy Microwave Fudge

I just made some of this yesterday and cut it out this morning. It is kid approved for yumminess. It get my mom stamp of approval because it is fast and easy and can be made with the kids.

Microwave Easy Fudge:

1 can Eagle Brand condensed milk
3 cups chocolate morsels
8x8 buttered pan
2 tsp. vanilla
Maraschino cherries

In glass bowel put in condensed milk and chocolate morsels. Microwave for 5 minutes on High. Take out and stir till smooth. Add cherries and vanilla. Mix. pour into buttered 8x8 pan. Let set over night. Cut and enjoy!

See told you it was easy and your kids and you will love making it!


Here is another take on it. If you do not like vanilla or cherries.

1 can Eagle Brand condensed milk
3 cups chocolate morsels
1/2 stick butter
Nuts (optional)

In glass bowel microwave first two ingredients on high for 5 minutes. Take out and stir, then add the butter and microwave for 5 more minutes. Take out and mix in nuts if desired. Place in buttered 8x8 pan and place in the refrigerator over night. Cut into small squares or whatever size you want and enjoy. I think these would also taste good with some shredded coconut mixed in.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

An apology

I have been lacking in posts lately. I hope to be able to post at least 3 times a week.

This last week has been challenging. This last Sunday my 4 year old swallowed a connect four piece, still pending on if it will come out without surgery. There was an ambulance ride were I was able to reconfirm that yes, I do get severely motion sick. At least the gurney was large enough for my daughter and myself when we got to the ER.Then my husband caught a stomach bug and we were back in the emergency room ( without the ambulance ride) for dehydration. I am sure that the hospital is in love with our insurance company. Just wanted you who read to know I am not purposely flaking on posting and that next week shall be better. Until then, I have two sale sections set up in my store. One is 40% off and the other is 50% off. Check them out here.

New Items



I love how these earrings turned out. Earrings are a new thing in the shop of Rachel's Aprons. Resonably priced with excellent workmanship so that you can get something for yourself or a little gift without breaking your wallet. It really cannot get better than that. I am excited to be adding them. I hope that you enjoy them.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Home-school Mondays Thinking outside the box

Thinking outside the box.

While I was doing a Geography lesson with my 3rd grader I noticed the 1,000 mile stare coming from her. Not only that but I had two little ones that were being anything but quiet. Being as they are not big fans of T.V ( I am probably to blame, I don't watch to much of it myself), watching a movie was out of the question.

And then it hit me. We HOME-SCHOOL! Duh I know, but seriously. Who says we have to look at the pictures in the book. So we made the lesson out of blankets, some strategically moved couches and chairs and a fold out table we use when camping. Not only did we get rid of the boredom but we also were able to include the little ones. I was able to see what my eldest was learning because she was teaching it to her 4 year old sister. They were learning and they did not even know it. I love home-schooling.

So don't be afraid to think outside of the box. If you are new to home-schooling then break away from the traditional teaching done in the class room. Make it fun. Do crafts to teach the subject or find a way to lead it to something they love. And they do not have to be expensive supplies wither. Markers, crayons, glue, and some huge thing of construction paper from Walmart will make them happy. For example, my 3rd grader loves sharks. The whole gory mess of them, eww. But it was a great way to do math drills. Addition, add sharks. Subtraction, have sharks eat other little fish. You can draw pictures of it if you want but for her it was enough just to think of those numbers as sharks and this is something that we are carrying in to multiplication and division. While multiplication will take longer for her to retain she loves division.

Friday, January 9, 2009

New Apron Fabrics


My creation
Originally uploaded by Rachels Aprons

Flowers for spring, hearts for love and skulls for the funky in you.

These are available as custom aprons for you.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hump Day Sale

As I am having a massive savings sale in my shop already I am not going to post one item for sale today. Instead go on over to my shop. On sale are things for facials, the kitchen, the bathroom and even for the crafter or craft show person. Sale will be ending this Sunday 11:00 pm PST.

As for today I have listed a new Wristlet Key Fob for the Cheerleader in your life. Check it out and give someone a useful personalized gift.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New in shop

A Key fob for the handyman (or woman) in your life. You can purchase it at my Etsy shop. I will be listing a new one everyday until I have them all listed. Some that I have are soccer, princess, several polka dot ones, baseball/softball, over the hill, and other measuring tape ones with different backgrounds. If you are local to me then you can find them for sale at Ramona Locksmith located behind the Chevron station on Main Street. You may even find my hubby behind the desk.


Here is my hubby. LOL I love the picture they did.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Homeschool Mondays

Ideally I would like to be able to share something of my homeschool experience every Monday. Of course with a buisness to run, three kiddos, a home, and homeschooling it may be more of a dream then a reality. But hey, here we go.

Alphabet Pancakes.

I woke up one morning this last week thinking of how I would make school more exciting the coming week. Especially since we are coming off of a two week break for Christmas.
I have a preschooler and a third grader here at home and as much as I can I have been trying to integrate their studies together. Reading of stories is easy to do as well as sight word practice, especially when I can get them to play 'school' and use the flashcards that we have. It is fun for them and they retain so much more than being lectured to. Lecturing is boring anyways. I much prefer hands on.

Still trying to master letter sounds with my preschooler and spelling words with my third grader, the idea of Alphabet pancakes was born! My kids loved them! A my preschooler was so happy to reach on the plate and pick letters. She had to tell me the sound and a word that began with the sound before she could eat them. With help of course. S, my third grader, got to spell words. The spelling of words is going to take some pre-planning on your part. Or you can throw in some home economics and have your child make the pancakes.Just make sure that you supervise as needed. As you can see from the picture below, S is Shiloh. Her eyes twinkled to see her name spelled out in pancakes.
I shapped the letters by spooning out the batter but if you have one of those cookie pressers (a tube one) then it would be so much easier to do.

Huge Sale

I am having a sale till 1-11-09 11:00 pm PST. See my sections to find all the items that are 40% off and see my Christmas section for items that are 50% off.

www.rachelsaprons.etsy.com