Monday, June 14, 2010

Homemade Bread

Lately I've been trying to establish a weekly rhythm to help us get everything done. One thing I noticed was that I would plan to bake a few things (including bread) as part of our weekly menus, for sandwiches and the like, but then when it wouldn't happen I would have to scramble for an alternate lunch plan. more! I think Monday is the perfect day for baking around here. I'm always in the kitchen anyway, since there are usually some dishes to catch up on after the weekend, and since I'm still feeling a wee bit lethargic after two days of quietER to do lists, baking seems to be just the thing. This week I tested a new bread recipe that I really love! I have one other I would like to test, but I'm about 95% sold on this one...I just want to check the other out because never know! ;) So...found on all recipes, here is my current favorite...


  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 3 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar (I used turbinado)
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 10 cups bread flour
In the mixing bowl of an electric mixer, stir together 1/2 cup warm water, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/4 cup bread flour, and yeast. Let grow for about 5 minutes. It will bubble almost immediately.
Measure oats, 4 1/2 cups warm water, whole wheat flour, salt, 2/3 cup sugar, and 2/3 cup oil into the mixing bowl. Mix on low speed with a dough hook for 1 to 2 minutes. Increase speed slightly, and begin adding bread flour 1/2 to 1 cup at a time until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. Humidity determines how much flour you need before the bread pulls away from the edge of the bowl. It is normal for the dough to be sticky.
Place dough in an greased bowl (*note* I had to use my two largest mixing bowls, and it really really filled them once it had risen! One bowl is certainly not large enough unless you have a Really Really mammoth fit-a-two-year-old-in-it bowl), and turn to coat the surface. Cover with a damp cloth. Let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Divide dough into 6 pieces. Shape loaves, and place in greased 8 x 4 inch pans. Let rise until dough is 1 inch above rim of pans, usually 1 hour. (*note* clearly, I did this a bit differently, since I only have 2 loaf pans...I would really love to get some of these to expand my collection, but that's just currently not an we have a variety to chose from!)

Bake at 350 degrees F ( 175 degrees C) for 30-35 minutes, or until tops are browned. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

WIP Wednesday:: Better late than never!

How cute is that foot?? My third ever sock, from this pattern. I'm really loving it... hopefully I'll have the pair finished by the end of the week!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Jenny's New Dress

Okay, so since the pictures uploaded backwards, you get the peak at my current project first instead of time to fight with blogger today! I'm sure you'll understand?
I completely love my rotary cutter and mat! Pink is definitely one of the best colors out there!
(organic vanilla chai in my favorite mug ~*yum*~)
Exciting stuff that! Hopefully I'll have more progress to share with you soon! Back to the regularly scheduled programing...

This has to be my favorite sewing project for a while now; it was such a sweet pattern and fits just exactly like I wanted it too. Isn't it nice when everything works?? I used an older pattern from my mom's stash; McCalls P465 from their 130th anniversary collection. For those interested, if you Google it there are lots of patterns available from small shops and on etsy; there is one with sizes 3-6 and one with 8-14. I made her a size 3, with the size 4 skirt length and it's the perfect length on her...she's not especially tall, I just like to start a dress with as much growing room as possible! The only other change I made was to eliminate the neck facings (hate them) and replace them with single fold bias tape that hand sewed down. The lace you can see at the neck is from the slip I made her with McCall's 4505, view A, (which I loved btw, very sweet and easy!). I'm excited to make her a few more dresses like this once I make some more progress on a few other projects. This should hold her for now though! Now for more pictures of my beautiful girl in her blue dress...

I just love that girl!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Little girls, in little dress that I made...

My niece's birthday is on Tuesday, so in honor of her fourth year I made her this dress. :) It was Simplicity 5695, in the size 4, with a pattern envelope worth of width added at the bottom (where IS my measuring tape??). I really love how it turned out, and I'm hoping to make several more dresses with this pattern. No buttons or zippers to catch on braids, I completely love the ruffle. :)

Miss Charlotte in her new dress...she's just the cutest thing ever! (8 braids for her octopus party)
Of course they were never standing still, but I realized that all three of the girls were in dresses I have made. !! Little Zoey's was Charlotte's Easter dress two years ago, Jenny's is her new dress (pictures coming tomorrow), and of course Charlotte was trying on her new dress right away.

Check back tomorrow for some new pictures of Miss Jenny and better pictures (and details) of her new dress. Enjoy what's left of your Sunday!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Plans for this weekend...

It's going to be a very pleasant afternoon around here, I'm making the above pattern (view D) for my niece's fourth birthday, and I have a slip to make for under Jenny's new dress...maybe I'll even get to the bloomers. :) Pictures of both dresses will be coming this week, so be sure to check back!

This morning it's off to the farmer's market to get our CSA share, then to go visit Joe's family while they're still in town. Then the sewing and gardening will begin...homemade pizza for dinner tonight! Oh, and I'm testing out a new bread recipe so if it's good I'll be sharing that this week as well.

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

WIP Wednesday:: My Home Management Guide

(the above picture has nothing to do with this post, but it was just so pretty I wanted to share!)
Lately things around here have gotten...well, chaotic. In the untidy sense! I hate it when the house gets like this (which lately has been most of the time), but always feel at a loss for what to do about it. I have toyed with the idea of a home binder before (FLYlady calls them control journals) but have never really taken the time to pull together even the basic steps. Mostly because I wasn't sure what they were! Enter this wonderful blog: Want What You Have, particularly This section. My friend shared the link with me and I've been working slowly but surely on it since that night. I have a long way to go, but I think that with the daily schedule and cleaning lists in place I have enough to start putting it into action! So I thought I'd give you a little peak inside what I'm working on... pictures should all be clickable if you want to read what I have.
For starters, my binder is a 3" wide Avery conference D-ring binder, with a one hand ring opener, front and back interior pockets and clear vinyl pockets on the outside. (sounds like a car, huh?)
(the section papers I have are from a system called the Maidservant, I never could get going with this one, but I do love the pages! The booklet that comes with it is helpful too) My first section is "Prayer", but right now it only has a layout of what to read each day to complete the Bible in a year. So I'll show that later when it's more useful. Today is about the "Cleaning" section.
Let me start by saying that I think the key to this thing working is the pretty paper. I got mine at Staples, and for about $14.00 I got 200 sheets and I L-O-V-E it! Opening up to see this really makes a big difference! I put all of my pages into clear page protectors, so they stay nice and neat and tidy. (And if I have changes to make I can either stick a tabby with my notes right onto it, or just write it on with a dry erase marker to be wiped off later.) Okay, where was I....
First I have our new daily schedule. New. Like, I just finished it. We start tomorrow, trying for a half day, and the after dinner part, we'll work our way up from there! It's simple and straight forward, and takes the thinking out of my day. Because really, I'm terribly scatter brained these days and I just can't count on my brain to be there when I need it!
Then I have my day-of-the-week jobs. When you're making up your lists, she actually has you make your daily tasks list first, (which I did) but for a two page layout, I liked having this next. A simple break down of what has to happen each day of the week to avoid a really big cleaning day. That works for some people I realize, but with two small children each day is too much of a variable to be able to say "Friday I scrub my whole house", where as I can plan an hour or two's worth of work and spread it out as I can over the day.
Flip the page and you will see my Daily Tasks. These are those jobs that absolutely must happen or you will be embarrassed to open the door all the way type things. Bare bones, "get these things done and you will be able to sleep at night" type things. I have planned 40 minutes in the morning, and 40 minutes in the afternoon, along with a few reminders of things I should be doing throughout the day.
Thursday is my Kitchen Deep cleaning day, so here I have all of my tasks listed out for that day.
Almost every day, in addition to the day-of-the-week jobs, I have a spot for one monthly/quarterly or bi-annual job. I can just choose which one I feel like doing/have the time for (etc.) and knock it off of my list so that I don't have to have just one giant day to take care of them all. An exciting idea, don't you think?
Now, this isn't in my binder, but it is helpful to me. I have another copy of my daily schedule printed up and in a clear page protector on my fridge. This allows for quick referencing, and serves as a visual reminder to stay on target throughout the day. (Jenny was thrilled that she got a piece of special paper lol)
And this little $5.00 magnetic white board is the best marriage tool ever! Joe likes me to just write what I need him to do/have on his radar down, but we were always loosing the list and it just wasn't working well. Neither was me "reminding" him. So this is great. :) I found it and the day of the week magnets at WalMart. I just jot down what I need him to do that day (a big job on the weekend or something like that), and when he gets home from work he checks it and most days he can get right to it. I don't have to remember (or forget) anything and he doesn't have to be "reminded" whenever I see him. ;)

Look out for some finished project posts coming soon!
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