Another Busy (Blessed) Day in the Life of CraftyDad

Ready for the Season

With all the rain we’ve had during the past several weeks, I’ve had no need to use the sprinklers. So…I had no need to test the sprinklers.  Until tonight.

I just got finished and ALL the sprinkler heads are working!  That is a-mazing.  There’s always one or two that get busted up from the snowplow or a snow shovel that went over the driveway and into the yard.  But this year:  SUCCESS.  Everything is working just fine.

Busy Day

Let’s see.  What else did I do today?

Oh yeah, I worked from 8-5, stopped at the garden and watered the plants that we set out over the weekend.  My green beans have popped through the soil (excited about that).  Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, watermelon and zucchini all looked good.

The deer has not been through our spots lately.  Hopefully all the five-foot tomato stakes will scare him (her/them) off.

After the stop at the garden I got home and had a quick dinner.  Chicken stir-fry (thanks Honey, it was wonderful!).  Then…I made a dozen triple-berry muffins and a dozen chocolate chip muffins.

I’m taking some of each to work tomorrow to share with my team.  They turned out REALLY nice.  You should try the recipe.  It’s fantastic!

It’s 9:06 PM and time to get the kids settled down for bed.

Tomorrow is another busy day.  Plus a band concert in the evening.

So Thankful

It’s great to be alive.  And busy.  The alternative?  Not so good.

 

Mixed-Berry Muffins: You Gotta Try These!

 

Part of my money-saving tactics (see upcoming post on budgeting) is eating at home and making things (like muffins) from scratch.  Muffins at the grocery store bakery are 99 cents apiece.  So…a dozen muffins would be (you got it!) $12.00.  That’s crazy!

I can make them for much less.  My favorite muffin recipe is one I found a few years back in the cookbook,  Once Upon a Tart…: Soups, Salads, Muffins, and More.  Page 274 is the Apple-Cranberry Muffins recipe.  I substitute frozen mixed berries for the apples and cranberries (although the original recipe is excellent too).  They are fantastic — especially served warm with butter.  Here are the details:

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 medium-size tart apple* (such as Granny Smith) cored (not peeled) and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries**

Instructions:

  1. Position oven rack so that it’s in the center.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Smear twelve muffin tin cups with butter OR insert muffin cup liners.  I prefer the liners.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together in a bowl.
  3. In a separate, large bowl, whisk the eggs to break up the yolks.  Still whisking with one hand, pour in the sugar with the other.  Continue whisking for a few minutes, until the eggs begin to pale in color.  Use the whisk to stir in the oil and vanilla.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring gently with a wooden spoon until there’s just a little flour visible.  Add the apple and cranberries OR mixed berries and stir gently until there is not a trace of flour left.
  5. Scoop the batter up with a wooden or metal spoon (I use a medium-size melon ball scoop) and into the muffin tin cups, filling each almost to the top.  Divide the batter evenly between twelve cups.
  6. Place the muffin pan on the center rack in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a small knife or toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  7. Remove the muffin pan from the oven and place on a wire rack.  Let the muffins rest for a few minutes in the tin, until they’re cool enough to touch.  To remove the muffins, flip the tin upside down and let the muffins fall out onto the wire rack to cool completely.  Or, better yet, serve warm.

 

These are SO good. Your should make a batch…soon!

 

*I substitute 1 cup frozen mixed-berries for the apple

**I omit the cranberries

Prom Night: Such a Handsome Dude!

This is Nate.  My sixteen year-old son.

 

WHOOSH!

Time has a way of flying by.  You already knew that.  But…if you have little kids…please be extra aware that in the blink of an eye they’ll be going to school.  Learning how to drive.  And going to the prom.

Click to continue…

Flowers and Friends

This is just a sampling of the flowers we bought last weekend.  Wow…there are Impatiens, Marigolds, Begonias and a few other selections.  My wife was busy on Sunday getting all the pots cleaned up and planted for the summer season.

[Read more...]

Fabric Coaster Kits

 

I’m working on putting together Fabric Coaster Kits for the shop.

With a ton of fabric around here, I have lots of options and will be happy to share it with you.

Each kit will contain the following:

  • 4 pre-cut print fabric squares
  • 4 pre-cut solid fabric squares
  • 4 pre-cut flannel squares (to use as batting)
  • Step-by-step instructions (with photos)

Stay tuned for details!

 

Garden Time with Matt

 

This is why I love gardening with my youngest son.

He has so much fun.  And that makes me happy.

Enough said.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Getting Personal

I don’t get too personal with you guys here on the blog, but I want to share this with you.  And…let it serve as a memorial to my mom.

My mom passed away 16 years ago.  It was sudden. It was unexpected.  It was horrible.  She had colon cancer.  They removed a large section of her colon and she was doing really well.  A few days after one of her chemo treatments she complained of a bad stomach ache.  It got worse and worse and the doctor admitted her to the hospital.

They tried all kinds of treatment and medicine, including morphine.  Still:  a horrible ache in her gut.  When they were out of options, they performed abdominal surgery and found a blood clot.  It was too advanced for treatment:  her intestines had lost all flow of blood.  There was nothing they could do.

I can still remember the doctor telling me and my dad and brother and sister and uncle the news.  We were stunned.  Silent.  Dumbfounded.  Fighting back tears and my voice cracking, I think I was the first to ask:  “So.  You’re saying she isn’t going to make it?”  With one word, the doctor told us all, “Right.”  Followed by, “I’m sorry.”  That’s when the earth stopped revolving for me.

How Do You Tell Your Mom She’s Dying?

She would be ‘kept comfortable’ and within 48-72 hours she would be gone.  She was only fifty-five years old.  Too young to be ‘gone’.  She would miss out on spending time with my first son, Nate.  He was just two months old.  He and his brother would never have the honor of knowing my mom.  It was a shame.  As a family, we decided that Mom needed to be told that she was dying.  Oh, but HOW do you do that?  What words do you use?  How do you tell your mom that she’s dying?  How?  My dad couldn’t do it.  It was up to me.  It was probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.  Ever.

I explained to her that they found a blood clot in her intestines and that it was really bad.  I think she understood what I was saying…without me having to say it.  She knew it was the end.  My heart sank.  And continued to sink.  It hurt so bad to stand beside her bed, knowing that she knew her remaining time was short.  She told us to stay close as a family.  That was important to her.  Had always been important her.

We stayed at the hospital for the next two days.  Towards the end of the second day we knew she was leaving us quickly.  First she was burning up and then she was cold.  We tried to comfort her in any way we could.    Her breathing became erratic and then.  She was gone.

Proud. Loving. Giving.

My mom was so very proud of her kids and her family.  She was the most giving person I ever knew.  She gave and gave and gave and seldom got in return.  I miss her so much and think of her often.  I absolutely hate the fact that she never got to know my boys.  I cry over that fact.  It hurts me to know that they never shared a laugh or a tear with their grandma.  She would be so very proud of them.  I see my mom in both Nate and Matt.  Their looks and their sense of humor remind me of Mom every day.  God, I miss her so much.

A Small Token of Love to Share With You

To pass along her constant outpouring of love and giving, I offer you a small gift.  In honor of Mom, I’ve created a PDF of instructions to create a set of fabric coasters .  The tutorial is my gift to you.  You can make the coasters and give them away as gifts.  Click here to download the PDF.

Nothing would make me happier.   To pay it forward.  To share something small and make a big impact.  I think that would make my mom happy too.

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 8th

One last thing:  have a great Mother’s Day.  If you’re close to your Mom, that’s terrific.  If you’re not, why not take a step to be closer?  Call her.  Send her a card.  Tell her that you love her.  Would you do that for me?

The Gift — and a Small Favor to Ask of You

Please.  Do me a big favor:  Talk about this post.  Blog about it.  Tweet about it.  Put a link to this blog post on your Facebook page.  Help me spread the word about my mom and the free tutorial in her memory.  Help me share my mom’s love with the world.

 


Royal Collection Moving Slower Than I Wanted


Taking Inventory

Raw materials are accumulating nicely.  It’s the labor that seems to be dragging.  REALLY dragging.

I’ve pulled together some British color-themed fabric and even found a small flag to give this post some authentic British oomph.  However, I’ve not found the time to wash, dry, press, cut, sew, turn and photograph the finished good.

Hang in there.  I have grand ideas.  I’m just lacking the T-I-M-E to get things going.

Sick Bay

Kids are sick.  I’m sick.  Sinus infections.  Strep throat.  Oh yeah, we have it all.  By the time I get home from work and have dinner, I feel like doing nothing.  And that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing.

One Down.  Several to Go.

I did get this done.  It was sitting in the ‘work in process’ pile.  I only needed to fold, press, sew and turn (and photograph) this one.  Lighting was bad in this photo.  But I decided to share it with you anyway.  I’m a big fan of brown and blue.  This little gem needs to find a home in my Etsy shop.  Yep.  Need to do that too.

 

I’ve Moved! Yes…the Crafty Dad Blog Has Moved!

The blog is over here now.

Please come over and see what’s going on.

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