Thursday, January 31, 2013

Crispy Potato Fans

My Mom made potato fans for us when were kids on a regular basis- we loved them and yet I've yet to make them at 623 E. 68th St...until now:)

'Ricky' commented that they were the best potatoes he had tasted in awhile:)  And they're easy!

So, start with your choice of potato- I used red here.  Scrub and slice 1/4 inch off each end and the back so the potato will lie flat.

Then grab a chopstick (stay with me), placing it at the top of the potato, perpendicular to your knife- as you slice the potato in 1/4 inch intervals, the chopstick will keep your knife from slicing completely through the potato, efficiently fanning!  Works like a charm!

Place prepped spuds on foil lined baking sheet, brush with Olive Oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper- place in 400 degree oven for 25-30 mins or when skins are crisp & lightly browned.

Much healthier than mashed, fried etc... and so yummy:)

Thanks for looking,

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Reusable Kleenex

With lots of noses being blown & wiped this past week, the Ricardo's wholesale supply of tissues were depleted...and since I didn't fancy a trip to Costco for more potential bugs, I hatched an alternative.

While cleaning out clothes and organizing our closet one evening I found multiple white T-shirts & tank tops of mine that had seen better days & contemplated ditching them but hesitated...surely there was something I could do with them...more cleaning cloths?  Have plenty...and then I remembered seeing something about fabric tissues being gentler on skin vs paper!

So I promptly laid out the clean T-shirts on my cutting mat & with my handy dandy rotary cutter, cut squarish shapes with very little precision- wasn't trying to win any awards here...just clean boogies:)

We've been using these handy dandy reusable tissues for 3 days now & plan to make more!  I so wish I had done this sooner!  When the Ricardos are back to complete health I'll continue to use them to wipe little mouths after eating:)

Thanks for looking,

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Model to a T

Back in the fall I made a little ensemble for Livy for under $10 and was quite proud of it, especially it being my first:)  However, the sleeves were a bit long & then by the time I added cuffs, they were way too long!  So it has sat in Livy's dresser...

 And then I finally remembered to shorten the sleeves- this worked like a charm but I didn't like how the new seam looked with the existing top stitching etc... so I added some yellow grosgrain and coordinating hot pink buttons for beautification:)

 I also added the ribbon to the hem of the skirt and around the large flower adorning the shirt...and now I really love it!  And best of all, so does Livy:)

Livy wore this to church and seemed quite pleased with herself and has since taken to bringing me her play scissors and saying, "Cut my dress, Mama" aka 'Make me another dress'!!!

On to the next!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Homemade Cinnamon Cough Syrup

Yes, my little Ms are still battling virus...stuff...and now 'Ricky' & I are too:(

So, here's another crunchy remedy that we've tried this go around: Cinnamon Honey cough syrup- full of antioxidants, anti- bacterial, anti- viral, boosting the immune system...yes, please:)

Simply combine 1 part Cinnamon to 4 parts honey (preferably raw), mix and swallow- do this twice daily for 3 days and you should see results!

If the whole family is under the weather, mix 1/4 cup Cinnamon & 1 cup honey for easy dosing.  For my trial run I made 3 doses (3/4 tsp Cinnamon & 3 tsp honey)- I got almost a whole tsp into Livy and approx 1/2 into's definitely a therapeutic amount of Cinnamon:)

We're currently on day 1 but still have high hopes to hear less coughing from my little Ms tonight!

Note: Honey should not be given to tots under 1 year!

Thanks for looking,

Saturday, January 26, 2013

DIY Rice Therapy Pillow

I'm so glad to be sharing this with you today- I loved how this project turned out:)

That's me feeling chuffed after finishing these at O dark thirty one night...and yes, I am often running around in one of Ricky's old shirts, sans maekup these days...sigh.

So, after scrounging online for specifics on dimensions/materials/design for rice pillows, I came to the conclusion that this is based on personal preference:)  So, I chose a natural linen for the pillow and then made a removable cover from cotton &/or flannel.

There were ALL kinds of contradicting info on what to use as a filler too- I chose rice with the condition that I kept it in the freezer for 3 wks before using and recommended to recipients to store their pillows in the freezer, avoiding any potential 'bug' issues.  The filler can be scented with essential oils but I opted not to- the 'naked' rice evokes a nuttiness when warmed that I find quite pleasant and also keeps it neutral:)

First I made a small "boo boo" pillow for dear friend, Sylvia and found a funnel very helpful for filling approx 3/4 full; I didn't notate my dimensions for this (surprise, surprise!) but I believe it was approx 5x7 inches (minus seam allowances).


Then I set out to make neck pillows for Granddaddy & Chef Timmy, approx 16x6 (minus seam allowances)- I made the pillow the same size as the cover and had no problem fitting them together, as I wanted a snug fit:)

For the neck pillows, I filled just 2/3 so the rice could spread & conform more comfortably:)

 For Chef Timmy's pillow, I got very creative and made one side cotton and the other flannel.  This seemed appropriate since the pillow can be used for hot or cold therapy!  Flannel for the hot and cotton for the cold...we'll see if he can figure that out:)

This lovely polka dot cotton print is one of the fat quarters from the Stampin' Up! Essentials Designer set and it matched my random flannel plaid beautifully!

There are lots of tutorials online for this project- I found this one helpful:)

These therapy pillows make lovely gifts and can be made in countless shapes & sizes- have fun!

Thanks for looking,

Friday, January 25, 2013

Homemade Vapo Rub

I did it.  Yes, I made homemade vapo rub but I also assumed I would never need to make this:(  After a fabulous family vacation last week, it would appear that my little Ms picked up a cold/virus en route home.

Well, it's actually a toss up between the health hazards of traveling and a visit to Chick-fil-A that occurred within the next 24 hrs.  Since I'm still doing laundry from yesterday as a result of Jonah emptying his stomach twice after hacking his little lungs to pieces, and I'm rather sleep deprived from multiple nights of being up every hour and emotionally drained from seeing my little champion suffer, I would like to digress for just a moment to make a very heartfelt appeal:

Please don't take your sick child out!!!  And if you absolutely have to, don't take them to a Chick-fil-A play area!!!

I work hard to keep my little Ms home while ill, avoiding other germs as well as endeavoring to keep others from an unwanted when I go out with them, I've foolishly been expecting other parents to be just as responsible/conscientious.  Obviously, to no avail.

On the flight home, I heard a toddler hacking directly behind us- I understand things happen while away, so ok.  However, while in Chick-fil-A the next day, I heard a 2 y/o girl hacking horribly and then her Dad brought her into the play area!  I had one of those "Mom" moments where you want to run in & save your kid but I opted to be polite and allowed Livy to play with the little girl for a few measly minutes, then whisked her out and swabbed her hands with sanitizer...  The sick child's father informed me that they had just been to swim class!  Really?  Come on, people!  I understand that living in South Texas is the allergy capital of the U.S. but having some experience as a Respiratory Therapist, I could tell this kiddo was sick.  Ergo, stay home!

So, ALL of that (thanks for letting me vent for a moment...or two) to say that I made homemade vapo rub...and love it!  I originally saw the recipe here and took her advice to be conservative in the addition of essential oils- I then went back and added a bit more.

Homemade Vapo Rub Recipe:
3 Tbsp Coconut Oil, melted
3-5 drops Tea Tree Oil
6-10 drops Rosemary oil

Result:  Livy slept better, coughing less and the rub seemed to act as an expectorant for Jonah, resulting in a vast improvement in his cough.  I placed the rub on Jonah's feet with socks too.  And the kids didn't mind having this warm liquid slathered on their chests/feet= bonus!

So, while I pray you don't need to make this, if you do, this is way better & way cheaper than the commercial stuff!  Now back to cuddling my little Ms and sorting more laundry:)


Friday, January 18, 2013

Vintage Apron

Here's another Christmas gift.  I wanted to make an apron for Leyla...

...and I found this orange print at Creative Sewing Center (LOVE!) & felt it fit the 'orange & vintagey' criteria for Leyla:)

 Next I decided to pair it with this Stampin' Up! print- perfect match!

Here is the apron pocket in progress- love the contrast of the fabrics:)

I followed the Stampin' Up! tutorial for the apron (be sure you're looking at the right one- there is a youth & adult size!) with just a few tweaks, of course:
  • I used ribbon for the belt
  • I didn't scallop the pocket
  • I added extra top stitching
This project is easy to alter so have fun with it- I would recommend enclosing the raw edges which was not specified on the tutorial.

 Here Livy was helping me make some design decisions- no frills & ruffles, since this was for a "no nonsense" girl:)

I did add the Stampin' Up! Chocolate striped ribbon for the waistband & ties and a jumbo button for the finishing touches...and did I bother to take a pic of this project, completed?  Of course not!  I completely forgot as I was rushing to get it wrapped!  Sorry:(  Hopefully you can piece it together with the pics though.

I plan on making another though...and maybe another for me- love aprons!  So many possibilities!

Thanks for looking,

Friday, January 11, 2013

Disneyworld, Here We Come!

Tomorrow vacation starts- yeah!  And this is where we're headed:


 Disney's Wildreness Lodge!  This will be our 2nd stay at Wildreness & we're SO excited!

The wonderfully rustic lobby with a high ceiling at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

 The lobby is colossal and one can get lost in the architectural details or pull up a rocking chair near the mammoth fire place, a favorite resting spot:)  And since this is Disney, there are numerous 'kid coves' where old Mickey Mouse cartoons are being played with appropriate sized furniture for our little M's:)

Some of the projected highlights will included meeting up with extended family at Downtown Disney...

Meet Winnie the Pooh and Tigger in Fantasyland

... and then checking out the newly redesigned Fantasyland!!!  I can't wait!!!

Nighttime view of Silver Creek Springs pool featuring a waterslide and a hot tub

I'm also looking forward to taking some family walks in the evening around the resort- what's not to love?

Until tomorrow though, back to laundry & packing:)  Look forward to sharing some sweet details when we get back!

Have a great weekend,

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Maple Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Here it is, courtesy of America's Test Kitchen:
Maple Glazed Pork Tenderloin

  • 3/4 cup maple syrup (see note)
  • 1/4 cup molasses, light or mild
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon or brandy
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground cloves
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 pork tenderloins (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds each) 
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard


  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Stir ½ cup maple syrup, molasses, bourbon, cinnamon, cloves, and cayenne together in 2-cup liquid measure; set aside. Whisk cornstarch, sugar, salt, and black pepper in small bowl until combined. Transfer cornstarch mixture to rimmed baking sheet. Pat tenderloins dry with paper towels, then roll in cornstarch mixture until evenly coated on all sides. Thoroughly pat off excess cornstarch mixture.
  2. 2. Heat oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just beginning to smoke. Reduce heat to medium and place both tenderloins in skillet, leaving at least 1 inch in between. Cook until well browned on all sides, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer tenderloins to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet.
  3. 3. Pour off excess fat from skillet and return to medium heat. Add syrup mixture to skillet, scraping up browned bits with wooden spoon, and cook until reduced to ½ cup, about 2 minutes. Transfer 2 tablespoons glaze to small bowl and set aside. Using remaining glaze, brush each tenderloin with approximately 1 tablespoon glaze. Roast until instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of tenderloins registers 130 degrees, 12 to 20 minutes. Brush each tenderloin with another tablespoon glaze and continue to roast until instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of tenderloins registers 135 to 140 degrees, 2 to 4 minutes longer. Remove tenderloins from oven and brush each with remaining glaze; let rest, uncovered, 10 minutes.
  4. 4. While tenderloins rest, stir remaining ¼ cup maple syrup and mustard into reserved 2 tablespoons glaze. Brush each tenderloin with 1 tablespoon mustard glaze. Transfer meat to cutting board and slice into ¼-inch-thick pieces. Serve, passing extra mustard glaze at table.

    Scrumptious- hope you enjoy!!!


Monday, January 7, 2013

A Day Downtown

A few months back, the Ricardos went for a double decker bus tour in downtown SA.  So with Jonah in my lap and Livy with 'Ricky', we set out for adventure!  The tour was fabulous and came with many perks...


  Livy was thrilled to pick leaves from the top branches of trees, while secure in Daddy's lap:)

And Jonah napped while Livy cuddled, enjoying the fresh air:)

 Once we finished the tour, Livy enthusiastically embraced Jonah, thanking him for coming along!

And as we made our way back to the car, Livy began what has since been an almost daily request: "Dayi, I wan ride big buzz wi you!"

Next we made our way to Mad Hatters for a yummy lunch, crowned with a humongous slice of cheesecake...

...that was an obvious favorite with Jonah as he polished off most of it!

This mini vacation day became one of the wonderful highlights for the Ricardos in 2012- can't wait to create more in 2013!  And yes, Livy is still requesting another ride on the "big buzz":)

Enjoy your Monday,

Saturday, January 5, 2013

DIY Bath Tea Bags

So here is another handmade gift that was included in the Christmas hampers: bath tea bags:)

I got my inspiration from here and then just ad libbed a bit...big surprise:)

First things first, what to use as a pouch- so many options and though I wanted to sew my own, due to time constraints, I opted for the Melitta heat & seal bags (got mine at HEB)- they're disposable (cringe) but also made from unbleached & bio degradable material.

Next I bought some organic hibiscus tea (from here of all places!), Epsom salts that included peppermint essential oil and baking soda (aids with hard water) and mixed it up (approx 1:1 ratio) in a glass bowl- avoid plastic as it absorbs scents.

Why this recipe?

Hibiscus: full of antioxidants, vitamin C and evokes a sense of renewal & pampering.
Peppermint: aids in mental alertness, soothes tired muscles, relieves headaches, nourishes dull skin, improves blood circulation & immunity, just to name a few!

Next I spooned the tea into the bags, folded over and sealed with my handy dandy iron on the cotton setting.  The filled tea bags were piled into an array of glass jars, ready for their recipients!

I attached handmade tags with simple instructions to steep for 5 mins, soak & enjoy!  On Christmas morning, once unwrapped, Mr. "Cue" mentioned he might just try them as they smelled so good:)

Planning on making some for me now and experimenting with different combinations:)

Thanks for looking,

Friday, January 4, 2013

Cherry Cobbler Creation

 In my parents Christmas hamper, I intended to include a custom bulletin board for my Mom's studio, decked with Stampin' Up! fabric & accessories.  Alas, it wasn't completed in time for Christmas morning and so it was just delivered today and thankfully, the recipient (BFF!) was very understanding!

I started with a damaged frame, unexpectedly found in a back corner at Hobby that it mimics the 'top note'!

 I sealed up the crack with Liquid Nails, held together for a few minutes and allowed to dry overnight.

Next I picked up some cork squares and cut them to the appropriate size...

My little helper caught wind of a something fun in process and immediately & forcefully offered to "hep"!

Livy helped to cut some thick cardboard to adhere to the cork and serve as a base:)

I chose the Cherry Cobbler fat quarter from the Deck the Halls trio (just $0.99 for 3!) as it seemed appropriate for Christmas, Valentines & just everyday...

 ...ironed and cut to size...

 And then I took my handy dandy glue gun and adhered the fabric to the back of the board.

And now the fun part: embellishment:)

I created this flower using some Cherry Cobbler striped ribbon, vanilla velvet ribbon, linen fabric and the Antique brads.

I hand sewed a running stitch along the top of each ribbon & the strip of linen, cinched, knotted off and then tucked the ends under adhered together with hot glue.  Each layer was hot glued to another and then placed on a Sticky Round.  Next I wadded up & glued some vanilla velvet in the center and hot glued my brads (legs removed with scissors) on top.

And last but not least, I made custom pushpins with more of the Antique brads- cut the brad legs off with scissors and attach to the head of each pushpin with hot glue!

Hope you're inspired to make something lovely for a loved one, and in plenty of time for Valentines:)

Thanks for looking,

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Silky Peppermint Toothpaste

Today I'm sharing another update on our homemade toothpaste.  Here at "623 East 68th St." we've been faithfully using this crunchy toothpaste recipe for almost 7 months and have no complaints, however, I opted to include some in my Christmas hampers and thus wanted to spruce it up a bit (and of course I didn't snap a pic of these in my mad dash to finish before Santa arrived!!!).

I had just read about whipping coconut oil, so I promptly emptied my jar into the food processor and whipped away- it was lovely, silky & soft despite the fact that the house was cool enough to keep the coconut oil in a solid, block form.  I proceeded to make up the toothpaste as usual but also adding several drops of peppermint oil- I was very conservative since this was my first attempt, however next time I will add a bit more as 'Ricky' really likes it!

So why are we sold on this homemade concoction?

  • Coconut oil is anti-fungal, antibacterial and helps towards fighting tooth decay.
  • Xylitol works against plaque buildup and aids with re-mineralization.
  • Peppermint essential oil is antiseptic & antibacterial

I also just had my teeth cleaned (it had been well over 1 1/2 yrs...cringe...) and was told my teeth looked great!  Since my dental hygiene routine has suffered drastically since Jonah's birth, the toothpaste must really be helping!

Happy brushing:)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Great Train Robbery

 One of my all time favorite 'I Love Lucy' episodes, "The Great Train Robbery" was aired on October 31st, 1955.  On December 28th, 2012, 'Ricky' & I trekked to Fort Worth via Amtrak with Granddaddy & our little M's in tow.  And while there wasn't a robbery, it was equally momentous.  

We left our house at 0600...yawn... 

Livy was so excited to be riding a "too too frain" though, didn't mind the early morning departure and once settled in the observation car was pretty happy for the 7 hour duration. 

Unfortunately, Jonah was not feeling well and progressively got worse as we closed in on "Big D".  What we thought was an isolated, minor tummy upset became a full fledged stomach virus...and he's teething.

So after lots of fussing, crying & strolling the aisles with 'Ricky', he finally fell asleep...for an hour:)  Sigh.  We had a lovely visit with friends, despite Jonah's malady and all the fatigue that went with trying to console him in a strange place and set out the next day to return home.  That's right.  Another 7 hours back.

During this leg of the trip, Jonah proceeded to christen 'Ricky' with his stomach contents twice (not including the times he had done so while in Fort Worth!).  So there was 'Ricky', pulling off his shirt in the middle of the train and donning a zipped up sweater when he looked at me and said, "This is it.  I don't have anything else so I may be going home in a wife beater"!

This wasn't the best time to get a fit of the giggles but I couldn't help myself:)  In 'The Great Train Robbery', Fred & Ethel are repeatedly christened with their dinner as they try to eat in the dining car due to Lucy's repeated pulling of the emergency hand brake, bringing the train to a rapid & unexpected halt! 

(sorry for microscopic size pic!)

Ethel sums it up beautifully when she says, ""I hope they don't run out of food before we run out of clothes"!

Our sentiments exactly:)  I'm pleased to report that Jonah is doing much better and that 'Ricky' has officially entered sainthood:)