Tuesday, June 26, 2012

DIY Paper Bag from scrapbook paper

Last week I needed to make some paper bags for a hand out for a lesson I was teaching. I found a variety of tutorials and now can't find the one I based my bags on, but here is the tutorial for what I did. It is so easy. I used scrapbook paper as I only needed small ones. Each sheet made 2 bags for me, but you could use any paper, even wrapping paper.

I did add curly ribbon handles, but forgot to take a picture because my little helpers were getting into everything and I had to put them away quickly.

All you need to make them are:
Sticky tape
Ribbon or paper for handles if you like

Fold the paper in half

Fold the edges in like so

Place the folded edges inside one another like this

And tape the edges down to seal them.

Next fold up a section at the bottom of the paper. I only did 1 inch because I was only putting paper and a friendship bracelet in it, but it depends on how wide you want the base of the bag to be. The larger the folded section is, the larger your base will be.

With the section still slightly folded, squish one side flat to make it a triangle like in the picture below

Then repeat with the other side so it looks like this...

Next, fold one side in half like this

Then repeat with the other side. This is to create the bottom of your bag.

Place a strip of tape along the seam to secure it in place.

And that is it!

If you want handles, use a hole punch at the top of the bag to create even holes and slide some ribbon through. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Salad doesn't have to be boring

I have had some medical issues recently which made it pretty hard to each much other than fresh produce, soup or salad. At first that might sound bad, but it was actually really good. I had a reason to eat well and I experimented more with mixing different foods to make salads.

I enjoy fruit salad for breakfast a lot of the time now. I loathe melons, so my fruit salads are usually based around kiwi fruit, banana, strawberries etc. and sprinkled with chia seeds

(This one had apple too. I basically mix any combo of 3 - 4 fruits that I have)

By changing it up a lot and buying small amounts of fruit I wouldn't normally buy (such as cherries as they are not in season here and not cheap per kilo!) it breaks up the monotony without breaking the budget.

Then for other meals I had a lot of different salads with raw and cooked vegetables. For example a variety of lettuces with things like grated carrot, corn kernals, slice cabbage, chilli, beans, avocado, bake pumpkin slices etc.

 I added a salad dressing I made up consisting of:
1 cup water
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
2 Tablespoons seeded mustard

Shake to combine and used as desired

I also always added freshly ground pepper and sometimes other spices like cayenne pepper to make it different.

Then sometimes I would just do a plate of cooked vegetables. As boring as it might sound, variety is the key!

Do you have a favourite salad recipe?

Friday, June 22, 2012

How to make a simple friendship bracelet

This week I taught the girls in Young Womens how to make a simple friendship bracelet. I have given them one each with a little key on it for the lesson on Sunday about forgiveness (forgiveness is the key to eternal happiness) and they wanted to learn how to make them.

This is the simplest friendship bracelet you can make often called the twist or Chinese staircase.

All you need is 4 pieces of string (I use embroidery thread). Wrap the thread around your wrist 3 times to get the length you will need and cut it to fit. Knot the threads together then secure them somewhere to enable you to do the knots. Using sticky tape to held the threads down to a table or something works well.

Once it is secured, select the colour you would like to start with and pull it to one side, then place the end of it under the rest of the threads to create a 4 like so...

Next loop the end of the thread over the rest of the threads and under itself on the other side. See the picture below...

 Then pull it tight and slide the knot you have created up the rest of the threads and tighten it.

 Repeat this 10 or so times, then switch thread colours.

As you do the knows it should start to twist itself. If it doesn't you might need to wiggle it a little with your fingers.

Once you have done it over and over and use up all the threads just tie a knot at the end with all the threads to seal off the friendship bracelet.

If you want to add any little embellishments like the key bead I added, simply thread it on when you are doing one of the knots. When you tighten the know it will secure the bead in place.

These are really easy to make and something kids can do too.

I made these for Lesson 23 - Forgiveness in the Young Womens Manual 1 and attached the quote printed on card "Forgiveness is the key to eternal happiness". I also made little paper bags from scrapbook paper and placed in the bags the quote from President Spencer W. Kimball, the story at the end of the lesson from Corrie ten Boom, which I rolled up and tied with a ribbon, then lastly I printed the scriptures from the lesson too and placed them in their too. The girls loved it.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Gluten Free Apple And Rhubarb Crumble

I grew up on apple and rhubarb crumble. My dad loved rhubarb and my mum grew it in our backyard so it was a cheap and easy dish in our house. I have been craving it for a while, so decided to finally make it this weekend. My mum passed away when I was a teen, so I just made this version up, but it tasted similar to hers.

1 bunch of rhubarb, chopped
2 granny smith apples, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup water

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut
1/4 cup gluten free plain flour
1 Tablespoon of butter

Place a pot over medium heat and add the water, rhubarb and apples. Place a lid on it and allow it to simmer, reducing the heat if it begins to boil, just until the fruit is soft.

Place the crumble ingredients in a bowl and rub the butter into the mixture so it is crumbly.

Place the fruit in an oven proof container. Sprinkle the crumble over the top and then bake in a 180C oven for 20 - 30 minutes, until the crumble is golden.

That is it. Fruit crumbles are really easy and taste delicious. You can serve them with cream, custard or ice cream as well.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pumpkin Soup with a kick for winter

I love soups in winter and one of my favourites is pumpkin. The pumpkin soup I make is not overly 'pumpkiny' and even my sister who doesn't like pumpkin eats it. This winter, to help ward off colds I decided to add a few new ingredients to it.

I often make it in big batches then freeze some flat in ziploc bags. It is easy to defrost if frozen flat and helps stop us ducking down to the shops to get takeaway when I can't be bothered cooking.

Pumpkin Ginger Soup
1/4 a pumpkin, skinned and diced
1 kumara, peeled and diced (otherwise known as sweet potato)
2 - 3 potatoes peeled and diced,
2 carrots peeled and diced
1 L chicken stock
1 - 2 tsp crushed ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Place everything in a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes until all the vegetables are soft. Blend and serve.

It is super easy, but really yummy. The more potato/kumara in the soup the thicker it is. You can add more stock if you prefer a thinner soup.

I love to serve it with cream and freshly cracked pepper.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

How to lose the last few kilo's...

So I have been doing well and am pretty happy with my body, but I want to be healthier. I know what I need to do, but it is a matter of applying my knowledge to my life. I have an amazing personal trainer friend, in another state, who has given me heaps of advice. I have another fantastic friend near me who is all about raw food and nutrition and things so she shares lots of info (plus has a raw food bulk buying group to help us all save money).

This morning I had this for breakfast

Ideally this would be all fresh, but I didn't have enough fresh fruit on hand so did use tinned pineapple (in juice not syrup). 

I know for me it is as simple as smoothies and fruit salad for breakfast now that I have a blender again. I love a variety of salads and soups, nuts and things. It is simply a matter of doing it all.

I have a conference I am going to in September in Denver, USA. I will be seeing people I saw last year in Chicago and I really, really want to be different. I want to be healthier, fitter and back to 'me'. You see, while I am not obese or anything I am bigger than I was before kids and I am not 100% ok with that.

So my action plan...
- Clean out the fridge, freezer and pantry of all food I should not eat.
- Menu plan
- Shop accordingly and prepare what I can ahead of time
- Have simple snacks in my bag such as an apple and nuts or a banana
- Get back to drinking chlorophyll
- Get a juicer (I had one years ago and yes, I do use it)
- Get a food processor so I can make more raw recipes
- Get back to being vego. I used to be vegetarian and while so many people will say you won't get enough protein/iron etc on a vego diet - YOU CAN! I have never had a problem with iron or anything. As long as you eat a variety, know what foods to eat together and what their nutritional value is, a vegetarian diet can be varied and nutritious. It is when you simply cut out meat without expanding into other foods that you can have problems.
- Walk everywhere possible
- 30 mins daily of other exercise, such as an exercise DVD, running, skipping etc.

So that is my action plan to lose the last few kilo's, get healthy and change my lifestyle. THIS IS NOT A DIET! This plan is to change my life, my eating habits and exercise habits. I have no intention of ever going back to how I have been eating.

So what are your tips for changing your lifestyle, eating healthier and being more active?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Journal Jars

I made these cute little journal jars for a lesson I was teaching the other week.

I am a Young Womens leader for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I was teaching on personal records/journals (Manual 1, Lesson 19) and I came across a suggestion for a hand out where questions were printed out and rolled up to put in mini gum ball machines. I thought I would roll them into mini scrolls and put in a jar so each day they could pull one question out and have something to write about in their journal to help them get in the habit. The girls absolutely loved it.

It did take a long time to roll every little strip of paper. I did while watching a couple of movies. As long as it took, I definitely think it was worth it. I only teach once a month as we all share the teaching so it is easier for me to put a little extra time into hand outs and things. My kids even helped roll some of them and they were so excited to help.

I wrote the quote on the board which was a suggested hand out at the back of the manual, then placed 2 of my journals and my old personal progress book on the black board shelf like so

I am lucky no one uses our class room before we have Young Womens, so I was able to do it before class. The 365 diary is something I am currently doing. I write something I am grateful for each day in it, as I had fallen out of the habit of keeping a diary I thought this would be a great way for me to be more grateful and to get back into the habit. The girls really liked that idea.

You can't see it in this picture, but my personal progress book has smoke and water damage thanks to my ouse being burnt down and another time my house being flooded. The girls were fascinated with my old personal progress book and all wanted a look.

The last was my actual journal, which of course none of them asked to read or anything. I think having it set up like this as well as the hand out made it more personal and interesting then just reading from the book.

Also for New Beginnings at the start of the year I had given each girl a box for them to keep their weekly hand outs in. Inside the box I had put a pen and a journal for them to use. In the journal I suggested they write their "Praise, Pits and Prayer" meaning:
Praise - something good that happened
Pits - something bad that happened and preferably how they dealt with it/overcame it/will deal with it
Prayer - something they prayed for, a prayer that was answered or something along the lines of prayer.

Even writing 1 line on each of these is a great way to start keeping a journal.