Monday, September 6, 2010

Matt here finishing up a quiet and relaxing four day labor-day weekend at home with the family. heading back to work with a busy week of travel. Thoughts of excited anticipation and uncertainty filling our minds, yet no one can foresee the future so it's best not to dwell there. So instead, here's the recent past.. Summer 2010 for the Horn's of Marshall in a stream of non chronological ordered sentence fragments..

  • Hosting our families at Debra and Jaspers b-days celebrations
  • Sowing seeds on the front porch giving life to our garden
  • Mika and Jasper's first real experience of loss as they say goodbye to Nado
  • (happy bonus) Nimba's affection rating with Mika skyrockets
  • RenFest, the Currie Train Museum and Pipestone during a great week with Grandpa John (see montage)
  • Parks, bikes and scooters with a few skinned knees
  • A family summer vacation to Omaha and the Zoo exceeded our expectations
  • Twin Cities for the 4th o July fireworks followed by 2 hours in a parking lot waiting to traffic to unjam.
  • A decent harvest of heirloom tomatoes
  • 20+ jars of various tomato sauces canned
  • swimming lessons.
  • Getting ready for Kindergarten and preschool.
  • The Perfect Luchbox..

Surely there's was more but those were the standout moments from our past few months.

Summer always make me acutely aware of the passage of time. That feeling of having to get it all in before the winter months can be taxing. I guess it was good 'timing' then to watch The Time Travelers Wife. The film focus's on the sadness and grandeur of life and the mystery of time. A familiar plot I find myself in each time I contemplate my past and the future lives of our amazing kids.. Our first lifetime enduring memories are formed during these years so I find myself striving to recreate the same memorable moments I had as a 4-6 yearold. Blanket forts, saving the princess, bike adventures etc..(to future kids, Did it work?)

ugh..My role as a speck in time always becomes so apparent during blog entries - no real point to this other than to thoughtfully address the future audiences of these pages. The internal optimist in me knows it all turns out wonderful.

(posted by: Matt logged in as Debra)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Yummy Pizza

I make my own pizza crusts now since I'm gluten free due to migraines and they are good but sometimes you just need something new. The kids LOVE quinoa, so I was thinking a quinoa crust pizza would be good, but they don't love red sauce so I was planning on topping with just cheese but Matt added a cream sauce which was good since it would have been dry without it. We also topped with asparagus, fresh mozzarella, cherve cheese, fresh oregano (from the garden) and fresh tomatoes. Although it took some coaxing for the kids to eat it, they did and I think with a couple more tries they'll love it more. It was the cream sauce that threw them, but this pizza was delicious. The sauce was a combination of shallots, garlic, white wine, parmesean, cream and gluten-free flour. The crust was quinoa cooked with vegetable stock and then mixed with two eggs, a bit more of the GF flour and made into the crust in a non-stick skillet and then flipped and topped and finished off under the broiler.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

So Debra's HD is bursting at the seams and unable to hold any more content. This means no fancy photo-shopped triptych's or Illustrator montages in this months update. Just the natural untouched photos from the past couple of months of our summer out on the prairie. Above, sunsets out the backdoor and Princess Mika with a bouquet of squash blossoms from this mornings trip to the farmers market (soon to be had at dinner in the form of squash blossom quesadillas)

The garden is doing quite despite the 40mph+ force winds from the last half dozen thunderstorms. We have a dozen various varietals of heirloom tomatoes all beginning to bear fruit. A rapidly expanding pumpkin patch (with blossom below), herbs, hot peppers and some cantaloupe. See below:

The kids think the pumpkin plants are alive when they see the tendrils reaching out and spiraling around anything they can find (click on the photos to enlarge)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

May Day! MAY DAY!!!

This May Day update brought to you by Flora, the Roman Goddess of flowers!

Husband Matt here, (who hasn't contributed to the family blog in months) deciding to post some of the images of the kids, Easter eggs and our garden seedlings as we continue the transition from frigid winter to balmy Spring. May gets my vote as the most dynamic and transitionally jarring month in respects to food, produce and cuisine. Highlighted by precious, short seasonal specialties like Morels, ramps, fiddle heads and Fava, spring always reminds me why I love food and cooking.

Tie-dye Easter Eggs, planting our seeds on the front steps in late March and the result 6 weeks later.. all ready for to be transplanted to the garden. about 10 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, variety of hot peppers, melon, herbs etc..

I often wonder if the writings, pictures and short clips from this blog will survive and be handed down as some sort of digital heirloom to future generations of the Horn family... Will Jasper's grand kids read (or merely access the file via a brain interface) these words a century from now and remark at how primitive our lives must of been? I hope they do. Just a few blips of archived time to remind them of how life once was...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Awesome Giveaway

I know, I know, I need to post something about me. I have lots of projects around thea house post-worthy but just need to get to it. In the meantime, check out this giveaway over at I Have A Notion. They have buckets of giveaways right now, but the big one--the one I'd like to win the most is an AccuQuilt, which cuts your fabric exactly for you so your pieces are all the same size.

They also have a great store.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentine Mail Bag--Tutorial!

So I've never written a tutorial and I'm no expert sewer, in fact, I'm not very precise so please bear with me. When I saw this mail bag online it was unavailable, from a large retailer, so I thought I could make it and gave it a try. I think I did a good job recreating it.

First, you'll need to cut all your pieces. I'm using a quilting weight red for the front and a heavy weight canvas stripe for my lining and applique and straps which I happened to have on hand.

Two pieces 7.5 by 16.5 inches for the back that wraps around to create the front flap. (This measurement is .5 inches less than mine, as I felt it was a little long). It doesn't show it in this photo, but you should also round your corners on this piece and the front. See later photos. I just used about a 2.5" diameter circle and marked it on the back of the piece and with the front and back together I cut them both at the same time.

Two pieces 7.5 x 9 inches for the front. It doesn't show it in this photo, but you should also round your corners on this piece and the back. See later photos. I just used about a 2.5" diameter circle and marked it on the back of the piece with them together and cut them both at the same time.

Two pieces 4 x 17 inches for the straps (since I've made the bag, my daughter has been wearing the bag, as a backpack, instead of hanging it. So if you anticipate your child doing this, you could make your straps longer as 17" is a little tight for my 5 year old)

Two pieces 2.5 x 22.5 for the sides (I also put interfacing on my quilt weight piece so that the bag would have some stability)

With some steam a seam or iron on interfacing attached cut a heart and the word MAIL, you'll also need some rick-rack and I used two sets of dot hook and loop tape (velcroe)

Now lets make the straps. I made them just as you would make bias tape or quilt binding. Iron them down the center horizontally and then press each side towards the center seam again. Now refold and press once more. Also unfold the end and press in about a half inch and press again so all raw edges are encased. I also hand sewed a hook and tape dot on one edge so that it could be undone to fit on our chairs. This isn't entirely necessary depending on your chairs. Ours are wide and if I hadn't done this, they wouldn't have hung well. Now sew all the way around your straps doing and edge seam.

Time to applique. Lets get one thing straight--I'm in not good at this, so don't judge me! On the back piece, (the larger one) using what will be the front of the fabric find the middle and place your heart right side up and pin in place. Now applique that on with a small zig zag stitch and also applique a key hole. Do the same for the word MAIL on the smaller piece which is the front of the mail bag. This will be at the bottom but leave room for the seam. I put it about 3/4 up from the bottom. Once you've finished your applique, put the two main pieces and the side piece with the lining pieces right sides together. Notice how my corners are rounded now. Now we are ready to put in the rick rack and sew these together.

I marked a line on each side at 9" from the non-heart side. Then starting at that mark start pining in your rick-rack right next to your edge. It shouldn't be peeking out at all. Just leave the tail out at the beginning and the end. Wrap around and pin around the corners as best you can and as you are sewing make sure you keep the rickrack even with the edges of your lining and front fabric and stitch all the way around the pieces with a 1/4" stitch (backstitching at the beginning and end) leaving about a 3-4" opening for turning.

Do the same for the front piece and the side piece again leaving openings for turning. Turn and press all pieces and you should have something like this! You don't need to worry about finishing the holes that you left for turning as they will get closed up when sewing the pieces together.

Next sew the side piece to the front piece that says mail on it. Pin it first so that you make sure it is even and matches up nice. I used an edge stitch here and found it easier to stitch with the side facing me as opposed to the front piece. Sew carefully around the corners to avoid puckering. Pressing it flat with my finger as I sewed it worked well for me.

Next pin the straps to the back piece the longer one, slightly under where the rickrack begins. Make sure they are even with each other and sew them on with a X and a square. Maybe you can do a better job than I did. You can also sew your spouse piece of hook and loop tape on at this point as well which would probably be easier than at the end like I did.

Now sew the back to the side, making sure to pin first so that it all matches up well and is even. Again I found it easier to work with the side facing up on the sewing machine.

For the mail slot I marked about a 3.5-4" line and made a narrow rectangle on the top closer to the back of the bag to make sure the mail would go in the bag and just stitched an tight zig zag applique stitch and started a hole with my seam ripper and then cut carefully within the narrow box I had made.

I used some iron on letters I got at Michaels for her name and simply followed the instructions but you could embroider it on at the beginning before you stitch the lining and front together if you are good at that type of thing as well. I think a magnetic purse clasp would be nice as well for the flap but I didn't have two laying around and I have to make two of these so I for went that. I may add a button to the front flap since that is cheaper and my kids need to practice buttons anyway.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Rocky Ledge Bars

Ok, so these are almost a staple in our house. I make them often. Everyone loves them. I did make a small change however. The caramel gets a bit too chewy in them so toffee chips work better for us. The kids don't like the chewy bits and I'm not a big caramel fan anyway. Even Matt who loves caramel prefers the toffee, I think it adds that extra bit of saltiness. Anyway they are pretty easy and they make everyone happy. I found that the white chocolate chips are mostly partially hydrogenated.... bla bla bla stuff, so I buy white chocolate baking bars and chop them up. The ingredients actually list white coco first. Also I do not line the pan with parchment. What a waste! I butter and spray with pam, they come out just fine. Yum! These bars are yummy--try them for yourself. Photo from Find the recipe here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


We took this video in St. Paul right before Christmas during the big blizzard. Jasper wasn't prompted at all, we think it's pretty cute. It's on YouTube