Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sriracha Salt

The most commonly used condiment in our house is Sriracha, 
also known as "Rooster Sauce".  
The older boys and I eat it on everything!  
Not only is it hot, but also quite flavorful....and very addicting.  
So when I saw a recipe for Sriracha salt, I had to give it a try.

The recipe is so simple:

1 cup of Kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup of Sriracha

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix ingredients together in a small bowl and pour into a baking dish.  Place dish into preheated oven and turn oven off.  Over the next hour, take your dish out a couple of times and stir up the salt to make sure it all gets dry.  By the time the oven is cooled off, the salt should be ready.

Put your salt in an airtight container....
and use it on EVERYTHING!

You're welcome.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The best kept secret in town!

Let me tell you, the best kept secret in our small town is the 
Wharton County Jr. College 
Cosmetology Department.

My son is currently enrolled there and made an appointment for me in the salon for a cut and color.

Here is a "before" picture, 
what a hot mess!

And after,
a HAWT mess!

The salon allows students to practice on live clients and clients get salon quality services at rock bottom prices!  
This cut and color only cost me $18!

I know, right?

I can't get a decent cut for that amount!

They offer a very wide range of salon services including:

Manicures: $4
Facials:  $10
Eyebrows:  $2
Updo:  $10
Perm:  $20
Even a "Spa Package" for just $20!

The students are closely supervised by licensed instructors.  The salon is clean, students are friendly and well trained, and name brand professional products are used.  I really wish I had known about this treasure years ago, I could have had a different hair color and style every month!

So visit your local beauty college, 
I think you'll be pleasantly surprised!

And if you live in Wharton, call WCJC and schedule an appointment with my boy, Ryan.
He does a great job, and I'm not the least bit biased! 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Me and my best friend

Twenty years ago today I married my best friend.

I don’t need roses. 
I don’t need chocolate. 

Okay, maybe, I need a little chocolate. 

But I don’t need typical romance from my husband. 
When he does small things that catch me off-guard, 
things that make me feel cared for,
I swoon.

He always fills my car with gas.
He brings me sweet tea.
He texts me in the middle of the day.
He cleans up dog vomit.

I do the cooking, he does the cleaning.
He loves God.
He still makes me laugh.
He tolerates the way I load the dishwasher 
even though it drives him crazy.

He comes from a long line of love.
Our family is everything to him.
His heart is made of gold.
He prays for me.

He's an amazing dad.
He homeschools our children.
He gets up with fussy babies so I can sleep.
He's a wonderful example of a Christian man to our children.

He shaved my legs when I was pregnant.
He kisses me goodnight, even if I'm already sleeping.
He gets my weird sense of humor.

And even after twenty years, 

Happy anniversary to my best friend!
I love you more today than I did twenty years ago.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


October is a big month of celebrations at the Creamer house!
On Friday, John Paul turned TWELVE years old.  
He reminded me that he is officially a "tween" now.

JP is smack-dab in the middle of all our children 
with two older brothers he tries to imitate, 
and two younger siblings he tends to like a mother hen. 
 It can't be easy being in the middle and I see it in him all the time ~ too young to hang out with the big boys yet too old to play with the little kids.

I don't worry too much about this boy, though.
He's carving out his own path quite nicely.
He's funny, talented, creative, and there is NOTHING he can't achieve once he sets his mind to it.

A birthday spree at the LEGO store and the giant wall of bricks!

Happy birthday, precious boy!
I can't wait to see the young man you become
(but don't do it too fast, mama wants to hang on to her little boy just a bit longer).

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Sally Dress

I absolutely adore the Sally Dress

And you know that I've already made all three versions 
of the pattern for Miss Mary Grace!
The first photo is of the short sleeves, above is her birthday dress in elbow length sleeves, and below is sleeveless. 

I'm not sure which one I love best!

The pattern is easy enough for a beginning sewer and has darling details like a fully lined bodice and these precious points at the shoulders.

My favorite are the two HUGE pockets at the bottom.  They are just perfect for all kinds of treasures.

Totally girly, totally twirl-able!
The only thing I'm loving more than this pattern right now...

is my adorable red headed model!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

We party like rock stars!

On Saturday, the Divine Miss M turned TWO 
and we got our party on...

Minnie Mouse style!

 At first, the birthday girl was a little shy, 
especially when we sang to her.

 But she soon figured out that pizza and cake were good
and there was something special about the day...

like presents,

and games,

and ice cream,

and lots and LOTS of extra hugs and kisses!

Happy birthday, Mary Grace,
we love you so!

In the blink of an eye...

From this beautiful little angel...

To this delightful DIVA...

In the blink of an eye!
Oh, how fast two years have gone.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Living the Liturgical Year

Happy feast day of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary!

I surprised the kids this morning with a small deviation from our normal homeschooling routine.  We usually do religion lessons and prayers first thing, but today we had a lesson on the history of Our Lady of the Rosary and the miraculous Battle of Lepanto.

After our lesson, the boys each made a rosary out of mini marshmallows and Hershey's kisses.  We talked about the beauty of the Sacred Mysteries and how we meditate upon them while praying.  It's like we are sitting at the foot of Our Mother while she teaches us about her Son.

It was a very thoughtful and sweet morning.

But some of us were only in it for the chocolate!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Peck of Pickled Peppers

I tend to leave my peppers on the plant a little longer because I just love the different colors of red and orange that they turn.
I left these peppers on the plant longer because I simply 
forgot about them!

I've learned that sometimes the garden likes a little bit of neglect.  I'm ok with that!  Especially since this summer has been so hot and dry, good thing that peppers like that kind of weather.

So one morning I hauled in this pepper stash and spent the day pickling.  Let me tell you, processing any kind of pepper is dangerous work.  You should definitely wear gloves and possibly eye protection, the fumes from the cut peppers and brewing pickling liquid can fire you up.....and not in a good way!

But the end product is delicious and oh, so pretty!
Pints of pickled peppers lining the pantry shelves makes me happy, and the boys, too.  My older boys eat these peppers on everything.

The weather here in Texas is turning cooler and I'll probably only get one, maybe two, more harvests from the garden.  Hopefully, we'll be enjoying these peppers well into winter to warm us up!

Here is the super simple recipe I use but I like to add double or triple the garlic and a bit more sea salt.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Stevia 101

I've had stevia growing in my herb garden for two years now and I've never been really sure what to do with it.  When you chew the leaves, it is very sweet, but drop those leaves into tea and not so much!  Making a stevia extract can be quite labor intensive so I just bought the little packets of "Stevia in the Raw" to sweeten my tea.

Until now.

I recently read an article that told how they put stevia through a 40 step process to extract the sweetness from the leaf by relying on chemicals like acetone, methanol, ethanol, acetonitrile, and isopropanol. Some of these chemicals are known carcinogens (substances that cause cancer), and none of those ingredients sound like real food,
do they?

So after a little research, I found that drying and grinding dried leaves works just fine.  There's really no need for a fancy extraction process.

I picked some fresh stevia stems from the garden and put them in the dehydrator for about 4 hours.

I placed the dried leaves in a mortar and pestal (you can also use a spice grinder) and ground them into a fine powder.  The dried leaves or powder can be stored in an airtight container.

I used about a teaspoon and a half to sweeten my tea.  The powder does not dissolve into the tea like sugar or stevia extracts, so it looks kinda weird and leaves a residue on the inside of your cup.  It does sweeten my tea nicely though, and I'm very happy using it.

Stevia is an excellent sweetener for diabetics like me because it does not raise blood glucose levels.  Stevia leaves have also been shown to help with insulin resistance, lowering blood pressure, and can help combat certain types of cancer 
(you know, like the cancers caused by using processed stevia leaves!).

And yes, I know I'm putting homegrown, organic, natural goodness into a Sonic iced tea.
Don't judge me until  you try it,