Friday, July 29, 2011

Apron envy

Everytime I watch Sense and Sensibility (which I do pretty often) I get extreme apron/smock envy. There is a scene in that movie in which Marianne and Eleanor put on their aprons to do chores and I absolutely love their aprons! I have searched high and low for a pattern to make something similar and haven't found anything! I think tomorrow I will try drawing up a pattern and experimenting with sizing and sewing it up. It's the kind of apron that you put your arms in and then it ties in the back. If anyone has seen a pattern for one similar please let me know!

PS I found a pic! Here it is:


I am sick.  No big deal, my throat is just burning, swollen and feels like the lining is about to be ripped out every time I cough or sneeze, which is pretty often.  So I'm sitting here, surfing the internet while listening to The Phantom of the Opera, Original London Cast CD.  Pretty pathetic.

The Phantom Of The Opera (1986 Original London Cast)

Anyway, hope you are having a better Friday than me.  That's all.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Banana Cornbread

This morning I noticed that there were five very ripe banana's on my counter sitting next to a new perfect bunch. I smiled and decided to make banana bread, since Steve obviously wasn't going eat those banana's.  I mashed them up and began making the typical Better Homes and Garden's recipe, then decided to mix it up a little.  But really quick I need to give you all some background on the cookbook.  I have had a few cookbooks, and didn't like any of them.  But every time I went to my sister-in-law's house in Homer, I loved the stuff she was baking out of her cookbook.  I admit, there was some cookbook jealousy :).  So when I saw the exact same cookbook she has at Costco, I had to get it!  And I have been a very happy camper ever since.
Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, 15th Edition (Better Homes & Gardens Plaid)  

Back to the banana bread.  I always want to add cornmeal to everything.  Today I decided on a whim to add it to my banana bread and omit some of the sugar the recipe called for (always a good idea and I can nearly never tell a difference).  It turned out fabulous!  You can just detect the cornmeal in the little bit of extra crunch in the crust, and I like it so much I think it will be a permanent addition to my b bread. So if you like banana bread and cornbread, this is the recipe for you!

Whitney's Banana Cornbread
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
14 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ginger
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cup mashed banana (4 or 5 medium)
1/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease bottom of one 9x5 loaf pan (or two 7 1/2x3 1/2 pans).
2.  In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, ginger, and cornmeal.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and set aside.
3.  In a medium bowl, combine eggs, banana, sugar, oil and butter.  .  Add egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture.  Stir just until moistened (batter should still be lumpy).  Fold in walnuts.  Spoon batter into prepared pan.
4.  Bake for 55 to 60 minutes (or 40 to 45 for smaller loaf pans) or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.  If necessary cover loosely with foil the last fifteen minutes of baking to prevent browning.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on rack.  Wrap and store overnight before slicing.


ps.  here's what I changed from the original recipe in the cookbook:  I use whole wheat flour instead of white.  I added cornmeal and omitted some sugar.  I use half oil and half butter.  That's it!  

more crafting

 I have been working on some more crafty projects for baby, and finished this tie-fleece blanket last week.  It is ridiculously cute, if you can't tell from the pictures.  One side is tie-dye and the other is green, brown and yellow "camping" fleece.  I love it!  And I love seeing a blanket in the baby's room that I actually made.

I also "made" some onesies a while back in case it's a girl with some scrap fabric I had:

 here's a little whale :)

 snails are always cute

and a little owl

Hoping to begin (and finish!) a few more crafting projects after we find out the gender next Thursday! But for now I'm working on crocheting a giant granny square blanket for baby in gender neutral colors (or at least my idea of gender neutral :)  Here's some of the colors I'm thinking of using...still in the planning process, and hoping to use at least a few of the skeins in my stash.  

Aegean  Damson Plum
Planetarium  Moss
Silver  Blackberry

What do you think?  Happy Wednedsay!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

kick butt brownies

I love brownies, and making them from scratch is even more rewarding (and delicious).  I've finally tweaked a few recipes down to create a brownie that is exactly how I like them.  They are super simple to make and nearly as fast as making brownies from a box.  

Whitney's Brownie Recipe
2 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
2 squares semisweet baking chocolate
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional - I didn't include them in this batch because my little cousin doesn't like nuts)

1.  Heat the butter and chocolate in a saucepan on the stove until the butter is melted.  Remove from heat and stir until the chocolate is completely melted and combined with the butter (stovetop is for us simple folk who don't like microwaves.  If you prefer, you can always microwave the butter and chocolate on high for 2 minutes rather than heating it on the stovetop).

mmm...chocolate and butter :)

2.  Stir in sugar.

3.  Beat eggs in small bowl and mix in vanilla.

4.  Then add egg mixture and stir well.

5.  Next add flour; stir well.

6.  Once combined, pour into greased 13x9 inch baking pan and spread out evenly.

6.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out with fudgy crumbs.  Overbaking is never a good idea with brownies, so be careful not to cook them too long.  Let cool in pan, then lift out onto cutting board and cut how ever you wish!  Enjoy :)

My brownie indulgence tonight - still warm with Haagen Daaz Vanilla ice cream...

The Arthurian Saga

Book Review:  The Arthurian Saga 
by Mary Stewart

If you are looking for something to read now or something to stock up on for this winter, I highly recommend this series.  I just finished reading all of the books this week and loved them.  I had read The Crystal Cave when I was in high school, but I couldn't find the other books in the series here in Anchorage so I never read on.  I went on a trip to Michigan this summer and brought our Nook, and these were a steal as an ebook - $9.99 for all four.  

This series began when Mary Stewart wrote the first book in 1970.  The Crystal Cave focuses on the early life of Merlin, and the books continue to chronicle the life of Merlin as he interacts with historical and legendary giants such as Uther Pendragon and Arthur.  Intricately detailed and very well planned out these books deal with Merlin's magic more practically and have a unique view on religion that no other Arthurian legend I've read has.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I have if you do choose to read them :)

belly shot :)

Yay for baby growing!  He/she has really popped out this last week, exciting!  I actually have a baby bump!

Monday, July 25, 2011


I really like the idea of using cloth diapers, but know that there will be times when we want to go the disposable route. BUT we want to go easy on the environment, so we were sort of a tricky spot.
I finally decided on gDiapers as our main choice and can't wait to start using them on our little one! gDiapers are very practical bc they combine both cloth and disposable options in a single diaper cover. You simply choose either a biodegradble disposable liner or a cloth liner!
I found some used covers on eBay over the last week and was excited to pick them up. When we find out the gender next week I will start purchasing more as they ate listed on eBay. Is prefer to buy all the covers used as that saves us $ and is much more Ecofriendly since we will be recycling a product that has already been made.  I have added a pic of the ones we have already purchased to show off how cute they are...and I really love the colors they come in. What do you think?

I love these colors, especially the blue.  Blue is probably my favorite gender neutral baby color, 
it goes with everything and is so beautiful and peaceful! 

rainy day productivity

After laying in bed for two hours this morning reading and listening to the rain, I decided to get out of the bed and get something productive done.  I went to work cleaning the kitchen, and reorganizing the pantry, which included making a list of foods that I had in the pantry and freezer so that I could plan some meals for the next couple of weeks.

Probably the most negative aspect of being pregnant for me has been complete lack of energy and motivation for getting anything done around the house.  I'll get maybe one task done a day, and then zone out in my recliner staring at the wall till Steve gets home, at which point I drag myself to the kitchen to make a salad to go with the steak he is grilling for himself and pour myself a bowl of cereal for my own dinner.  Either that or we would eat out.  Pretty lame, especially since I am usually a little bit obsessive about keeping the house clean, organized, and I love to cook and bake.  In the last week or two I have noticed a daily increase of energy in regards to getting house work done, and I am rejoicing in this new development!  Maybe I will be back to my old self just in time to be slowed down by a big baby belly lol.

One of the biggest reasons I have not been cooking at all has been my lack of any idea of what to make for dinner.  That or not knowing what we actually have and going to the store to buy more groceries that we didn't really need just to make one dinner.  So I decided today that I would tackle this problem by making a list of what we have and organizing it into possible meals that I can make without getting any additional groceries.  I'm so excited!  Now all I have to do is run to the store and grab a few extra staples that I don't have to complete some of the recipes/meals I've figured out, and I'm happy to announce that this list is only made of about 7 things (some of which we've been out of for a while, like brown sugar - so wierd!  I always have brown sugar!).

Hope you are having a productive, rainy, Monday!

Meatless Monday!

Today is Meatless Monday for the Harness family (although Steve did have a roast beef sandwich).  When we participate in this nationwide event which happens weekly throughout the country at restaurants, bakerys, and homes, we usually just focus on having a meatless dinner.  Although it will be a 100% meatless Monday for me, since I will not have eaten any meat all day.  I am not a big meat fan since I've been pregnant, so I have no problem with this!  I usually gag down as little meat as possible just for the protein, and then move on the much more pleasant aspects of my meal, such as fruits, veggies, and carbs :).  

Tonight we will be having tomato soup and cornbread, the perfect meal for a rainy day.  What are you having for dinner?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My baby has crabs!

The cutest little crab shoes ever, that is :) Just wanted to share my latest $5 find. I'm learning how to actually find good deals on eBay, yay!

Monday, July 18, 2011

best playlist ever!

So right now I'm listening to a playlist I made last year titled simply, "Fall".  It is so good and has kept me in an especially good mood today while I have cleaned/played on the computer, so I thought I'd share!

1.  The Way I Am, Ingrid Michaelson
2.  Hey Soul Sister, Train
3.  Song for a Winters Night, Sarah McLachlan
4.  Down the Road, Kenny Chesney with Mac McAnally
5.  Song for a Winter's Night, Gordon Lightfoot
6.  Ice Cream, Sarah McLachlan
7.  Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout the Good Old Days), The Judds
8.  Landslide, Dixie Chicks
9.  Rich Man's Spiritual, Gordon Lightfoot
10.  Turn Me On, Norah Jones
11.  Ain't No Sunshine, Bill Withers
12.  Shelter from the Storm, Bob Dylan
13.  Adia, Sarah McLachlan
14.  Hotel California, Eagles
15.  She, Elvis Costello
16.  Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinead O'Connor
17.  Lullabye, Billy Joel
18.  Kind and Generous, Natalie Merchant

I know it's not fall yet, but I'm ready for it, and it is kind of blustery, so that counts for something, right?!  This is always the time of year when I start to get REALLY excited about fall, then the snow, then the holidays, and I think this year is going to be worse than ever because of the excitement for baby getting here too!

Yellow Brick Road

I made the mistake of going into the Quilt Tree last week when Kelsey was working.  There was just so much cute fabric, I decided to make a quilt for baby, even though it had to be gender neutral since we won't find out the gender until the first week in August (17 days to be exact!).  Kelsey suggested the Yellow Brick Road pattern for the fabric I picked out, and I agreed.  So I bought the fabric on Wednesday, started the cutting and such on Thursday, and finished the entire thing on Friday!  Now it is just waiting to be quilted by my wonderful sister and then there will be the task of hand sewing the binding on.  I can't wait to see how cute it is with the teal striped minky for backing and the rainbow stripe fabric for binding, but it is already pretty cute.

Here's what I got done on Thursday, just waiting for the border now!

And Friday morning, the border was on!  I just love that fabric, it's got owls AND beavers!

And a close up...just a little blurry oops

Anyway, now I'm just waiting on Aug 4th to get here so I can go buy some gender specific fabric to make another one! I love this pattern and it's really good practice for me, as I tend to not pay attention to seam allowance while I'm sewing and wind up with really wonky stuff...Not so with this quilt, it turned out almost perfect!  yay!

Michigan Trip

Okay, I know I promised that I would be updating more, but I actually have a real excuse for my latest absence from posting!  At the end of June I went on a last minute trip to visit my Grandpa in Michigan to keep him company while he was dealing with some health issues.  It was so nice to be back in Michigan at my grandparents house again.  I love that place, so many great memories.  This time it was just me, mom, my Grandpa Wes, and my Uncle Leo.  The entire time I was there I think there was one day that was below 80 degrees for like, one hour.  It was SO hot, especially for a pregnant Alaskan lady!  lol.

Mom and I flew all night on a direct flight to Chicago, without getting much sleep, so we were pretty exhausted when we picked up our rental car in Chicago at 9:00am.  Luckily, we had planned on being to tired to drive all the way to our final destination, so we only had to get to Benton Harbor, MI, just past the Indiana border.  Driving on a crazy busy toll road on the fourth of July weekend didn't exactly help us feel relaxed; it was crazy!  But we eventually made it to the twin cities of Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, and used the last of our energy to visit Lake Michigan and soak up some sun on the beach there.

 Mom with the beach and the lighthouse behind her...(and a thunderstorm rolling in)

Gotta love unexpected beach time! 

Beautiful beach with lots of boat traffic nearby...and Whitney, the whitest person at the beach lol

We slept for about 14 hours then headed off feeling VERY refreshed to Mt. Pleasant.  The drive flew by and before we knew it, we were there!  We had a great week there with Grandpa and Uncle Leo, and got to have a impromptu, miniature family reunion of sorts at a local golf course.

All in all it was a great trip and so good to spend time with family, even if it was for slightly scary reasons!  Happy to say Grandpa is now on the mend and feeling much better!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


So now I will try one with a picture to see if it also works.

I've added a pic of Beau I took last night upon entering my room. He is such a lazy poodle!

This is a test

I just got a new Blogger app on my phone and had trouble with it last night, so I am testing it today when I have more time. Hopefully this works!

PS - I am eating Dean & Deluca Swedish're jealous aren't you? Lol