Pumpkin Spice Latte – Recipe

 I have been wanting to try making a Pumpkin Spice Latte for a little while now and the cool Saturday afternoon with a husband out mountain biking and a kid napping was all the motivation I needed.  Don’t let this fool you, I’m not wishing away summer just yet.  In fact, I’d love a few more months of summer.  Who said Pumpkin has to be a fall treat?

If you search for “Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe” on google, this is the first result.  We had all the ingredients and it sounded easy enough and it was delicious.  It’s less sweet and less bright orange than Starbucks, both of those things I appreciate.

Pumpkin Syrup:
2 1/2 cups of water
1 tablespoon of ground nutmeg
3 cinnamon sticks or 1 1/2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup of sugar
3 tablespoons canned pumpkin

Coffee:
16 oz mug
2 shots of espresso
2-3 tablespoons of pumpkin syrup
steamed or warmed milk
whipped cream (optional essential)

Instructions:

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1.  Combine spices and water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil then lower temperature and simmer for 20 minutes.  Your kitchen will smell fantastic.
2.  Strain spices by pouring the water through a coffee filter or fine mesh sieve.
3.  Put the spiced water back into the saucepan.  Add pumpkin and sugar and simmer for another 10 minutes.

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3.  Store the syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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To make the latte, prepare two shots of espresso.  Add 2-3 tablespoons of pumpkin syrup and top with steamed milk and stir.  Add whip cream.  I heard a tip on Martha Stewart (her video on how to make a low fat latte) where you can warm milk in a large canning jar and then put the lid on and shake to froth the milk.  We don’t have a microwave, but I trust most of what Martha says.

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Enjoy!

(Original Source)

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Cloth Diaper Inserts – Tutorial

Before our baby was born, we decided that we wanted to use cloth diapers.  I knew that if it wasn’t easy and inexpensive, then I would probably end up giving up on them quickly.  I also knew I had to have a stash ready to go when the baby came so that I’d have no excuses.  The only problem with that is the one size pocket diapers we had chosen didn’t work as well for newborns because they’re a little big (I guess that’s what happens when one diaper is sized from 7-35+ pounds).  It seems as though most people choose to use disposables for the first month or two.  I decided to try the newborn gDiapers which are sized from about 6-10 lbs.  gDiapers tend to be a little on the pricey side so I found a set of 12 on ebay that were washed but never worn.  The thing I do like about gDiapers is the option to use cloth inserts or disposable/flushable inserts.  The versatility is great, but you’ll end up paying for it!  I decided to try making my own reusable cloth inserts since the ones you buy can be up to $5 each.

Materials:

1 yard of bamboo fleece
1 yard of hemp fleece
1/2 yard of cotton (remnants work great!)
Sewing machine
Serger (optional)
Rotary cutter and cutting board (highly recommended, although scissors work great too!)
(note: both the bamboo and hemp fleece are available from Diaper Sewing Supplies)

Instructions:

Cut out all of your fabric into 4″ x 9″ rectangles.  This is where a rotary cutter comes in very handy.  If you’re using scissors, making a paper template might be helpful.

Pin 5 layers of cut fabric together as follows: Cotton (right side down), hemp, bamboo, hemp, bamboo (soft side up).  Pin together.  It should look like this with soft bamboo fleece on one side and pretty cotton on the other.

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Sew around the edge of your fabric.  It is thick so you’ll need to go slowly.  I used a zig zag stitch so it would be extra secure.  Make sure the beginning and end of your stitches are secure by back stitching about 1/2″.  I also found that doing two rows of zig zag stitches next to each other worked really well, I just forgot to take a photo of that.

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If you have a serger, this is where you can make the edges neat and tidy by serging around the entire edge.  I don’t have one so I rounded the corners and hoped for the best.  This is the finished diaper liner.

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After many times through the washing machine, these have held up great!  I found that the cotton fabric frayed a little bit up to the stitches and the fleece curled slightly, but nothing came apart and all the stitches are very secure.  The fabric I purchased made 22 liners which was more than enough for our newborn and allowed us to wash diapers every other day.

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It also doesn’t hurt that these diapers are super cute!

Total Cost: $27
1 yard of hemp fleece: $12.95
1 yard of bamboo fleece $14.05
Cotton remnants: $0 (I already had these leftover from making burp cloths)
Makes 22 reusable inserts

I was curious how this compared with disposables.  If you use 12 diapers a day with a newborn, that’s about 360 diapers in one month.  It’s about $50 to buy a case of newborn diapers from diapers.com with 234 diapers.  I guess this was a pretty good deal after all, but you do need to factor in the effort it takes to make and wash cloth diapers and the water usage.  Disposable diapers are a great choice for many, but this was the best choice for us.

Tutorial: Month-by-Month Baby Onesie’s

 I love the idea of having photos each month to mark Will’s milestones.  He’s now 7 months old and I already LOVE having the photos to look back on.  I have some ideas for what to do with all 12 pictures at the end of the year, but in the meantime I’m just soaking up every minute with him today.

Materials: 
  • 12 onesies or infant t-shirts.  (Note: I made the above set based on size and weight listed on the labels since it was a gift. For Will’s I have all the numbers printed and just iron it to one of the t-shirts that fit him each month.)
  • Iron on transfer paper for fabrics.  (I found Jet-Pro SofStretch by Neenah Paper to be the best and I found mine on Amazon.  It washes well and doesn’t crack or peel like some of the other brands do).
  • Template’s found here, here, and here.  (Thank you Martha Stewart)
  • Ink jet printer.  (I think you need special paper to print on a laser printer.)
  • A good sharp pair of scissors
  • Iron
Getting ready to iron on.  They will print 4 to a page so you’ll need to cut them out.  Since I’m printing on white t-shirts, I just cut as close to the colour as possible.

The numbers need to be printed backwards, that way once they’re ironed on they will be readable.  These templates are already mirrored.

Center on your t-shirt about an inch down from the collar.

Iron according to the instructions that come with the transfer paper.  You need a very hot iron and apply a lot of pressure.  Remove the paper backing while it’s still warm.

 And you’re done!

For more of today’s photos, look here

Baby Dinosaur

Even though Grant and I are not the most creative when it comes to costumes, we figured that Will should have one this year for Halloween… it is his first after all!  I had a great time making it, both Grant and I LOVE seeing Will in it and hopefully he’ll enjoy seeing these photos when he gets older!!  Happy Halloween from our tiny dinosaur.
Materials:
Orange felt with matching thread
Hooded sweatshirt
Fold the felt in half and cut spikes so the base of the spike is on the fold.

Pin spikes along the back of the sweatshirt and up on the hood.

Sew each spike along the fold.

Fold spikes in half and pin both sides together.

Sew along the edge of each spike.

The finished product!

Our little dinosaur in action
This kid LOVES to stand up, even though he’s far from balancing!