How to Repair a Screen Print

how to repair a screen print

Before school started, I took my middle school daughter shopping for a few cute shirts that would help her feel confident at her new school.  She had previously been homeschooled, then attended a small Christian school for 5 years before moving to a large public school this year.  She was going to have enough things to be nervous about, and I didn’t want clothing to be one of them.

how to repair a screen print 1

The first shirt had a large screen print on the lower back that said “love” with a smaller matching print on the front pocket.  After the first washing it looked like this, sigh.  I didn’t keep my receipt or the tags, or it would have gone straight back to the store. (The front pocket still looked perfect.)  I tried to convince Heather that the worn look was “cool” but she didn’t agree and pronounced the shirt unwearable.

How to repair a screen print 2

I had some white acrylic craft paint in my stash, so decided to try painting the words back on with a brush by hand.  I could have taped it off first, but I have a really steady hand and didn’t want to take the time.

How to fix a screen print 3

Before painting, I slid a scrap piece of foam board (cardboard would have worked too) inside to keep the paint from seeping through to the front of the shirt.  It would have been a disaster if I had skipped that part. Then started painting.  I got a few drips of white paint on the navy blue shirt, but had rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs on hand to quickly clean up any accidents.

How to fix a screen print 4

It looks almost like new, especially from a distance.  The painted texture is a little stiffer, and the flakiness of the screen print is still there under the paint roughing up the texture.  I’m a little nervous about how it will wash with the screen print the way it is.  I’ll update you as soon as we give it a try.

I’ve used this paint for stenciling on clothing before and it washes well after it’s cured.  I will cure it by letting it dry for 24 hours, then ironing it with a steam cloth before washing.  When Heather came home from school and saw it, she was really happy!


What are you interested in?

Hello there!  I’ve missed you! I really thought when August came around I’d be back to blogging every day, but it didn’t happen. I’ve been doing some work behind the scenes and it has taken all my brain power.  Things like building the cabinets for my music room, filming for a mini-class and restoring the pictures in my most popular blog posts.  If you remember, I had a major website crash last February that erased more than 2,000 pictures….a very sad day for me.  It will take me years to get all the pictures back, and I’m prioritizing the most read posts.  If your favorite post is still missing pictures, message me and I’ll put it on the priority list.

In my non-business personal life, I’ve been spending a lot of brain power on fitness.  As I’m finding the proper balance for my adrenal insufficiency, I’ve decided to start working out regularly and eating right–hopefully to lose the 35 lbs I’ve put on over the last few years while fighting the illness.  I’ve learned that I enjoy strength training a little more than cardio (as a FYM cardio = 15 minutes of high intensity interval training), bwa ha ha. strength-training-vs-cardio

I’ve been a 5 year fan of Holly Rigsby and member of the Fit Yummy Mummy Lifestyle.  It doesn’t take a lot of time to live the FYM life (20 minutes a day!), but it’s something I’ve been doing deep soul searching with while I walk the walk.  Why do I make bad food choices and when?  Can I predict it and head it off before it happens? How can I change my attitude and reframe my emotions about food?  How can I affordably treat myself without using food? I’ve been writing in my journal every day at clubFYM and getting good support from Holly and the other ladies walking the same path.  That interaction has fulfilled a lot of my need to write.


I can see the changes in my face!

My writing in a private journal doesn’t help you, I know.  So I’m committing to show up here and write more often.    I’ve had some topics floating around my head, but would love to know what you’re interested in. If you can spare a minute, select all the topics you would like to hear about and if you have an idea of your own, you can leave it in the comments :).

Why I Still Use Disposable Baggies

I posted this photo last week on instagram of a moment during my snack packing session for the week.  I like to buy food in bulk when it saves money, then package it up myself for the kids to grab and put in their lunches.  It only takes a few minutes and helps with portion control and limits waste.

instagram prepackaged snacks

I almost didn’t post the photo, because I was afraid of the backlash of the plastic baggies.  There’s a movement out there away from baggies and I jumped on for about a month (6 years ago) then abandoned ship and never looked back.  Here’s why: Read more

Baked Creamy Spinach Chicken Flautas

When you need an easy dinner idea, a packable lunch, or a substantial snack, I’ve got your back.  Here’s what I love about these little cuties:  everything is hidden inside.  Onions…check.  Spinach…check. My kids didn’t even notice.  Just bit right down and gobbled them up.   Sometimes you have to be stealthy with the veggies.

chicken spinach flautas 4

Baked Creamy Spinach Chicken Flautas

1 chopped onion

1 tsp minced garlic (or garlic powder)

2 cups fresh, chopped spinach

1 can, 4 oz green chilies

1 tsp ground cumin

2 cups cooked shredded chicken*

1 brick, 8 oz neufchâtel cheese

20-6 inch tortillas (I used flour, but corn works if you want to call them taquitos)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large skillet saute onion and garlic until very soft.  Stir in spinach and cook until wilted. Add green chilies, cumin, and chicken.  Heat through.
  3. Push everything in the skillet to the outsides, making a whole in the center.  Put the neufchâtel cheese right there and stir it around until it softens and melts into a creamy liquidy pool. Then stir it into the chicken mixture.
  4. Place 2 Tbs of the mixture onto the edge of a tortilla and roll up tightly.  Place seam side down on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

Serve with dipping sauces like: salsa, ranch dressing, sour cream, or guacamole.  For dinner add side dishes of tossed salad and cut fruit.

chicken spinach flautas 1

Zucchini Chocolate Cupcakes

At 3 pm everyone at my house gets the munchies.  I’ve taught my kids to be self-reliant when it comes to food.  It’s a habit of years of dealing with chronic illness. Now that I’m doing a bit better, I want to take back some of the kitchen control.  I like my kids learning to cook and make do, but I’m not loving the mess they leave behind.  It’s going to take some steady supervision to change the bad “clean up after yourself” habits I’ve allowed.  In the meantime, I’m being proactive by preparing after school snacks.  Rename these “muffins” and you can serve them for breakfast too :).

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Zucchini Chocolate Cupcakes are loaded with veggies, fiber and protein.  You can choose how you want to sweeten them.  I used a mixture of xylitol and sucanant.  To get the right texture, you should include real sugar for at least 1/3 of the sweetener.

You can also be creative with the flour you use.  I used fresh ground whole wheat flour, unbleached flour or a gluten free flour blend (if it has xanthan gum in it) will also work.  If you are using an alternate flour option, add it gradually and stop when the consistency is cake batter right.   Some flours (like coconut flour) absorb a ton more water than wheat flour and you will need quite a bit less.

Zucchini Chocolate Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt

1 3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 Tbs vanilla extract

2 cups shredded zucchini

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cloves

1/4 cup cocoa powder

2 1/2 cups flour

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a stand mixer, beat Greek yogurt with sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Stir in Zucchini.
  3. Add baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, cocoa powder, stirring well after each addition.
  4. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time, stirring just until incorporated. Do not add chocolate chips at this time.
  5. Fill greased or lined muffin cups 2/3 full.  (I like to use an ice cream scoop to measure it.)
  6. Sprinkle the top of each cupcake with 1/2 tsp of mini chocolate chips.
  7. Bake for 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  8. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing cupcakes to finish cooling.

Nutrition Information for Zucchini Muffins

The Tryouts

I try not to worry about my kids.  With a God this big, why should I worry or fear? But I do, even when I pray and I think I’m not going to.  We’ve done homeschooling, private Christian school, and public school.  Last year I had 1 in private, 2 homeschooling, and 3 in public.  This year we are transitioning everyone to public school and it’s a little heart wrenching for me.


Last week, my oldest boy, who homeschooled last year, who has been spending too much time in his room, wearing pajamas, and reading books, came out of his room early on Monday.  Dressed. With shoes.  He said, “Bye mom, I’m going for a bike ride.”  I stared after him dumfounded.

Then Tuesday, he said, “Soccer tryouts at my new High School started yesterday, but it’s not too late to join.  Can I go tonight?” My son has done little more than walk from his bed to the fridge in a year, partially because of his love of books, and partially because he has sore, swollen knees from Osgood Schlatters disease.  I was happy he was out of his bed and interested in something.  I found the medical forms he would need and we showed up.

I sat in the bleachers with one other mom.  52 kids and 2 moms.  I had prepared 3 bottles for his practice: 1 with ice water, 1 with electrolytes, and 1 with recovery protein and glucose. I was terrified.  How is a kid who lies around reading books all day going to handle high school soccer tryouts?

They did nothing but run for 2 hours. Greenies, 400 sprints, 800 sprints, more greenies, then more sprints.  There was less than 60 seconds recovery time between each exercise.  I thought he might throw up. I thought I might throw up.  The other mom said, “this is exactly what they did yesterday.”  I thought, “this coach is an idiot.”  What happened to alternating active recovery days?  He yelled at the boys, “If you think this is hard, don’t bother coming back tomorrow!”   I yelled back, “You can do it, Caleb!  Finish strong!  I believe in you!”  Every other boy on the field was either wishing their mom was there to cheer him on or really thankful that she wasn’t.

As soon as I got my boy home, I filled the bathtub with warm water, epsom salts and Blue Heat essential oil blend.  I made another glucose protein shake.  I iced his knees.  I told him how proud I was.

He insisted on going back the next day.

The next day, his dad took him.  I was singing special music at the testimony service for my brother’s priesthood call to elder.  In our church no one can decide to join the priesthood.  It’s not something you can earn, study for, or choose. The call comes through prophecy. It’s a big deal and kind of rare.  While I sat and listened to the prophecy and confirmation testimonies I thought about my boy on the soccer field. Did his dad take protein and glucose and electrolytes?  Would he cheer?

I beat them home and when he walked in the door, I knew things weren’t good.  We had talked about worst case scenerios.  If you don’t make the team, maybe they would let you come to practice and work out and get stronger.  That night, Coach told him no to both.

The next morning the other mom in the bleachers sent me a text. “Cross Country meeting tonight.” Cross Country?  If Caleb had sore knees, was this the best thing for him?  But I asked him anyway.  He said “maybe,” so we showed up.  XC had started on Monday also, but would credit his running at soccer practice for the missed sessions. There were no tryouts.  If you want on the team, you’re on the team. The coach was amazing.  “We cheer everybody on, even the other team.  Grades are super important.  We are family.”  They explained that even though they work out for 2 hours a day 6 days a week, they have an alternating active recovery schedule. Finally, someone with common sense.

Caleb showed up Friday for his first practice, we left the house at 5:45 am.  One coach rode his bike moving between the front of the pack and the rear so he could keep tabs on the kids and their health.  The 2nd coach drove a car, so he could pick up the kids that were in trouble. Caleb ran for 2 hours and when I picked him up, he was smiling.  He did a jig and said, “How can I have so much energy?” I asked him how he did.  He said, “I wasn’t at the front of the pack, but I didn’t have to get in the car.” I asked him to tell me the name of 1 kid on his team, he told me 2.  Then it hit me, Caleb will start this HUGE school with friends, adults he can trust, and self-respect.

At that moment, the room started to spin, my knees went weak, my vision closed in on itself.  I had just earned myself a recovery day or three–all from worry, sigh.

How about you?  Is your family making big changes this year with educating your kids? How do you feel about it?

How to Freeze Sweet Corn

It’s sweet corn season!  Here’s a handy tutorial for when you have corn coming out your ears.  (Get it?  Ears.) Freezing sweet corn is fast and easy and preserves it’s fresh home-grown taste. The corn I will be showing is sugar and cream corn grown by my dad in his city garden.  They were blessed this year with very healthy corn that gave 4 ears per stalk.  That’s pretty rare in these parts.

freezing corn 1

1.  Shuck the corn outside (because it’s messy).  The shucks are a nice addition to a compost pile.


2.  Wash the silky hairs off the corn.  I like to use cool running water and a terry wash cloth.  Microfiber cloths work well too.  I like a cloth better than a corn brush.  It covers more of the corn at once, so is faster and grabs the silk really well.  I use about the same amount of pressure when washing corn as when I wash my baby’s face.  Enough to clean without doing any damage.


The front ear is freshly shucked.  The back ear has been gently washed with a terry cloth.


3.  Cut any bad spots off the corn.  This corn was raised without chemicals except for what came on the seed already and has a few worm spots.  Most of it was spotless though.  If you miss a bad spot, it will turn brown when it cooks and you can cut it out later.


4.  Submerge several ears of corn in a large pot of boiling water. If you are freezing whole ears of corn, boil them for 8 minutes.  If you are cutting the corn off the cob, boil for 6 minutes.


5.  Use tongs to remove corn from the boiling water.  Run it under cold water to cool or submerge it into a bowl of ice water for 6 minutes.


6.  Use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off the corn.  I like to take my knife and scrape the cob to get all the milk and ends out.  We call that “cream style” on the farm.  I cut as many cobs as I can fit into a large bowl before stopping to fill bags.


7.  I package my corn in quart size freezer bags, and use a permanent marker to label the bags with the date and contents before filling.  A one cup measuring cup is perfect for scooping the corn into the bags.  Four full scoops is a quart.  When the bags are full, press out all the air and seal them tight.  I smoosh the corn around until the bag is nice and flat and stack them in a plastic dish tub for freezing.  This freezes the corn in nice little stacks that fit well in my freezer.

home frozen corn

8.  Even though you will be tired, be sure to clean up right away when you are finished.  Corn juice is sticky and starchy and dries hard.  It’s much easier to clean up when it’s fresh.

Thanks to my mom for picking and shucking the corn.  And thanks to my Mother-in-love for showing me how to freeze it step by step.  Remember the year my entire kitchen floor was covered a foot deep in corn?  We had 3 years worth plus plenty to share after that.

 This post originally appeared August 1st, 2009

A few things: Living Room Update etc.

I know I’ve been quiet lately.  I’ve been enjoying SUMMER with a slower schedule and time with my kids.  Here are a few updates.

  1. The hardwood floor in our living room is all finished!  I don’t have baseboards up and I haven’t started on the built ins yet.  But I did move the furniture in place just like it would be with the built ins there.  I want to live with it a little bit before I got through the expense and work of the built ins buy just to make sure I like the arrangement.  So far I really do!  You’ll notice there’s a rug down. It’s the one I bought for Darren’s office.  We are a long ways away from being able to use it for his office and I may pick something else for him then, or move it down and pick something else for the living room.  I love the rug and right now it’s the most affordable option since we already own it ;).  Everything is centered on the room, but the angle I had to stand to take the picture makes it look wonky.

Living Room before 2


Living room during


Living Room afterConcept

(I’m rethinking the whole slip cover thing.  I’ll have to cut the back cushions off my sofa to make it work and it’s going to be a lot of work.  I still want to do it, just much later.)

2. I had a midlife crisis last week and bleached my hair patchwork orange. I don’t have pictures because it was too humiliating.  But it was mostly yellow with squares of orange and brown scattered through it.  My hair stylist’s son was having surgery that day so she couldn’t help me right away.  I wore hats everywhere, even to a wedding shower and denied all requests to take it off.  It was humiliating.  On phase one of the do over, she got rid of the orange and brown and I was GOLD blond all over.  It was horrifying.  The next day I was asked to lead the song service for the all area branch meeting.  I couldn’t say no because my hair was horrifying so I stood up there and sang away like there was nothing crazy on top of my head.  Three days later after multiple keratin and biotin treatments she added ash brown highlights and toned it all over.  We had to get pretty aggressive to get rid of the remaining brassiness and I was a little gray/purple for a few days.  It has settled down a little bit and now I’m REALLY blond, in a good way.  I no longer scream when I see a mirror, which is positive progress.

3. I have been healing up a lot over the last 2 months.  My hair has started to grow.  It has only been a week since the orange hair fiasco and I already have dark roots.  While dark roots aren’t pretty, I’m going to take it and love it since it’s another sign that my health is improving.  I started back to my Fit Yummy Mummy workout program, starting at the introductory level (the step before beginners….) and feel like I’m going to be able to finish this time.  While half my family is away at summer camp and my chores are reduced, I’ve been prepping foods to help with my goals.  I’ve made protein batter for pancakes and keep it in a jug in the fridge so I can cook a few fresh up in the mornings. I also froze protein shakes into popsicles molds.  It’s just almond milk and chocolate flavored protein powder, but having it in a popsicle slows down my eating process and is really fun. And I made a 4 serving recipe of Thai Chicken Salad and divided it into recycled Chic Fil A containers.

Thai Chicken Salad

If I make a family size recipe each time I cook something new, I can eat on it for awhile for no extra work.  When it’s that yummy I don’t mind eating leftovers.

4. My new washer and dryer have been in service for about a week and I love them!  They are HUGE.  One load in the new washer is worth 3 in my old one.  I used to do 3 loads a day and now I’m down to 1.  It’s the same amount of laundry but I can get through it in 1/3 of the time.


The Other Budget Categories

laundry area

Our washing machine died yesterday and it isn’t an emergency.  The Fisher and Paykel washer was 11 years old and after 3 loads a day (roughly 12,000 loads), we knew it’s days were numbered.  Planning for this didn’t start last week, or even a few years ago.  It started the day we bought it. After we became debt free with a fully funded emergency fund, we added some other budget categories to prepare for days like today.  Every month, we set aside $10-30 in an “appliance fund” and since we know ourselves and needed extra accountability, the cash went into a real envelope and tucked into a combination safe (not into the bank account where we pay for other bills.) We also fund other bonus budget categories including a car replacement fund and furniture replacement fund.  We set aside small amounts each month into these envelopes so that over the period of 10-15 years we can replace our items that wear out.

craigslist washer

If I hadn’t had an appliance replacement fund, my day yesterday would have looked very different.  I would have searched our local Craigslist for a working washing machine to limp by with until we could raise the money we needed.  They had used machines about the age of ours ranging from $50-$150.  I would have used part of our emergency fund or my home repair fund, to pay cash for the appliance.  It’s not a bad plan really and if there hadn’t have been any good sales on, I might have done that anyway so we could wait for a better deal.

Instead, I had the cash to shop for the best rated machines I could afford.  I looked at reviews online, drove to the scratch and dent outlet store to see their choices, and thanked my lucky stars that Independence Day sales were still going strong.

When it came time to make my final decision, I almost went with my less favorite, just to save a few hundred dollars.  Then Darren reminded me that this machine should last us 15 years or more and that since we had the cash saved up, I should buy the set of machines that I wanted to use for the next 15 years.

Even though our dryer is still working, it is almost 18 years old.  We decided to buy a matched set since the machines are visible from most of the main floor.  I should be able to sell the working dryer on Craigslist to offset our costs a little.


I chose the Whirlpool Cabrio set because of it’s huge capacity, low resource use, and good reviews.  I loved the idea of a front loader and would love to be able to build a counter over the top of my machines, but the whole mildew thing and needing to leave the door open discouraged me.

After searching the prices online of all the stores that carry this model of machine, We called Sears to order over the phone.  I needed the dryer door reversed and that couldn’t be specified online.  While I was on the phone the operator asked me if I had a coupon code I would like to use.  I said, “oh! Is there one?”  He put me on hold and we both searched for any available coupon codes.  I was unable to find a coupon code that would work in their system, but his manager approved an additional 5% discount for us. The cool thing about this, is the 5% discount is the same we would have earned by using a sears credit card.  As a rule, we don’t use credit cards and I was feeling kind of bad about missing the discount.  Turns out, I didn’t have to miss it after all.

It may seem like a lot of extra little categories, but most people won’t miss the extra $10-$30 a month and over 15 years that fund will grow to be $1800-$5400.


An Archeological Dig

Caleb mapping stonesSummer time is the busy time around here.  As soon as school was out at the end of may, I headed to Yellowstone via Wall South Dakota as a tagalong on the Grandparent trip for my youngest 2 kiddoes.  Every year for the last 4 years my parents have taken 2 of their grandchildren on a cross-country adventure.  This time they felt Grant was too young to go without his parents, so Darren and I got to come along.


We were home for a couple of days, just enough to wash and repack everybody.  Then I kissed Darren goodbye and took the kids to Lamoni, Iowa for reunion.  I think other denominations might call it family camp or camp meeting.  It was a week of living as families in University dorms. We had prayer and testimony service and classes every day, time for recreation in the afternoon, and powerful music and preaching in the evening.  It’s a time to rest from the cares of the world and get a fresh perspective on our Christian walk.  The leaders encouraged us to stay off the internet to keep apart from the influence and cares of the world.  I had to get on a little to make sure the meal plans went out on time and take care of customer service issues, but for the most part I tried to rest.

The day reunion ended, I filled my mom’s car with 5 of my kids and all their stuff and sent them back home.  My 14 year old son and I headed east to an archeological dig in Nauvoo, Illinois.  He’s at the age where he’s trying to make some decisions about a career and education.  At first he wanted to be a novelist, so we homeschooled his 8th grade year with the One Year Adventure Novel program.  It was a great program but showed him that he prefers to write for a hobby and not to make a career of it.  When he mentioned archeology as his next choice for careers, I used some connections to join the end of a dig unearthing an 1840’s home foundation and artifacts.


He’s still trying to unpack the experience and see if it’s a career option he wants to pursue, but it was super interesting to learn about all the different aspects of the dig.

Last year it took the team most of their month long dig to locate the foundation of the home.  It was a lot of digging to find nothing and trying again to get just the right location.  This year they were able to get started right away in the correct position and make progress.  By the time we arrived they had found 3 of the 4 walls of the home and the 4th wall was uncovered while we worked.


We found things like flatware, scissors, square sewing pins, marbles, square nails, china and other earthenware, glassware, cast iron cookware, animal bones, teeth, fossils, buttons, and a cast iron trivet for a clothing iron.


Each 5 foot square was dug down 2 inches at a time.  The diggers would gently scrape the soil to protect any artifacts that might be hidden beneath.  The loosened soil would go into red scoops (we called them fire trucks) and sent over to the sifters.


Another team member (ahem–me, so hot and sweaty) would rub the dirt through a screen and look for smaller artifacts that might have been missed by the diggers.  All artifacts were placed in a green scoop labeled with a sticky note to show the quadrant and soil level it was found in, then sent over to be washed with a soft brush and clear water.


Then the artifacts were carefully dried and sent to the head archeologist, Paul Debarthe who would identify and document each piece in a database.


Finally the documented pieces were sent to the restoration lab, where Synthia glued pieces back together for display.  It is the team’s end goal to rebuild the home just as it stood in 1840 and display the artifacts inside.

It felt awesome to play a part in recovering history, but it was also a dirty, sweaty, exhausting job.  Caleb and I only dug 3 days with the team.  Most of them were there for a solid month!