Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ikea Swedish Meatballs Gravy Recipe {low-fat version}

ikea swedish meatballs gravy low fat recipe
A few days ago at dinner time, I found myself with 1/4 bag of frozen Ikea Swedish Meatballs, but no gravy mix. Gasp!

Not wanting to eat them dry, or drive the 45 minutes to Ikea just for gravy, I crossed my fingers and googled "Ikea Swedish Meatballs Gravy Recipe". And BAM! Like magic, it was there.

All I needed to do was use an online tool to convert ml to cups, substitute milk for cream, and test out my newly adapted recipe.

As I shared on Instagram, this swedish meatballs gravy recipe was a total hit! And it's healthier than the original by subbing milk for cream, and tastes like the real thing. No more gravy packets needed!

Here is the deliciousness, that is Ikea swedish meatballs gravy:
(sorry, not ambitious enough to make the meatballs myself. yet.)

Ikea Swedish Meatballs Gravy Recipe

*low-fat version adapted from the official Ikea Cookbook

1/2 c milk (substituted instead of cream)
1 c beef broth
2 tsp soy sauce
1-1/2 Tbsp flour

Heat broth & soy sauce in saucepan on the stove. Dissolve the flour in milk. Add milk/flour mixture to broth mixture. Bring to a boil & thicken. Simmer about a minute. Salt & pepper as needed. Serve with Swedish Meatballs and rice, boiled or mashed potatoes.

*This may be my new go-to for quick, delicious gravy for any meal!

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Spooky Halloween Stories for Kids (with happy endings)

I had the BEST day at work on Friday telling spooky Halloween tales to the kids in the After-School Program! We dimmed the lights, sipped hot chocolate and spooked and giggled ourselves silly.

I had searched for Halloween stories that would be appropriate for 3rd through 5th graders, but found that everything labeled "scary stories for children" either ended with severed heads or dead bodies.  I don't think so.

I searched for "spooky stories for kids with funny endings" & stumbled upon this site: Bare Bones for Storytellers that labels each story by funny, scary, etc. and found the perfect mix to share with the kiddos. Spooky story time was a HIT! And definitely the highlight of my week. Also makes a great family night activity!

Spooky / Funny Halloween Stories for Kids
*successfully tested out on 3rd - 5th graders 
**can be adapted as needed
***some stories were adapted/embellished (see the link above for the originals)

John and Mary were an ordinary couple, and their children, Jimmy and Jeannie, were also ordinary, except for the fact that they lived beside a graveyard.

John walked to and from work through the graveyard every day, and never worried about a thing. When daylight savings time kicked in, and it was dark by the time he came home, however, he stared to feel very uneasy. One night as he was walking home through the graveyard, he heard a voice in the darkness saying, "Turn me over, turn me over!" He was so scared, he ran all the way home. His wife and children laughed at him and told him there was nothing spooky in the graveyard, nothing to fear.

The second night, he heard the voice again, moaning in the darkness, "Turn me over, turn me over!", and ran all the way home. And again they laughed at him.

The third night was Halloween. Clouds covered the moon, and the night was pitch black. This time, when he heard the voice, he followed it. Through trees, past bushes, down a dark graveyard path, he saw a huge marble crypt, surrounded by a wrought iron fence. He pushed the gate (cree-eeak). He walked down the steps (13 of them).

The voice was coming from behind the huge metal door. "Turn me over, turn me over." He put his shaking hand on the doorknob and turned it slowly, cree-eak . . . and looked inside.

He saw a pile of red hot coals. On top of that was a metal grill. And on top of the grill was a hamburger, done on one side. He picked up the spatula, and turned the hamburger over.

It said, "Thaaaank youuuuuu."

The vampire went home to his castle one night, flying in through the window to find a bunch of vampires waiting for him. When they saw the blood on his face, they began to get thirsty and asked: "Where did you find the blood?"

He answered: "I can't tell you - it's too embarrassing!"
The other vampires said: "Please, tell us! We are so thirsty!"
The vampire said: "Okay, follow me!"

He led them into the dark nights sky and suddenly off in the distance there was a big dark tower.
The vampire asked: "Do you see the tower?"
The other vampires answered: "Yes, we do."
"Well, I didn't!"

(somewhat more scary than the others - adapt as necessary)
Once upon a time there was a girl named Lucy who was very excited about moving to a new house. She was going to have her own room for the very first time in her life! Lucy loved her bedroom on the first floor near the back of the house by the old, oak tree. The first night her parents went to bed. Then Lucy went to bed.

She was in her room...all by the dark..when she heard a tap, tap, tap, tap outside her window. She looked outside too see a woman with long, wild, black hair, a pale white face, long boney fingers, and long red fingernails. The woman cried out, "Lucy, do you know..what I can do..with my long red fingernails...and my ruby red lips?" "NO!" said Lucy. "And I don't want to know!" She slammed the window shut and jumped in bed and pulled the covers over her head. She did not move all night.

The next night when she went to bed she heard the tap, tap, tap, on her window again..and the same woman was there "Lucy, do you know..what I can do..with my long red fingernails...and my ruby red lips?" "NO!" yelled Lucy and slammed the window. She stayed under the bed all night.

The next night when she went to bed, she heard the tap, tap, tap on her window..."Lucy, do you know..what I can do..with my long red fingernails...and my ruby red lips?" Again she yells, "NO!" and slams the window. She stayed in the closet all night.

The next night when she went to bed, she put the pillow over head, but soon she could still hear the tap, tap, tap at the window. "Lucy, do you know..what I can do..with my long red fingernails...and my ruby red lips?" Well, Lucy was TIRED, Lucy was UPSET, Lucy NEEDED to get some sleep, so Lucy opened the window and yelled, "What, what, WHAT? Every night you come here. Every night you say, "Lucy, do you know..what I can do..with my long red fingernails...and my ruby red lips?" Well, I don't know! I don't know! And I don't care! Answer the question yourself. What do you do with your long red fingernails and your big red lips?"

The creature looked at the girl, smiled hideously and slowly reached up with one of its long, long red fingernails, and reached toward its two big red lips and went "B-b-b-l-l-b-b-b-b-l-l-l-l-l-l

1. A boy sat down on a park bench next to an old woman. She turned to him and asked, "Do you believe in ghosts?" "NO!" said the boy. "Well, I do," said the woman, as she disappeared.

2. A man awoke in the middle of the night, and terrified, he reached for a flashlight. It was placed in his hand.

3. The last person on earth was alone in a house. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door.

This is a story told by a man working late at the St. Louis Art Museum. One night, as I was closing up the mummy exhibit, the guard was called away. I promised not to touch anything and to lock up when I was finished. As I was about to lock the door, I noticed a piece of the white mummy wrapping coming loose, and reached over to tuck it back in place. Suddenly, the mummy sat up and reached toward me. I jumped and backed away, but he stood up and began to follow me. I ran out the door and he was there. I ran down the hall, and he was there. I ran over to the closet, and he was there. In a final desperate attempt to get away I crouched down underneath the staircase. I was trapped. I had no where else to go and covered my head with my trembling hands. There under the staircase, as the mummy slowly approached me, I could hear him dragging his long wrapped legs behind him. Slowly, he reached out toward me and touched my arm, and said, "Tag, you're it!"

Once there was a baby who lived with her family in a little house at the edge of town. Her favorite drink was apple juice. One stormy night, when the electricity was out, there was no apple juice left in the kitchen. 

Baby: I want my apple juice, and I want it NOW!
Father: Okay, I’ll go to cellar for your apple juice.

Father walked down the dark, creaky steps with his dim flashlight to the even darker cellar. As he opened the cellar door (creeeaaak) and began to walk inside, in the blackness he heard, I AM THE GHOST WITH ONE BLACK EYE

Father ran upstairs as fast as he could! "I don’t want to go down there any more!"

Baby: I want my apple juice and I want it NOW!
Mother – I don't want to go down there!
Big brother – I don't want to go down there!
Big sister – I don't want to go down there!

Baby gets down from her highchair and says, Fine! I'll get it myself!

Baby walks down the creaky steps to the dark cellar. As she opens the cellar door (creeeaaak) and begins to walk inside, in the blackness she hears, I AM THE GHOST WITH ONE BLACK EYE

Baby: Well, I’ll give you two black eyes if you try to stop me from getting my apple juice!

The ghost was never heard from again


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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sweater to Cardigan Refashion Tutorial

How to turn a sweater into a cardigan
{image Sweater to Cardigan Refashion © ShannonSorensen}
It's sweater season again and I've been rummaging through my bags of forgotten sweaters. The ones that don't fit, yet I can't seem to part with.

This v-neck pink argyle sweater has always been one of my favorites, but one day it started fitting tighter and haven't worn it since. Until now.

Give any old sweater new life, by turning it into a cardigan, with this easy refashion tutorial!

How to Turn your Sweater into a Cardigan

1. Choose a coordinating bias tape OR you can make your own or use bias tape with fabric and these tools.

2. Measure the front of your sweater and cut that much bias tape + extra to tuck under on the top and bottom edge. Measure and draw a straight line down the front of your sweater.

3. Cut the front of your sweater using the line as your guide (no turning back now!).

refashion your old sweater into a cardigan with this tutorial
{Sweater to Cardigan Refashion © ShannonSorensen}

This binding will be turned to the inside of your sweater. If you want the binding to show on the outside, follow these steps with the sweater inside out. I'll have a tutorial for this method soon.

4. Pin the binding down with the shorter side flush with the edge of your sweater cut.

5. Fold the top and bottom edge of your binding over and pin.

6. Using a ball point needle (best for sewing with knits), and low pressure (I set my dial to 1) stitch down the creased fold all the way from the top to the bottom edge.
Refashion tutorial turn your sweater into a cardigan
{Refashion: Sweater to Cardigan © ShannonSorensen}

7. Fold the stitched binding over to the inside, covering up the raw edges.

8. Pin the folded binding from top to bottom. Be sure to tuck under the top and bottom edges.

9. Stitch as close the the edge of the binding as you can (the inside edge). My machine has a setting that moves the needle to the left hand side, so that is what I used.

10. Admire your handy work. You're all done!

Sew your own cardigan from an old sweater
{Transform your old sweater into a cardigan step-by-step © ShannonSorensen}

I'm so happy I'll be able to wear this sweater again, transformed into a new cardigan.

turn your old sweater into a cardigan refashion
{Sweater to Cardigan Refashion © ShannonSorensen}

I love the peekabo turquoise accent inside. You would never know it wasn't made this way in the first place.

How to turn a sweater into a cardigan
{Turn a old sweater into a cardigan: tutorial © ShannonSorensen}

refashion project, turn a shirt into a cardigan
{image © ShannonSorensen}
My next project is refashioning this men's long sleeved striped shirt into a cardigan...the wheels are turning! Stay tuned!

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All Things with Purpose

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Add water bottle holders to a fanny pack

how to add water bottle holders to a fanny pack
{photo: Add water bottle holders to a fanny pack © ShannonSorensen}
Sometimes I embarrass myself. Sometimes the thrifty-crafty-I-can-make-it-myself side takes over and I should hide my head in shame, but instead I share my faux-pas on the internet.

Since taking up biking, I've needed a fanny pack with water bottle holders for long rides. Many of the good ones are a little pricey and don't have 2 water bottle carriers, so I've been left toting a heavy backpack. Ugh.

In a *frenzied moment* when I was due to go out on the bike in 15 minutes and couldn't bare the thoughts of lugging a heavy backpack again, I grabbed whatever I had on hand (enter: thrifted shower curtain loops + elastic) and slapped this baby together. And I do mean slapped.

It wasn't my best work by any means (mismatched fabric, thread and elastic) and I'm a little embarrassed when "real bikers" pass me and pray they don't laugh at my DIY fanny pack bottle holders, but it did the job. Who needs dignity anyway, when you're wearing biking shorts that feel like a big adult diaper? At least I'd be hydrated.

Here are some quick how-to's:

Add water bottle holders to a fanny pack

easy way to add water bottle slings to fanny pack
{photo:  © ShannonSorensen}
What I did, in the hurried / thrifty version was to cut loops off the top of a thrifted fabric shower curtain to use as the bottle slings, and elastic to secure the water bottles. In my perfect version, I would have used coordinating fabric or nylon webbing (like backpack straps) + matching elastic.

1. Determine the length of your slings.
If there are water bottles you use most often, measure their length to determine how long you need your slings to be. The elastic will help make up for differences in width, but if your bottles are longer, you'll need longer strips for your slings.

2. Cut strips of coordinating fabric for your sling strips. Choose fabric or material that coordinates with your fanny pack or use nylon webbing (like backpack straps). The sling length should be a little over 1/2 to 3/4 the length of your water bottle. The width should be about 1-1/2 inches or more.

3. Sew one end of your sling strip to the waist belt of your fanny pack.

4. Cut 4 pieces of coordinating elastic. Two for each side. Measure the length of elastic by wrapping it around your water bottles and cut it so it fits snug.
make a fanny pack with water bottle carriers
{photo © ShannonSorensen}

5. Sew the elastic to the sling strips - 1 about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom and the 2nd at the top of the sling strip which you will also attach to the waist band of the fanny pack.

And that's about it. It really doesn't take a lot of time and has been a life saver on longer bike rides.

Every time I use this water-bottle-toting-fanny-pack the gunslinger song from old westerns goes through my head and I feel like spinning my water bottles and tossing them back in the holsters.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Arrows T-shirt DIY with stencil and fabric paint

arrow t-shirt with stencil and paint diy
{DIY Arrow T-shirt © ShannonSorensen}
I just realized I haven't posted since September. Time has whirled by since school started!

We had such a beautiful Seattle summer, but last weekend it started raining again. I mean a lot of rain. Buckets.

During our torrential downpour, I decided to put my craft on. Time to give some life to this plain blue t-shirt.

I love all the arrow designs I'm seeing lately, so I decided to create my own.

How to Make a Stenciled Arrow T-shirt:

(*product links included for your convenience.)
PRINT & CUT STENCIL: Find a clip art image online, print it on heavy card stock & cut it out with a craft knife tool

OR Use a this cute pre-made arrows stencil

how to create a stencil for arrow t-shirt design
{Make an Arrow Stencil © ShannonSorensen}

1. PROTECT YOUR FABRIC: I ironed a piece of freezer paper to the inside of my t-shirt so the paint wouldn't go through. You can also use a piece of cardboard.

2. FABRIC PAINT: I like SoSoft fabric paint because it leaves a flexible, soft finish. Put a piece of saran wrap on a plate or surface for easy use and clean up.

3. APPLY PAINT: Hold down stencil and use a foam brush or other applicator and gently blot paint through the stencil on the shirt. Move stencil as needed and repeat.

4. FINISHED DESIGN: Let your painted design dry. SoSoft Paint doesn't require ironing to set the color, but once dried, you can heat set paint with a dry hot iron (using a cover cloth) for 2-3 minutes.
Instructions for making a stenciled painted t-shirt design with arrows
{Instructions for making an arrow painted / stenciled t-shirt © ShannonSorensen}

I love the way it turned out! It's fun by itself and a pair of jeans, with a black long-sleeve t-shirt under it, or paired with a jacket or cardigan.
DIY Painted Arrows T-shirt finished
{DIY Arrow Stenciled T-shirt © ShannonSorensen}

Arrow t-shirt, how to make your own with paint and stencil
{Painted Arrows T-shirt DIY © ShannonSorensen}

The wheels are still turning as I try to come up with a design for my other plain t-shirt...and speaking of turning wheels, it's time to go for a bike ride. It's been a week or so since I've been able to go because of the rain, but we're getting a break today!

(*This post contains product links, added for your convenience. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases through )

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