Stack it to the sky {Pyrex dreams}

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vintage pyrex @ graceandjoygirlPyrex dishware. The stuff dreams are made of.

At least my dreams.

What? You don’t sit around, wistfully thinking about perfectly stackable glass containers that not only save space in the fridge, save us from death-by-BPA, and make reheating a snap all in the cutest, kitschy colors and patterns?!

vintage pyrex @ graceandjoygirl

Look at all the stacking options!!!

OF COURSE YOU DO! I know I’m not alone because full sets of this stuff are tough to get ahold of and notsocheap when you do.

I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but I have this super awesome sister that loves me oh-so-very-much. She got me this sweet little set for Christmas. I would go on and on and on about how much I love using it…except that I haven’t used it. Not once. In 6 months.

Am I a crazy person?!

Well, yes, but not in this case. It’s because we had Christmas at my parents’ and I haven’t had the nerve to take it back home in my suitcase. I’m too afraid of breaking this precious treasure. Better to me than any silver or gold (well, maybe not gold that I could put in one of those prepaid envelopes you see on commercials because I could mail it in for cash and use it to buy MORE PYREX!!!).

So hopefully, after the big move, my mom will drive it down when she comes for her first visit. She’ll snug it in tightly between her well stocked cooler and the little girl hand-me-downs she’s been storing for me.

I’d love to grow my collection. I adore these primary colored babies and also LOVE the New Dots, Rainbow Stripes, and those darn little Friendship birds.

New Dots | Rainbow Stripes | Friendshipvintage pyrex @ graceandjoygirl.com

The Crazy Daisy pattern is close to my heart because that’s what my mom rocks at her casa.

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Crazy Daisy

Here’s a little snippet from Corelle Corner about my set…

 Multi-colour refrigerator set (1948)
This set includes two red 501s (1½ cup), one blue 502 (1½ pint), and one yellow 503 (1½ Qt).  Although it was emphasized that the dishes were suitable for absolutely any purpose, the 502 was ideally designed to hold one pound of butter and to be held easily in an average woman’s hand.  Multi-colour refrigerator sets remained in production into the 1960s.  Clear 501s & 502s were sold individually, beginning about 1949 and remaining for only a few years.

I’m guessing mine aren’t nearly that old.

So, yes, I love the way they look. But really, truly, I just don’t think the stuff for sale today is nearly as good. Snap on lids that don’t nestle together, edges that are too rounded, dishes too thin that chip and crack.

vintage pyrex @ graceandjoygirl

Come on, look at those cute lids!

Vintage Pyrex has got it going on. And soon, when I get settled again, so will I.

packing is NOT fun {and my tips}

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So I know it seems like I’ve fallen off the face of the earth. I’d like to say I’ve been swamped and have had ZERO time for blogging but that’s just not true. Things have been crazy. Yes. We’re moving. I was gone for 26 days and now I’m back and have to be moved out in 7 days. And make up 4 swim lessons. And have 2 orthodontist appointments, cancel all our utilities, track down the mail that went missing while we were gone, sell a washer, dryer, fridge, crib, couch, and dresser, find housing at our new city 1800 miles away, attend a couple birthday parties, change our insurance, oh, and did I mention, pack our entire house. And still make sure that my girls have a great and fun summer. Whew. Maybe I am busy.

But we’ve all seen those bloggers that manage to take care of this and so much more while still keeping up with regular posts.

That ain’t me. I don’t multi-task. Never have. Don’t plan to start any time soon.

Instead, I’ve been trying to get all that done, especially the last item on my list.

As military peeps, we usually have our stuff moved for us. Some strangers come, cram our stuff into a meeeelllllion boxes, come back another day and load said boxes onto a truck. Because of a few things out of our control (actual some choices we made for our fam), that isn’t happening. We are doing it all ourselves. Packing it all up. Loading it onto a truck. Putting it in storage for 2 weeks. Loading it back into a truck. Driving it 1800 miles across the country. Taking it out of the truck (and hopefully straight into a house…please, please, please not another storage unit).

I know this doesn’t sound like a big deal to a lot of you, but we’re just not used to doing it ourselves. And, DARN, it’s expensive. Thank goodness my hubs knows someone that just relocated here and they’re giving us all their boxes. HUGE score.

So here is what I have learned so far as I pack up our little life into a bunch of little boxes.
packing 101 @ graceandjoygirl

1) Beg, borrow, and steal to get MOVING boxes.

Scrounging grocery stores for cardboard is all well and good for a local move, but if you’re loading your stuff up and carting it a long way, you want good quality moving boxes that will play nice (aka stack well) with each other in the back of the truck. We lucked out and found some people unpacking last week (not too hard in the military) that were willing to share, but I know Craigslist is a good option for free or cheap boxes. We’ll be putting ours on the “list” at the other end. For free of course. I don’t like to profit from something that was given to us for free. Karma and all that. One good deed. Do unto others. You get the idea.

2) Invest in a tape dispenser.

These are not cheap. But it is SAVING MY LIFE!!! If I had to keep track of scissors AND tape AND markers I’d go completely bonkers. This little contraption will be my best friend for the next few days. (By the way, the best price we found for packing tape was WalMart.)

packing tape @ graceandjoygirl

3) Painter’s tape is a wonderful invention.

I use this stuff for everything when I’m packing. To hold curtain rods together, to tape screws to the back of picture frames or bottom of tables, to hold drawers shut, etc. I know it’ll stick long enough to get where I’m going, but won’t be a nuisance to remove once I get there.

4) Keep plastic baggies handy.

This is along the same lines as the tape. Pack your zip baggies last. You will use them for all sorts of stuff. To keep parts together (screws and stuff) and to trap things you don’t want to touch or leak on other things (acrylic paints, candles, toiletries, etc.).

5) Save one box and label it PARTS!

Keep one small to medium box open that you put all the “parts” for assembling furniture in. You don’t want to dig for screws or remotes late at night when you just want to crash or watch some Golden Girls on Nick at Night after a long day of moving and unpacking. Load this box into the truck last. Better yet, put it in the front seat with you. It will be worth it and you can chat with it on the long drive Tom Hanks and Spalding style.

6) Wear pants or knee pads when packing.

packer's knee @ graceandjoygirl

This last one kinda stinks. It’s SUPA hot here. I mean, come on people, it’s Vegas. But if you don’t want “packer’s knee” from crawling around on the carpet while you load boxes, wear some pants instead of shorts. I will be rocking these sexy knees for the rest of the summer, thankyouverymuch, but you can learn from my mistake.

7) Let your kids help.

packing w/ kids @ graceandjoygirl

My small people are only 5 1/2 and 2 11/12, but you can bet I’m letting them help with the move. They are packing their own clothes, books, and toys and LOVE to label the boxes. Is the permanent marker a risk? Yes. Have we already sold the house and the carpet is only mine for 10 more days? Yes. (I kid. Sort of.) They’ve become pros at using the aforementioned tape dispenser and  are excellent at wrapping (not-too-precious) knick knacks. Does it take a little extra time to let them help? Yes. But its so worth it. We are turning their little world upside down and I want them to know that we’re all in it together. Plus, if you let them help for a little bit, they get bored pretty quick and off they go to find something else to do!

I’ve still got a few more days to go in this crazy adventure and maybe I’ll have a few more tips to add, but for now, I’m outta here to have a glass of wine and pack up the girls’ art supplies and playdough. I’m sure its the first thing they’ll ask to play with tomorrow morning.

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just desserts {a cobbler recipe}

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My mom is a cobbler making fool! So much easier than pie and always a hit. Her crust recipe is straight from the 1969 Betty Crocker Cookbook and is flakey, crispy, and yummy.

All key for cobbler crust. And if you don’t know, cobbler is a little like lasagna, its layered, fruit on the bottom, a layer of crust, more fruit, top crust.

Pastry Crust {for 2-7x 10 inch cobblers}

2 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt (scant…that means a little less)
1c. shortening
1/2 c. MINUS 1 T.* very cold water

Measure flour and salt into bowl. Cut in shortening thoroughly. Sprinkle in water, 1 T. at a time, mixing until all flour is moistened and dough almost cleans side of bowl (*stir as little as possible! This is a really crumbly dough). *Rest for 1/2 to 8 hrs.

Gather dough into 2 equal balls; shape each into a flattened round on lightly floured cloth-covered board (or your laminate/granite/marble (LUCKY!) counter-top). Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough into rectangles slightly larger than your baking dish (ex. 9×13 or 7×10).

*Cut into 1/2 – 3/4 inch strips the long length of the dough (you can do this with a straight edge but a fluted pastry cutter wheel or ravioli wheel cutter makes the strips look prettier). Use the odds and end pieces for the first layer (nobody will see it, we’ll put fruit on top). Then set aside enough long pieces for the top layer of the cobbler. There will be additional pieces (if you are using a 7X10 dish). These can be laid on a flat dish/container (Styrofoam meat trays work best if that doesn’t gross you out…it doesn’t bother me a bit!), covered with wax paper, and frozen in a large freezer baggie. Now you’ll have another crust ready when you need it!

And that is the pastry crust. Done! Ta-da! And if you notice, my mom has written a note in the cookbook to “try and don’t quit if you mess up several times!” While intended for my sister and I, I think that note is for all us daughters trying to put yummy food on the table for our families like our moms did for us. 

Now, for the filling. This is how we used those delicious cherries we picked.

Cherry Cobbler Recipe

4 c. cherries (seeded)
1 2/3 c. water
2 c. sugar
1 t. Tapioca
2 T. corn starch
1/4 t. (scant) cinnamon
dash salt
1/2 t. (scant) red food coloring
1/4 t. almond flavoring
4 T. butter
additional cinnamon & sugar for sprinkling on top layer of crust
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients (except add’l cinnamon & sugar), then fruit and water. Combine all ingredients except butter and let stand for 15 minutes. Heat through.

Put half in 7X10 glass dish. Dot with 1/2 the butter and cover with (reject/odds and ends) crust strips (See pastry crust above). Bake 15 – 20 minutes or until brown.

Add remaining fruit mixture, dot with the rest of the butter, cover with (pretty) dough strips. Sprinkle cinnamon & sugar mixture on top crust strips. Bake 25 minutes until crust is brown and fruit is bubbly.

And there you have it! Delicious cherry cobbler straight from the heart of the Midwest. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far. If you couldn’t tell by the lack of my blogging, we sure are! Life has been crazy around here, good in many way. The Mr. got called away last minute for work (as in 17 hours after finding out he was on a plane halfway around the world) and will be gone all of June. We’ll all head back to Vegas next week then pack up our house  because it SOLD!!! We’re out of there the middle of July. That will leave us homeless with our stuff in a storage unit but we are feeling so blessed that we got a full price offer just a few days after listing.  God is so good!

It does still have to appraise for our price (yikes!) so say a prayer and cross your fingers and toes. We should find out today or Monday how that went. I’ll be such a ball of stress until then. Maybe I should eat some more cobbler…

*this is where my mom deviated a bit from good ole’ Betty C. Always trust your momma’s recipe suggestions! I learned that making Thanksgiving dinner by myself for the first time a few years ago.

the cherry on top {summertime}

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I am living the good life in Missouri with my family for a few weeks this month. It seems a little idyllic at times when we’re here and I am reminded again and again how blessed I was to grow up in this place. The girls got to pick cherries with their great uncle and their grandma (my mommy!) a few days ago and they loved it. My big little person said “Look! I’m doing good. There are more cherries in my bucket than in my tummy!”


My dad built this little bridge more than 2 decades ago. Love that my small people are enjoying it, too.

What did we do with those delicious, red jewels? Check back and I’ll share a family favorite recipe!

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