Monday, December 31, 2012

Work in Progress...Farmhouse Bed (King Size)

If you haven't discovered then you seriously need to.  I love so many of the plans on this site.  I fell in love with their original plan (Farmhouse Bed) and set my heart to making this.  Thank goodness my dad is a jack of all trades and my brother has lots of tools.  Bring them together and I have been blessed with the help I need to make this happen.
Foot board slats and head board slats...a bed in the making
Cutting wood is fun to do...especially with the right tools (ie Miter Saw)

*Update:  The bed is built and awaiting finishing touches downstairs.  But we'll save the whole reveal for another post. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Repurposed: Bumper Pads into Toddler Duvet Cover

Most likely you are probably sick of the nursery bedding you picked out.  But if you are like me and you made or bought new stuff for a convertible crib (that didn't convert :P grrrrr) then you may find yourself attached to bedding that hasn't had a chance to outgrow your kiddo.  Bring on this great tutorial and idea on how to turn you bumper pads into a toddler bed size duvet cover.  

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hanging Memories...

I know this isn't original but thought I would share how I used this method and how it worked for me.  We moved recently and let me tell you it has been a project in itself just hanging pictures, mirrors, clocks, etc on the walls.  I hung most of them but was dreading doing this last group.  It went in my twin girls room and in our old house it was a bugger to do plus left a number of beautiful holes in the wall from miss guessing and measuring.  Yuck!

So I opted for the paper hanging method.  I didn't have butcher paper though and didn't want to buy some just for this.  I used grocery ads which worked fine.  I did have a little wiping down of the walls to remove newsprint but for the cost (free!) I would definitely do it this way again.

Step 1.  Lay out your paper and trace each frame you plan to hang.  I also labeled each piece of paper for the corresponding picture.  Repeat for each picture you want to hang.

Step 2.  Cut out each frame outline.  Place it on the back of your frame and mark where your hangers are.  This was a simple one hook frame so there is only one little "X" up top in the $2.49 price.  Repeat this for each picture you plan to hang. 

Step 3.  Place your picture pattern on the wall using the paper outlines.  This was a simple layout but using the paper made it soooooo much easier to get precise placement of where to put nails.  

Step 4.  Hammer in nails without removing the paper from the wall.  I don't think you can see my nail in this.  Once nails are in place then hang your pictures up over the paper to make sure you like the placement.  This saves time of putting all the outlines up again if something isn't quite right.  If it's all fine and dandy take down the pictures, rip off the paper, wipe down the wall and re-hang the pictures.

I need to update the pictures in these but I'm so in love with these black and whites that I took of them as babies

The End ... Love it

*I will be sharing photos of the final decor in their room (as I've remodeled since their nursery) stay tuned if you are interested) *

Friday, August 3, 2012

Blogging Sabbatical

I really enjoy blogging and sharing things I'm working on or finding online to try out.  But let's face it...I'm still living in my in-laws basement (short sale hell is setting in) and I've run out of projects to share.  Those I brought with me to finish up are done.  I don't want to start new ones because I'm convinced (silly me) that we're going to hear word any day now and be moving to our own place again with windows and sunlight (ie better lighting for pictures) and space (oh glorious space with rooms and closets to fill with our stuff).

So until we move I think I will put a freeze on my blogging.  I have this plan in the back of my mind to stock up on the text of projects or meals that have been done and then take pictures when I'm not living in this hole.  Yep it's a bitter day towards the short sale house I love.  I am beyond grateful to my in-laws but I think we have bonded enough now and are both ready to reclaim our space.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Whip It Up Wednesday: Stuffed Shells

Stuffed Shells (recipe makes 6 servings)
1 egg
12 oz Ricotta Cheese or 2 C cottage cheese (I use a 20 oz? cottage cheese)
16 oz Ziti Pasta, slightly undercooked (I use a box of Large Shells)
1 1/2 C Spaghetti sauce
10 oz spinach (optional but delicious)
 Combine egg, cottage/ricotta cheese and spinach. Recipe calls to food process but I simply mashed it all together with a whisk. Boil your Ziti or Shells until they are a few minutes undercooked. Drain and cool to handle. Fill shell or ziti with the cheese mixture. Place in containers for freezing or into a casserole pan for cooking (or split it up for both). Some recipes call to freeze just the mixture but I like to freeze with it in the shell for even easier meals. Cover with spaghetti sauce (I add a little to the bottom of the pan as well) and cook at 350* for 30 minutes. Additional cheese mixture or mozzarella cheese can be used to top the dish.
 forgive my poor pictures...
...and plate presentation

Rating:  5 stars
-super easy to prepare (and freeze).  Tastes delicious (my father-in-law had three servings and I consider him a little hard to please).  

-this recipe comes from the 30 Gourmet's Big Book of Freezer Cooking book.  It is one we've made before and love. It freezes well and tastes great either fresh or post-frozen.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Whip It Up Wednesday: Minestrone Fix-Up

I am being lazy.  I even made something new for my Whip It Up Wednesday.  It was even a hit with everyone (my father-in-law had three servings!).  But it can wait.  Today was rainy and cool.  What a relief after all the heat.  So I made minestrone soup.  The lazy way too...go figure.  I like Bear Creek soups for quick meals on cold (or cool) days.  But the sodium in them kills me (literally and figuratively I'm sure).  My solution:

Double the water!  You can't tell the difference...I think it tastes better.  I cook mine with sausage usually (yeah I know...adding sodium right back in).  But I double or nearly double the water from 8 cups to 14 cups or more.  I also like to add extra noodles and a can of diced tomatoes or corn or beans or whatever extra good thing I have in the freezer or on the shelf.  Bonus:  it stretches even further in addition to hopefully lowering the sodium per serving.  Just passing on.  I'm sure there are healthier soups out there but like I said...this is my lazy day meal. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Make Your Own Baby Wipes

Yep...I bought into the fad idea of making my own wipes.  Mainly because we didn't renew our Sam's Club membership (I loved their wipes) and the cheapy Walmart brand seemed to cause more diaper rashes.  Here is the formula I use and prescribe to.

- Roll of paper towels (I like the select-a-size ones); each roll makes two.
- 1 Tbsp Baby oil
- 2  Tbsp Baby wash (I use Aveno due to a sensitive skin kiddo)
- 2 cups water
- Lavender essential oil - just a few drops **I added this on later as I found one girl was getting rashy/yeasty somewhat frequently...Lavender oil is an anti-fungal oil and is also gentle for babies skin.  It has done the trick; and no I'm not a hippy haha**
- container (I love my Sterilite ultra seal container found here)
- cheap steak knife (I bought some at the $1 store with jagged edge/teeth to save my good knives)

Cut your paper towel in half.  One half of a paper towel fits perfectly in the Sterilite container linked above.  I don't remember the exact measurements on baby wash and oil (and I just guess when I make them now anyway) but I do recall it is more baby wash than baby oil.  I mix up my water, oil and wash (if you're container seals tight enough shaking is great) then submerge your paper towel, put the lid on and immediately flip over.  Add small amount of water if need to wet missed parts.  Remove your tubing once it is wet and pull wipes from the middle.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Free Craft Friday -- Keepsake Pillow

My husband and I first met in person on August 14, 2006.  He work a t-shirt from his favorite band at the time (Lagwagon) and I wore a black shirt with these camoflauge cargo shorts.  We had an amazing first date.  He took me to a restaurant that his family visited every Labor Day weekend.  I joked it was a dive as it was the first time I'd eaten there although I lived much closer to it than he.  We laughed over "stupid ash chicken" they had burnt my orange chicken and went on to enjoy the movie Goonies at the movies in the park in Ogden.  A little over a year later we were married in October 2007.  The t-shirt and shorts were still frequently worn and finally this summer (2012) they both had enough.  His t-shirt had developed holes at the seams and armpits and my shorts finally split down the inseam.  I didn't really want to get rid of either item.  So I asked my husband if he would mind if I turn his favorite t-shirt into a keepsake of our first date.  He agreed and this totally awesome pillow was born.

Keepsake Pillow

-significant clothing from dates, special occassions, etc.
-thread and need or sewing machine

Step 1.  Determine the size of pillow you wish to make.  Make sure you have enough material to cover this size.  You could a pillow form but I decided to just use some extra batting/stuffing I had left over from another project.

Step 2.  Piece your project together.  For me this meant measuring my husbands t-shirt to include the image as well as some material for bordering.  I was then able to piece together a back on the pillow with my shorts.  I cut them apart at the seams and tried to use the least worn pieces for the pillow.  I then pinned the back together and sewed this first (really a mesh of different sizes and shapes).  I pieced the back together making sure that it would oversize the t-shirt piece (size of pillow).

Step 3.  Trim down both from and back pieces of material to be the same size.  In my case I trimmed the shorts to be the same size as the t-shirt piece.  I laid out the t-shirt on top of my sewn shorts and then trimmed off the excess.

Step 4.  Pin both pieces with right sides together and sew along the outter edge with a 1/2" seam.  Leave a hole approximately 2 to 3" in order to stuff the pillow.  If you use a pillow form this "hole" will need to large enough to put your pillow in.

Step 5.  Stuff your pillow.  To finish use needle and thread to sew up the opening in the pillow with an invisible stitch.

*I'm sure there are other ways to form a pillow with remnant clothing, etc.  I simply went with the simplest of ways and one that I knew I would have enough material for.   And yes the pictures are crap on this one...serves me right for using my less than desirable camera.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Whip It Up Wednesday: Tusan Pasta With Tomato-Basil Sauce

Like many of my friends I am newly (or not so newly anymore) addicted to Pinterest.  I love to pin recipes that I want to try, home decor that I swear I will use once we're on our own again and crafts that interest me.  But I figure lots of people never even try their pins out...what a waste of time to pin and not use.  My in-laws have recently fallen victim and grateful recipients of my interest to weed out good recipes from the hum-drum stuff.

Tuscan Pasta with Tomato-Basil Cream Sauce (original found here)

1 (20-oz.) package refrigerated four-cheese ravioli* (I used spaghetti or fettucine noodles also)
1 (16-oz.) jar sun-dried tomato Alfredo sauce
2 tablespoons white wine (optional; I put milk in instead)
2 medium-size fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Garnish: fresh basil strips

1. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, pour Alfredo sauce into a medium saucepan. Pour wine into sauce jar; cover tightly, and shake well. Stir wine mixture into saucepan. Stir in chopped tomatoes and 1/2 cup chopped basil, and cook over medium-low heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Toss with pasta, and top evenly with 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Garnish, if desired.
*1 (13-oz.) package three-cheese tortellini may be substituted.
**1 (14.5-oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, fully drained, may be substituted.
Note: For testing purposes only, we used Buitoni Four Cheese Ravioli and Classico Sun-dried Tomato Alfredo Pasta Sauce.

My Star Rating: 4.5
** I LOVED this the first time but it was simply just delicious the second...still would make it repeatedly though; my in-laws and husband also raved about it.  Major is so easy to prepare.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Free Craft Friday: Applique and Disney Outfits

Every leap year my husband's family celebrates their tradition of going to Disneyland together.  I have enjoyed this tradition twice with his family now and I think it's a great way to not overdo Disney and still keep it magical.

For this trip (February 2012...old project haha) I decided to make the girls a Minni Mouse shirt.  I had found some red with white polka dot material in the remnant bin at Hancock Fabrics a few months before and knew I could put it to use for a fun Disney outfit for them.  A couple weeks before the day I found that I hadn't even touched the project so I went to work.  I searched online for a template for Mickey Mouse ears and discovered people wanted to charge me $4 or more.  No thanks.  I hopped on a Google Docs and made a super simple template myself in about 10 minutes. Mickey Mouse Template here (let me know if it doesn't work).

Next I looked up a few different tutorials on doing applique (Plaid Apple and Sew Mama Sew were my go to blogs on this). 
materials needed (polka dot material not present)
Minnie Mouse Onsie / Applique

-onsie or shirt
-red and white polka dot material
-black material
-Wonder Under or other fusible interfacing
-stablizer or you can use lightweight interfacing (keeps your stitches from puckering)
-sewing materials (sharp sewing scissors help a lot)

Step 1. Prewash your fabrics and onsies. I am horrible at this but it's an important step especially with applique and sewing different fabrics together.

Step 2.  Trace and cut your template for applique from the Wonder Under.  Mickey made it easy as I didn't have to reverse the image or such but keep that in mind depending on how complicated you get. Iron on the Wonder Under peice to the wrong side of your fabric.
 Wonder Under cut into pattern and ironed on to "wrong" side of fabric"

Step 3.  Peel off the paper backing of the Wonder Under once your peice has cooled.  This was my first time doing applique and I swear this was not a step in any tutorial and I tried to iron the peice on with the paper attached (silly me). 
peel off the paper leaving the adhesive behind

Step 4.  Iron the sticky side down of your fabric peice to the shirt or item you want it attached to.

Step 5.  Iron on stabilizer or pin it to the inside of your garment.  This will keep the stitching even and prevent ruffle and other uneven looking applique messes. 

Step 6.  Using a sewing machine or by hand, sew around the outside of the applique.  Try to keep your stiches close to the border and very even...overlapping to prevent fray or allowing for fray if you wish, depending on style.

Gathered Skirt (Addition)
After the applique onsie/shirt was complete I used the red and white polka dot material to add a simple gathered skirt to each onsie. Then I simply put a pair of red and black leggings under each girls' outfit and we were good to go. Literally finishing touches (the bows) were added only hours before our flight.

Step 1.  Sew hems on both top and bottom of skirt.  Then sew a long "baste" stitch with your machine along the top of the skirt.  DO NOT reverse stitch or "lock" your baste stitching.
 gather material with a basic sewing machine..."baste stitch" and keep your thread long at both ends

Step 2.  Keep the thread long at both ends of the peice of fabric.  Once you have the baste stitch complete find the bottom/bobin thread (bottom of hem/stitch) and gently pull on this and gather your skirt across. 
pull the bottom thread or threads in this case and voila...cute gathered skirt

Step 3.  Pin the skirt to the shirt or onsie to get your spacing/gathering just right and then sew the back seam together with right sides together.  Once back seam is complete then sew the skirt to the onsie or shirt.  

finished product without the bow

Basing my under $10 estimate on $3 onsie, $2 remnant fabric, $5 Wonder Under (not using nearly all of it) and having some other supplies on hand.
My girls living it up in Disneyland with their Minnie Mouse themed outfits

Friday, May 25, 2012

Free Craft Friday -- Bookmarks

Hello? Miss me?  I have been off in my real life for quite some time.  Also the giveaway never really did anything so I gave up some interest in this blog.  But mostly things were pretty busy and have only started feeling a little more in control.  We had our house on the market, we updated the kitchen, which then had two offers directly after the remodel (apparently an update sells houses quick), so then we packed up and moved out in somewhat of hurry and now we have settled into my in-laws basement temporarily (ie living the dream).  But we are hoping to turn around and find the perfect home and location soon.
So anyway as luck would have it as we were packing up I found an old craft that I did a number of years ago.  I decided to bring this project with me to our new digs to give myself something to do.  Basically this craft is using embroidery thread to make bookmarks.

embroidery thread (I usually use between 4-6 strands of coordinating colors)
beads (small, medium, large and decorative)
clamp/clothes pin (optional)

Step 1:  Decide on a color scheme and general look you want for the bookmark.  I like to add heavier beads to dangle off the ends.  Use small beads or no beads for the part of the bookmark that will go inside the book.

Step 2:  If you use a long piece you can start a knot at the length of "dangle you want on the first end.  Then just let creativity flow...add beads, charms, decorative knotting and braiding, etc to make your bookmark end.

Step 3:  Once you have one end of your bookmark done, work through the middle.  I usually only braid or use very small bead with this part.  It will only be seen by the reader, it allows the book to close easily and also you don't want to damage the book pages with large beads.  When you finish the length you need for the book tie a knot leaving yourself room to add another "tail" to the book mark.

Step 4:  Similar to Step 1 work beads and charms onto the tail end of the bookmark.  I like to knot between each section or theme of beading to keep things more separate and pleasing to my eye.  Make sure to knot the ends of each tail securely.  I also recommend using super glue to keep it from coming loose.

Step 5:  Place in a book for decoration, use this with your reading or give as a gift.  Who knows maybe this craft will become obsolete if Kindles and tablets keep taking over the world of book.

Monday, April 2, 2012

New Kitchen, New Life

We recently decided to "remodel" our kitchen.  I say remodel in quotations because we didn't do anything extensive but it did give it a whole new look.  We have been trying to sell our home for a couple months and one of the few feedback we recieved was about the kitchen and oak cabinets looking dated.  I never minded them but after another month of no offers I decided it was time to make a change.  I wanted to paint them white or cream (I didn't think staining would do much to change the oak grain, etc).  A friend mentioned that she liked a style she saw on Pinterest and it would be simple enough to do.  It looked nice.  It looked modern.  So within a week of serious thought over it the plans went into action.

* hoping to add a few tutorial notes on how to do this for anyone interested but shame on me I didn't take pictures *

 Close up (beadboard inserted and then painted)
 Close up #2
Close up #3 (I love the cup handles on these)

It took a little longer than I anticipated and although fate stepped in and we had about a week or so with no showings (first one since we listed) it wasn't quite enough to finish up.  Many steps and lots of time for paint to dry.  But we did have a few showings with it in the middle of completion and apparently it didn't scare them all off as one person came back for a second look.  I credit the new kitchen and Jeff is happy to agree with my hard work.  It certainly brings new life and light to our kitchen and hopefully it will help us sell and bring us a new life/direction too. 

--Update-- After this kitchen project was complete we received an offer from each of our next two showings and were able to decline the first and lesser of the two and go with the better offer and sell.  

Steps / Tutorial on the kitchen

- bead board (purchased this at home depot in 4' x 8' panels; it is thin ~ 1/4  inch or less)
- clamps
- liquid nails 
- standard paintable caulk 
- caulk gun
- Krud Kutter or other surface cleaner
- primer and paint (we used Kilz Primer basic and Valspar Kitchen and Bath Enamel ; ask a paint   
  professional if you are concerned with products working together or for this type of project -- we weren't    very concerned with this as it was a "remodel" to help sell our home)
- table saw (highly recommended) or other power saw
- spray paint (optional) - we were going to replace all of our hardware but when hinges ended up being $5 a piece I opted to spray paint based off of a tutorial I had seen
- finishing nails and hammer (DO NOT use on cabinets...we used this to fix the bead board under our snack bar in place after applying the liquid nails).

Step 1 :  Measure all of your surfaces that you plan to add bead board to.  We added it under the snack bar and to the inner panel of each cabinet door.  

Step 2:  Using a table saw (my personal preference...thanks to my brother for helping with this part), cut your pieces of bead board.  It is better to go a little smaller (right on top or inside of your line) than to end up with a piece that doesn't fit in where it should. 

Step 3:  Prepare your cabinets.  Take all of the cabinet doors down and hardware (hinges, handles) off.  Clean with Krud Kutter (this is what most tutorials recommend and it is awesome) and then sand any place that will be painted.  You don't need to sand under the bead board sections.  Wipe down everything with a clean rag after you have sanded. 

Step 4:  Using liquid nails glue down your bead board into each cabinet door.  Then clamp the bead board down while it sets and dries.  We also used books to apply equal pressure.  If you don't have enough clamps for all cabinets then do this in steps.  I don't recommend just using weight to keep the bead board down as it will likely bow up in places (we tried this).  

Step 5:  Once the liquid nails is dry and completely set, then use a caulk gun to run a bead of calk along any gap that may be left with the bead board panel.  Then dip your finger in water and smooth the bead out across the surface.  If you get caulk into the grooves of the bead board I recommend q-tips to clean this out.

Step 6:  While waiting for liquid nails to dry and caulk to dry (I gave each 24 hours) this is a great time to prime and paint the cabinets that are on the wall.  Make sure to tape everything off beforehand.

Step 7:  Smooth out and sand any caulk that is raised above the pattern or layout of your cabinet doors.  Once you are satisfied with the appearance of the doors then it is time to prime and paint those also.  

Step 8:  Either buy new hardware (I like this idea as your hardware is probably outdated and you want a "new" kitchen wow factor) or put your hardware back up and replace the cabinet doors and drawers (once they have had a good amount of time to dry of course).

Step 9:  Enjoy, brag and sell that house (in our case...I think the kitchen was a big selling point once we finished it; two offers from the two showings that happened after it was finished said a lot to me). 

* once again sorry that there aren't pictures but hopefully you can put the pieces together.  If there are questions don't be afraid to leave a comment.  Thanks *

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Whip It Up Wednesday -- Banana Zucchini Bread

I love banana bread and I love zucchini bread.  I had purchased bananas for my girls and then some zucchini to make bread.  Seeing as how the bananas were becoming overripe and I still hadn't made my zucchini bread I decided to combine the two.  So here is my first minor experiment in recipe adjusting.

Banana Zucchini Bread

1/2 C shortening
1 C sugar
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas
1 small to medium zucchini grated
1 C all purpose white flour
1 C wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C nuts (optional)

Cream shortening, sugar, eggs, bananas, grated zucchini and vanilla together.  Sift in flour, soda, cinnamon and salt.  Blend all of your ingredients together, mixing in nuts at the end if you desire.  Pour batter evenly into  two greased/floured loaf pans.  Bake for 45 minutes at 350* F.  If making muffins cook at 350* for 35 minutes. 

Notes:  You can do this recipe with three bananas instead of the zucchini.  My original recipe called for 2 cups white flour but I have become of fan of putting in at least half wheat flour.  I also decided to add some cinnamon.  My loafs both stuck to the pan using spray so I would recommend the grease and flour method for this one.

Rating:  5 stars 
-I really enjoyed this one.  It was easy to throw together and cook despite the disaster in my kitchen (more on that later).  I like the mixture of flavors.  Also my girls definitely enjoyed this bread and were begging for more (you know the open mouth and "ah ah ah" type begging). 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Giveaway Begins...

I've decided that although this Giveaway is not the ideal of what I wanted to do that it's about time that I fulfill on my promise.  So I will be starting the clock on our first giveaway today.  The process I will be following is this.

-Every follower of this blog will be entered to win
-If you comment on this post you will get an additional entry
-I will posting about the giveaway on our Facebook page...if you like this Facebook post you will get an additional entry
-Anyone you refer to the blog or Facebook page will also earn you an additional entry
-Entries will end on March 24, 2012 at midnight (MST).  Drawing winner(s) will be announced on March 26th.

I will make a list of those who have been entered and assign numbers down the list and then use a random number selector to chose a winner.  The winner will be announced on Facebook and the blog and will then email me with their choice of items below and their address.

Giveaway choices:
-seat belt cover (a pair for infant car seat or one for adult seat belt)
-tiered plate (the green plate set or the hardware to make your own w/ plates not included)
-your choice of three hair accessories (felt or silk)
-fabric ball

So follow, like, refer and win something super great for yourself or someone you love.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Whip It Up Wednesday -- Zucchini Muffins

I've said it before and I'll say it again (especially on another lazy Wednesday like today).  I am finding all sorts of healthy toddler recipes online.  I love giving them something healthy and heck it is dang tasty to me as well.  This one comes from  Find it and other finger foods here.

Cheesy Zucchini Muffins
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk - use whole milk, formula or breast milk
2/3 cup olive oil
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 medium zucchini, grated
1 to 2 tsp dried oregano (adjust according to your baby's taste)
3 tbsp grated Cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 450 deg F.  Beat the eggs and milk together in a bowl, then stir in the oil.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.  Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until the flour is moistened (the batter should look lumpy - don't try to make it smooth).
Carefully stir in the zucchini and oregano.  Spoon into greased muffin tins (you should get 12 muffins) and top with the cheese.
Bake for around 20 to 25 mins, then cool and serve!

Notes:  I didn't change this one much.  I used canola oil instead of olive oil.  Also since I didn't have oregano on hand I put in some Italian seasoning.  This is a very easy recipe and also freezes and reheats well (although keep in mind hot spots if you microwave to reheat).

Rating: 5 stars
-love these.  A sweet but savory taste.  I love to cut them open and spread butter on them. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Whip It Up Wednesday -- Pumpkin Pancakes

Man I'm a slacker.  I was going to put in effort and share a recipe out of my books or recipe box but sorry not going to happen this week.  But I have been on a "I need healthier foods and snacks for my girls" kick so I will share a recipe that I really like and they seem to love.

Pumpkin Pancakes (via ...I love love love them for kid recipes...check them out)

1 C whole wheat flour
3/4 C white flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs
1 C pureed pumpkin or canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
2 C milk
3 T canola oil

Stir/sift together all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  In a separate larger bowl beat eggs, pumpkin and vanilla together.  Add milk and oil and beat again until smooth.  Add the flour mixture.  Cook as usual.

Notes:  I left out the salt (as did the author) and the allspice (I didn't have any).  I would actually try adding the salt next time but they taste fine without it.
I must be a pancake cooking ninny.  The first couple didn't flip well for me.  Make sure you cook these until the edges are a little "dry" and top is not as shiny (these are hard to burn).  This will help to have a non-doughy and easy-flipping pancake.
I also doubled the recipe for the purpose of freezing.  Worked great.  I usually reheat in the microwave for about 30-40 seconds and then pop them in the toaster to keep the soggy away.

Rating:  5 stars
-these are delicious and my 1 year old twins love these also.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Free Craft Friday -- Wire Accessory Organizer

I was cleaning out junk for selling our house when I came across my old wire cube storage.  About the time that the wire hit the bottom of my outside trash can the idea of turning them into this occurred to me instead.  I dug it out (yep I dumpster dove in my own trash can) and got to work.

-Wire cube (one side piece no extras)
-glue gun
*I made this for FREE but I'm quoting under $5 to include cost of ribbon.

Step 1.  Arrange a pattern either in your mind or on the wire cube that you want to follow with your ribbon.  Don't worry about pre-cutting this as you go.

Step 2.  Loop your ribbon around the back of wire cube and hot glue to the back of ribbon.  Then proceed to weave your ribbon through the wire until you get to the opposite side.  Pull ribbon tight and wrap it around the wire and got glue to the back again.

*I promise pictures are coming;  my laptop crashed a while back and I think these pictures (done before the holidays) went with it.

Step 3.  Continue with your pattern by repeating step 2 until it is complete.  Then mount on the wall with a couple nails in the corners and you're done.  Decorate with hair clips (alligator work best but I've hung snap  types over the ribbon also--unsnapped of course)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Whip It Up Wednesday -- Mama Chang's Spicy Chicken

I have decided to add on to scheduled posts on this blog by including Whip It Up Wednesdays.  I will be sharing some of my favorite recipes as well as recipes that I discover and try out online.  I will rate and review them and discuss tips or changes I made or would make.

* original recipe found here (I changed the name a little based on how I've made this)

Mama Chang's Stir-Fried Shrimp and Scallions
*not my picture...I forgot to take one; will replace this if I remember next time*

1 1/2 to 2 lb chicken
3 garlic cloves
1" piece of fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper 
1 large egg white
2 tsp cornstarch
3/4 C ketchup
1/2 C low sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C canola oil
3 scallions/green onions
1/2 C coarsely chopped cilantro (optional;  I don't use this)

1.  Cut up your chicken into bite size pieces and cook in a large skillet.  When they are mostly done remove from heat and place into a large mixing bowl.  

2.  Toss the chicken with garlic, ginger, red pepper, egg white and 1 tsp of cornstarch until well coated. 

3.  In a separate bowl, whisk the ketchup with the brother, sugar, pepper, salt and remaining 1 tsp of cornstarch. 

4.  Heat oil in your large skillet until shimmering.  Add your chicken mixture to the oil over med-high heat and let sizzle and cook until the chicken is somewhat golden.  Add the ketchup mixture and simmer for an additional 2 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.  Stir in the scallions and cilantro (or top with cilantro for garnish) and serve.  

* this can be served on it's own or pair with steamed rice or ham fried rice.  

Ratings/Comments:  I really love this recipe.  It is a little spicy so if you are sensitive to spice considering cutting down or cutting out the ginger and/or red pepper.  The original recipe is made with shrimp.  Since I made it with chicken I  made sure to cook my chicken thoroughly before mixing with other ingredients.  Then I cooked the chicken in the oil til golden to make it a little crispy.  Original recipe also recommends slicing the garlic and mincing the ginger.  I used a garlic press on the garlic and grated the ginger with a small cheese grater. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Difference is Paint...

Not much of a post but I'm quite happy with the result so I'm sharing.  We recently took on the weekend project of painting our master closet.  When we bought the home it was a dark brown...I think the previous owners were going for a "wood look" sans the nice look.  Anyway after 3 years (plus) of living here and the recent listing of our home to live somewhere else (we aren't loving our house plan or lot now with kids in the picture) came time to make a change.  A change I wish we would have made 3 years ago.
My side / shared side of the closet pre-painting (please ignore the mess)
Husband's side of the closet pre-paint
Post-paint job miracle...yeah! I love our closet now
Husband's side post-paint job (still needs organizing again)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

First Birthday -- 12 Month Banner

This was my absolute favorite thing to put together for our girls first birthday.  I saw variations of these all over pinterest and it instantly became my must have decoration (and keepsake) for their birthday.  I went off of this one from Modern Parent Messy Kids but with a definite variation as I wanted circles and a little background color/paper.

Materials Needed:
- 13 Large Paint Chip samples (per banner) - (FREE)
- 1 or 2 sheets of scrapbook paper ($1)
- 1 pack of number stickers ($2.50)
- 1 pack of letter stickers ($1) 
- pictures galore (1 picture for each month - $1.50 or FREE if you already have some on hand)
- 3 round objects in various sizes (I used a tin candle can, a spool of ribbon and a measuring cup)
-glue stick

Step 1: Cut out rounds of your pictures, paint chips and scrapbook paper.  I used my largest circle to cut out the paint chip, then next largest for the paper and then smallest circle for the picture.  You could do this in different order.

Step 2:  After figuring out your layout preference; Glue your bottom layer to your middle layer.  After gluing I placed them under a heavy book to prevent curling. 

Step 3:  Once your bottom/middle layer are dried then glue your pictures onto the paper.  Once again I dried these under a heavy book to prevent curling. 

Step 4:  After all layers of paper and pictures are dried then add a number to each picture to display the month that it represents in your child's life.  I put month 12 in a larger middle picture and then NB (newborn) through 11 months on the sides.  This made an even 6 pictures per side. 

Step 5:  Tape, staple, clip or otherwise fasten your pictures to yarn, string, wire, crochete thread (my choice), hemp string or whatever else strike your fancy or decor motif.

I couldn't help but share pictures (close up) of both banners I made.  I can't be playing favorites now can I??  Love these girls!!

*I had most of my materials on hand so I am putting this down as an Under $5 project (it might cost a couple dollars more if you have to buy supplies or pictures).

Friday, January 27, 2012

Free Craft Friday -- Gripper Socks

In theory these look like a great idea right?  I thought so too.  Our one-year old twins are up and cruising but socks cause slipping.  And laminate floor causes cold toes.  And I didn't want to buy a bunch of socks with gripping.  So I bought some puff paint ($1 a bottle) and put these together.  Maybe if I had older kids they could comment as to the effectiveness but I can't tell the difference beyond them becoming more sure footed.  But they were fun to make and a cute touch.