Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Photography spot: Ugly duckling tree

This is our 'ugly' tree. Seriously. That's what my husband calls it. And everyone has asked us if we're cutting it down since we bought this house. Sure it's ugly, maybe, with its bumpy and knotted bark and dead branches that need to be trimmed. But with something that looks like this, even if it is just once a year, I could never cut it down.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Craftilicious: Washi tape magnet how-to

I decided it was high time I started using all this washi tape I've been so inclined to purchase. And I have a few more rolls coming thanks to a pickyourplum splurge a few days back.

After a few minutes on Pinterest I have plenty of inspiration to get started. Here's my quick tutorial for some washi tape magnets.

Supplies needed:
washi tape
exacto knife
white paper
magnetic sheets

Peel the backing from your magnetic sheet and adhere to your white paper. Trim off the excess.

Take your rolls of washi tape and start creating 'strips' of tape on your white paper sheet as closely together as possible without overlapping.

Take your ruler and start cutting apart the 'strips' until you have actual real magnetic strips of tape.

Start chopping up the strips into whatever length magnets you prefer. Finish the edges however you like. As you can see I decided to try all different edges with mine. Some are arrows, others are zig-zagged to look like ripped tape and some are just straight.

Now find something cool to put on your fridge and stand back to admire your work!

Here's the give-away deal: Comment below and tell me what TWO options you like best from these photos. I'll will pick and announce a winner tomorrow, Tuesday 4/30. So hurry hurry hurry and don't miss out! If you win, I will ship you both the options you chose in your comment. What what?! Awesome, right?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Delicious Dishes: Mongolian beef with rice

Okay, this crockpot recipe is about a half hours worth of prep and a couple of days worth of amazing. If you don't have a husband who takes second and third helpings. You can find the recipe here. I followed it pretty close, but as usual I used less sugar and less soy. And I actually use Braggs 'liquid aminos' instead of soy. I used 1/2 cup of brown sugar instead of 3/4 and 1/2 of soy instead of 3/4. It still tastes crazy good so if you want to do what I did, you won't be missing anything.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A perfect spring day

A friend suggested we take the kiddos to the park for some pictures in the daffodils. Since yesterday was a bit cold and dreary, we decided to head our there today. And what a perfect day for it! We were there in the morning and it was already warm enough to loose our jackets. After we took some pictures it was off for a quick walk around and then some playtime in the playground. I never realized how awesome fences were until I had a walking/running/feerless/stubborn toddler. After some catching up, we took off on our separate ways. A quick jaunt through Target, some lunch at home, a nice long walk with the dog and bebe and a sleeping girl up in her crib. Ah, a perfect day... Okay, enough talking, time for the photobomb:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Craftilicious: Button necklaces

I originally found this button necklace tutorial. And here's the Pinterest link for all Pinners out there. My goal this year is to use up a lot of my current 'craft' supplies instead of having to rush to the store each time I want to make something. So I've been sifting through my 'pins' and choosing projects to help me do that. I have a whole room full of 'stuff' and not enough time to justify it all.

 This project seems perfect. It uses a lot of buttons I had lying around, and it makes something fun for the bebe to play with. For now I think I'll mostly be wearing them so she can play with them while I'm holding her in stores or waiting in lines. She also likes to play with my necklaces while she gets a diaper change. 

This is an easy in front of the tv project. I managed to make a couple in about 15-20 minutes. She recommends using glue to keep the string ends from fraying but I used an embroidery needle to make things incredinly easy and quick. I made a rainbow version so we could learn our colors, but I love how cheerful it is so it might become a staple for summer fun outfits.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Jeggings R Us

Just a random photo of my adorable child. And her adorable outfits. I'm addicted to buying cute clothes. And anything miniature is automatically cute. Good thing it's in the budget!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Craftilicious: Trivet cork boards

After seeing a photo on Pinterest, I figured it was easy enough to figure out on my own. So I did. It took me all of ten minutes to make all three of these trivet fabric-covered cork boards. You'll probably have a harder time picking your fabric choices. I know I did.

I only used two in this space. The third one didn't coordinate as well as I thought, so I scrapped it to use elsewhere.

Simply choose and cut fabric to fit around the cork trivet from IKEA. Hot glue around the edges and pull fabric tightly to the back. I did this in a pattern. Top then bottom, left side then right side, then filled the in between just to make sure it was all smooth. In the back I trimmed and glued the excess fabric down and then used 3M velcro tabs to hang it to the wall.

I have to pick up some more. I'm planning to make a set to hang in the living room and use as a rotating picture display, like this:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Never ceasing

In light of the Boston bombings, I can't help but 'pray without ceasing'. It's something you hear over and over in the church circuit but it doesn't really compute into real life until something like Monday's attack. Or the Newtown shootings. Or my cousin's untimely passing. Or any other horrible event that tests humanity's or a family's strength and love. It weighs on my mind all day, day after day. I pray and pray and pray all day. It's all I can think to do. All sorts of thoughts and prayers. Mostly for those left behind mourning their loved ones. For future safety. For a better world. And now and then for the enemy. That is the hardest prayer. And one I admit I don't pray without ceasing. However, the most amazing thing, the most encouraging and hopeful signs, are the stories that come out of the aftermath. The stories of humanity and community and love and support. The stories that tell us that love overcomes evil and heartache. Every time and in every way. I try to think of that without ceasing.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Delicious Dishes: Chicken pot pie

It ain't pretty but is is SO scrumptious. The leftovers only lasted a day. You can find the recipe here, although I did make my own adjustments. Instead of using a bag of frozen veggies, I used about a quarter of a bag I had left in the freezer, chopped three to four fresh carrots up and added in 3-4 chopped stalks of celery. The rest of the ingredients and instructions I followed to the t. {Tee?}

I prepped most of what I needed during nap time {including cooking the chicken} and was able to get the pie in the oven within 15-20 minutes.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Delicious Desserts: Glazed donut muffins

Yup, you read that right. Glazed. Donut. Muffins. Fan-tastic. These were a mess to make, but the end result is so worth it. I wanted to try this recipe so bad, and bringing most of them for coworkers to consume seemed like a perfect compromise.

They are very good and very sweet, so like I always do, I cut down on the sugar. I usually half the sugar, and they come out just as delicious. I didn't skimp on the glaze sugar though, since that's about all it's made out of.

I thought I would document the messy process. Here's a stash of mini-muffins in the glazing process:

And here's what mine looked like about five minutes after it was ready to taste-test:

The mini-muffins were a big hit with little hands. The entire stash disappeared at work and there were lots of compliments flying around. I doubled the recipe to make sure I had enough to make the mini versions and ended up with a few dozen. If you decide to do the minis, only bake them for 12 minutes. The original glazed donut muffin recipe resides here. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Delicious Desserts: blackberry crumble

Doesn't this look amazing? That's probably because it is. It was simple and easy. I'll keep this in the recipe book for a nice relaxing summer day. You can find instructions here.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Craftilicious: The ever-evolving key holder, or how to make life complicated

I'll be the first to admit when something just doesn't work. Well, the second since my husband is usually the first to point it out... Sometimes my crafty images of grandeur, just end up flops. And that's okay, because I like that my decor and design is always evolving. I get bored if something stays the same for too long. So after just a couple of months of living with this:

This is the hot mess I had envisioned as an organized entry station for all our important necessities to land. I wanted it to do too much, and I didn't like how the fabrics didn't match. The pocket side bugged the heck out of me and it just looks so, so, messy. Ick.

I decided it was time to upgrade to this:

I found the piece at Marshall's in the clearance section. It was badly beat up, corners all torn up and the white paint was marked and marred. Honestly, I probably should have asked to pay less than the 15$ I did. Anyway, after getting it home, I promptly removed the hooks, patched the corners and painted on a lovely shade of blue, the color I just can't seem to walk away from. A spray painted coat of glossy sealer for extra protection and we're good to go. I'm very happy with the end result and even received kudos from the husband. And he's not one to shy away from telling it like it is.  

Monday, April 08, 2013

Craftilicious: Pillow pals

I made some pillows about a week or so ago. It's been a loooong dreary transition into spring and I just needed a little color pick-me-up. A girl can only take so much brown and tan and all shades in between. These pillow covers are perfect for the pop I wanted. I spent a nap time {maybe 2 hours?} and was able to get four covers completed! It's very exciting for me because the last time I was able to sew was....hmm...yeah, I can't remember.

The chevron print is my favorite, but don't stare at it too long or your eyes will go bonkers on you. I think it's my favorite simply because I put the most effort into it. Funny how that happens.

I'm pretty happy with them, so I think they'll stick around until at least fall. And bebe and lamby approve. And on a side note, I think the chevron is her favorite too...

Friday, April 05, 2013

Craftilicious: Frozen hand savers

Okay so this last week has been AWful around here. The bebe is teething something fierce. Our saving grace has been homeopathic tablets and liquid and when she's really in a fit, the frozen yogurt. It's the best thing ever. Just freeze those kid yogurt tubes you find at the grocer, they work great to numb up the gums. I sit her down, give her a tube and she's in feeding frenzy bliss for the next ten to fifteen minutes. Enough time for me to regain a little sanity and maybe even start dinner.

So the husband had a splendid idea. Instead of wrapping the tubes in face cloths to keep her hands from freezing {which she always unwraps eventually}, why not make some sort of an insulated pouch. Brilliant! So that's what I did. I insulated them with iron-in batting, but I'm sure you could pick up some of that special lunchbag insulating material if you wanted to get all fancy. She didn't get it at first but eventually she caught on. Now I just need more than two, because both of them always seem to be in the wash...

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Delicious Sides: Roasted asparagus

This isn't as much a recipe as it is a recommended cooking method. A friend of mine told me to do this and we haven't cooked asparagus any other way since. Trim the ends off your stalks, then spread them on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper then pop them under the broiler for 7 minutes. They. Are. Fantastic. Even the bebe scarfs them down, and she's a pretty finicky eater, already. I did these for Easter dinner and they were a big hit. We have them about once a week. Mmm mm.

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