Laundry Room Makeover

Friday, April 28, 2017 No comments
In January, I FINALLYdecided to tackle my Laundry Room/Utility Room.  Through the years it had become this place where I shoved everything I kept meaning to do something with until it became almost unwalkable. In the last few years I've redone my bedroom, closet, craft room, and now my utility room.  My living room/kitchen/yard that everyone sees needs some major TLC, but.....their day will come.  Redoing these unseen rooms actually makes the biggest impact on me  I breath so much easier!  As much as I wanted to go all out-I used the shelves and things I had already.  I did give the walls a coat of white paint b/c it's a dark room, and I threw down a rug over the concrete floor.  Maybe I'll go back SOMEDAY and add some 'real floors', but there are so many other things in my house that need some attention, and this is a million times better than it was.  I don't have a before in this case b/c....I'd like to be left with some dignity.  It was a hard room to photograph b/c it's long and skinny (an add on from the garage), so I took a video TRYING to show a bit more....that video lives here....

Freezer Bread

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 No comments
 As a single, usually when I make a meal, if I don't cut it in half, I eat on it for a week...which can get old.  I recently ran across this recipe for freezer garlic bread.  Uhhh, yes.  The best part is that you can just pop it out a few slices at a time and heat and eat.  And eat it.  And eat it.  And eat it.
Freezer Garlic Bread
Ingredients:  1 stick of butter (softened), 2 T olive oil, 1 T. parsley, 4 cloves of minced garlic, 1/4 t. salt, 1 loaf of french bread (cut into 16 slices).
1.  Mix butter, oil, parsley, garlic,and salt together.
2.  Spread evenly over bread.
3.  Place bread in freezer for 10 minutes until butter hardens some.
4.  Stack bread by twos and place in freezer bags.  Freeze for up to three months.
5.  Pull out and place in 400 preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Monday, April 24, 2017 No comments
I made these last winter....during one of the four days of winter we get here in Texas.  When it's cold....all I want is spring.  I'm sure I could enjoy winter more if I were more equipped physically and mentally, but it's such a rare occurrence (at least lately) throws me for a loop.  But these lemon muffins....I'm pretty sure they don't need to be limited by a season!
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Ingredients:  1 yellow cake mix, 1 1/4 c. water, 1/3 c. vegetable oil, 3 eggs, 2 T poppy seeds, 1 T lemon extract
1.  Heat oven to 350.
2.  Grease 24 muffin cups, or line with paper baking cups.
3.  Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until the cake mix is well incorporated and no longer lumpy.
4.  Fill cups to 2/3 cups full.  Bake 18-23 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean with inserted.
*makes 24 muffins
Friday, April 21, 2017 No comments
 I actually made this album for a friend's birthday.  Occasionally some of my friends read my blog, so...if you see 'your' gift in advance....sorry!
 A lot of my friends take pictures, but they really aren't into scrapbooking.  I stopped giving scrapbooks to non-scrapbookers years ago b/c I don't think the gifts are really useful/nor is the time that goes into them understood, but I decided this year I'm going to give it one more go as my friend's have kiddos that get older and their online photos are getting dusty on instagram and facebook.  It scares me to think about the number of pictures that will be 'lost' because they are on a phone and never printed.  I digress...
I found this little drawer and decided it would be an adorable holder for a scrapbook.  I bought these little tags and I found a bunch of different quotes to represent each month of the year.  
I used my scraps and paper embellishments and I made a 'main' month tag for each month, but then I also made three colorful tags to go behind each month.  The idea is that she can add pictures and stories to the tags that go along with each month so that at the end of the year, there is a year worth of stories and pictures.  
I love the way this first project turned out.  Next up, golden book scrapbooks...

BBQ Chicken

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 No comments
I found this recipe at Natasha'sKitchen and it was so simple, delicious, and it makes enough for an army.  I'm an army of one, so I froze part of it for later.  I put this together a few months back.
During the busy holidays the crockpot is about as big of a commitment as I make to most dinners..mostly because my oven is busy, but seriously, busy or not, this one is staying in my rotation.
Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken
Ingredients:  3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken, 1 1/2 c. bbq sauce, 1/2 medium onion (grated with juice), 1 T olive oil, 1 T. Worcestershire sauce, 2 T. brown sugar

Instructions:  Stir all ingredients together (except chicken).  Add chicken and turn to coat.  Cover and cook 4 hours on high or 7 hours on low.  Take a fork and shred and stir with juices.  

Birthday Party in a Box

Monday, April 17, 2017 No comments
My friend, Regan, lives up in Seattle....really really far from family and friends.  Her husband is in the military and this is where Uncle Sam wants him for the time being.  It's a fun place to visit for the rest of us, but....I know birthdays aren't as fun without friends around, so I decided to send her a birthday party in the mail.  A friend did something like this for me once in college and it was the cutest.  I bought a banner, confetti, plates, napkins, and a made a pinata where I put her gift inside.  Here is that tutorial. Unicorns are our joke.   No doubt, birthdays are better when served up on a princess plate.

DIY Dinosaur Invitations

Friday, April 14, 2017 No comments
 I helped out a pal with a dinosaur themed party project.  I added the additional task of doing it on the cheap just to see what I could do....and because she was game.  I wanted to go back to basics of how things used to be before people rented ballrooms and cotton candy machines for their kid's 2nd birthday.  No cutting machines or fancy scrapbook paper.  Don't get me wrong-I'm a girl that even owns a little cotton candy machine, challenge was to try to pull from my stash and not go purchase.
 I started by finding a free outline of a dinosaur.  I pasted it to word and then typed the invitation info so that it fit in the dino.  I then cut out along the outline.  It would be cute on green paper, but what I had was white copy paper, so white is what I went with.  I did glue it to some orange construction paper and make a border just to make it pop a bit.
 I then cut out two egg shapes (big enough to cover the size of the dino.  I cut the one of them in half in a zig zag (like a cracking egg).  I embellished and layered it a bit to give it some fun colors, but the gist is I took the bottom half, some tacky glue, and glued it down.
 When it dried it made this pocket (where I slipped my dinosaur).
 I did NOT glue the top half on.  I punch a hole in the side of the bottom half with the glued pocket, and the side of the top half and pushed a brad through.  Again, I had some (they sell them at craft stores and office supply stores-you can even get fun colors).  If you don't have brads-you could use ribbons.
This allows the top half to tilt out and then you pull the dino out of the pocket with the invite information.
Lots more DIY dino to come....

Dollar Store Bunny Wreath

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 No comments
 I've really been into pink and white this Easter.  I recently saw a wreath like this online and knew just where to grab the pieces.
They sell foam wreaths and bunny ears at the dollar store.  You can also find boas there, but they aren't always in stock, so I used a coupon and got two for half off at the craft store.  
 I took the ears and stretched them around the foam and then taped them into place.
 I then taped the edge of the boa onto the foam wreath and started wrapping it around.
 It took two boas to cover the whole thing.  You could spray the foam white if you want to space out the boa a little more (but not see the green foam), but.....the point is-easy and adorable and it fits right into my current decor.

Roasted Garlic (Vegan) Mashed Potatoes

Monday, April 10, 2017 No comments
I'm always on the hunt to find the perfect recipe that meets all the family's needs.  I have one side of the family that doesn't want anything out of the ordinary, and then another portion that doesn't want anything that ever had anything to do with an animal.  I tried out this mashed potato recipe that skips all the animal offerings, but doesn't skimp on flavor.  It's a keeper.....the roasted garlic makes the dish!
So....if you have a family with similar needs, or just want to try out some tasty potatoes, here's one that worked for us. The original recipe came from panningtheglobe.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Ingredients:  1 head of garlic, 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil (divided), 3 lbs of yellow flesh potatoes (peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces), 1 c. potato cooking water (save before you drain your potatoes), 1 t. kosher salt (plus more to taste), ground pepper (to taste), optional toppings include chopped green onions and fresh chopped parsley
1.  Roast the Garlic:  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Slice off the top of the garlic head so that you see all the cross sections of all the cloves.  Drizzle 1 t. of oil on the exposed garlic.  Wrap tightly in foil.  Bake for 35 minutes.  Let it cool.
2.  Peel, slice, the potatoes and put them into a large pot.  Cover them with cold water by a couple of inches.  Add 2 t. of salt.  Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes (or until tend enough for a fork to easily slide in and out).
3.  Save 1 c of water before draining.  Drain.  Place the potatoes back into the pan.  Turn the heat off.  Squeeze the garlic out of the skin into the potatoes and mash with a masher until they are all blended together.  Add 6 T. of olive oil.  Stir or mash.  Thin with potato water a little at a time until you like the consistency.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Top with onions and/or parsley.
*I made these the day before and reheated them in the oven before serving.  

Bunny Garland

Friday, April 07, 2017 No comments
 I saw something like this on pinterest and I had to try it out.  I've been really into little yarn fuzzies lately.  On one side of my yarn balls I added ears with little pink insides.
 On the backside I added little cotton pompoms for tails.
 They can hang either way.
To make my yarn puffs I just looped a bunch of yarn around four fingers about twenty times.  The more you loop, the bigger your puff.  Use fewer fingers when looping to make smaller bunnies.  Lab puppies are optional.  
 I tied the middle and then cut the loops and started 'fluffing.'
 I left the yarn I used to tie the middle long until I tied it onto my twine.  That's when I trimmed it off.
I cut out little pieces of felt and glued those and the pompoms to the white puffs after I had tied them to the twine to make sure I got them in the right place.  

French Onion Soup Casserole

Wednesday, April 05, 2017 No comments
The best thing about soup is generally the stuff you dip into it, and that remains the case about French Onion soup.  This casserole solves the ration problem of the usual soup to dippings.  You get some soup along with your crusty cheesy bread (and calories), but...sometimes the calories are worth it.  The original recipe is from recipelion.
French Onion Soup Casserole
Ingredients:  3 medium sweet onions (sliced), 3 T. butter, 4 c. beef broth, 1 t. Worcestershire sauce, 6-8 slices French bread (about 1/2 inch thick), 1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
1.  Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat.  Add onions and cover.  Cook for 30 minutes and stir from time to time.
2.  Add the beef broth and Worcestershire sauce.  Heat the broth until it boils.  Reduce heat to low and let is simmer (uncovered) for 30 minutes.  The broth will reduce.
3.  Lightly toast the bread slices.
4.  Pour the onion and broth mix into a greased casserole dish.  Cover bread with the bread and top with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
5.  Bake (uncovered) at 350 for 20 minutes (Until cheese is melted and brown on top).
*serves 6

View Finder

Monday, April 03, 2017 No comments
 I just had to share this gift I gave this past Christmas.  If you are my friend, you will probably see one of these in the future, so....sorry for ruining the surprise.  At this age, it's so hard to find fun gifts for my family, but I saw this a few years back via pinterest and decided the next time the whole family was together I was going to make these.  My cousin flew up with his kids over the 4th, and I took some photos of the different family things we did together and then put them on a disk.  This is NOT a paid advertisement, but...if you don't know what to get the people in your life...I love this idea.
You can personalize the middle of your disk with a photo and then add 7 pictures around the sides with captions that pop out in 3D.  The more your order, the cheaper the device.  You can order the viewfinder in several different colors (from a company called retroviewer), and even add a personal message on the view finder.  In the future, I'll be ordering more of these little disk as the family gets together so that we have a collection.  Like I said, I don't get anything for blogging about this, but I just loved this gift.  I used this company, but I'm sure there are others out there.  OK...I'm done, but....seriously, so fun!