Monday, August 29, 2011

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

     We have a winner! Yeah! Thanks to all 8 of you that participated! I'll be doing another tile giveaway next month... so stay tuned. But the winner of this month's tile is.....

Miss Nat Mac!

Email me at with your address (or you can Facebook me, whatever you want)
and I'll send you the Witches Brew tile. It should arrive sometime this week!

     Just so you all know, I went to to pick the winner. I couldn't quite figure out how to do a screen shot of it, so you'll just have to trust me on this one. Sorry... I'm a little slow with all this technology.  But, I do want to tell you all about Miss Nat Mac. She has an awesome blog (click here to check it out) and has many creative and fun ideas. I contacted her when I first started this blog and she has given me some great advice, so I'm really happy she won! And again, thank you to everyone who commented! I loved reading all the comments and it just made my little heart swell with happiness.
   And to those of you who are new here... welcome! I'm excited to have you! 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

{Simple Solutions} - Homemade Brown Sugar

     When my mother was teaching me how to follow a recipe, she taught me to always get all the ingredients out first. I haven't always followed that advice  (I know, I'm ashamed!) and sometimes I jump the gun and start making something and later discover (much to my chagrin) that I don't have all the listed ingredients on hand. So, what lessons have I learned from this? #1. Always listen to my mother. She is always right. #2. Google is a necessary tool in finding out what substitutions I can make.
     One thing that I run out of all the time is brown sugar. I always have plenty of granulated sugar and powdered sugar on hand, but I can never seem to keep brown sugar stocked in my pantry! Sheesh! That's when I discovered that I can make my own brown sugar. Yup. You heard me right. It's sooooo easy!
All you do is take 1 TBSP of Molasses and 1 cup of sugar.... 
  Pour the molasses in the sugar...
Mix in the molasses with a fork... I just kind of use a "mashing" technique. 
Impressive, I know.
As you can see here, I added some more molasses. I like a more pronounced flavor,
so I use more than what the recipe calls for. 
I also made 2 cups of brown sugar here because I was baking and ran out
and I knew I would be using almost a whole cup for my cupcakes...
(the cupcakes turned out to be a disaster... so there will be no weekly cupcake this week. I was totally bummed. I went and got a haircut to drown my sorrows._

And voila! You have some brown sugar you can be proud of!
I store mine in a canister, but you can also keep it in a plastic bag...
just make sure that air can't get to it, otherwise the brown sugar will dry out.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

1st Giveaway EVER!

     I'm going to do it. I'm going to do a giveaway! I've never done one before, so if things get kind of crazy, just know that I am learning by experience! I have received so much support for this teeny tiny little blog. I have lots of people comment on how they love looking at it, so I want to say thank you! I have decided that I am going to give away one of my tiles.I know, it's not a huge giveaway or anything, but these tiles are special to me. The tile will be totally completed (you don't have to do anything but display it in your lovely home!) and you get to choose whatever monthly tile you would like! (If you need to see the designs, click here) so here's how to win...

#1. Leave a comment telling me what your favorite thing about this blog is and what tile you would pick.

#2. Either "Like" me on FB or start following my blog. :) The more followers and "Likers" I get, the more giveaways I'll do!

#3. Please refer your friends to my blog! (This isn't necessary to win, it would just be nice of you to do.)

   So what I'm basically saying is... If you comment, you'll be entered in to win. I will close this giveaway on Sunday night and announce the winner on Monday. will choose the lucky winner. Now, here's the thing... Only 55 people like this blog on FB, and not all 55 of those people will leave a comment, so I think you're chances of winning a tile are pretty darn good.... wouldn't you say?

     I'm super excited and I hope things go as smoothly as I am planning...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Personalized Soap Dispensers

     In my church, the ladies get together once a year for a craft day called Super Saturday. The crafts are super cheap and easy to do... well, guess who's in charge of Super Saturday for my ward? Me! Yahoo! It's been so fun to plan what crafts we're going to do! One of the crafts we decided to do is Personalized Soap Dispensers. The cost is about $2.00 per soap dispenser, so they're pretty darn cheap!
     I found a template online, but I didn't really like it, so I made my own. I simply printed the template on a piece of paper, took it to Fed Ex (or Kinko's) and had them print it on a transparency with their LASER printers.{It's important to have it done with a laser printer, otherwise the ink will smear once it's placed in the soap.}
     I cut the transparency (which cost about 75 cents for a whole sheet) down to the size of my soap dispenser. For our Super Saturday, we are ordering empty dispensers and filling them up with soap, but I didn't have time to order just one empty dispenser, so I went to the store and bought a filled one. Before I put the template in, I scrubbed off the labels with some Goo Be Gone (love, love, love that stuff!).
     Now, if you're working with an empty dispenser, you will want to roll up the transparency and stuff it inside the dispenser. It'll unfold itself. You want to make sure that you push the transparency to the front of the bottle. Fill it up with clear soap (or hand sanitizer) and put the pump behind the transparency.
     If you purchased a filled dispenser (like I did) just pour out about 3/4 of the soap into a plastic cup, so it'll be easier to put the transparency inside the bottle. Once the transparency is in, fill the dispenser back up!

      I found a great tutorial with step by step instructions here.
    This is such a great gift idea because you can personalize it. It looks amazing and people can't help but wonder how you did it! If you didn't want to use the "hand" theme, then be creative and dream up your own sayings! Or, if you have a favorite quote, print it out and take it to the copy center.
    I am "super"excited for our Super Saturday crafts! You'll be seeing some more of them, so stay tuned!

Friday, August 19, 2011

{Simple Solutions} - More Uses For Your Microwave

     I was browsing around, and saw this article on Yahoo! on how to use your microwave for various uses other than heating up food. Well, why not? So here is the article. I read through it and am definitely going to try some of them, especially disinfecting plastic cutting boards. I have a couple of them and am super paranoid that I'm not disinfecting them properly after cutting up raw chicken on them. I wash them like 3 times and then Lysol everything the board and knife touched. Does anyone else have the paranoia? Maybe I have it because I worked at KFC for 5 years and it was tattooed on my brain how careful we need to be when handling raw chicken... (To,hat sounds kind of bad. I didn't have any experiences where there was salmonella poisoning because we cooked chicken wrong. What I meant was we were always taught the proper procedures on how to handle chicken and what temperatures they need to constantly be at. KFC is still safe to eat at... in fact, I still enjoy their food...)

So, here are some handy-dandy uses for a microwave...

1. Disinfect and Deodorize Sponges
Don't throw out the kitchen sponge that smells like last night's salmon. Soak it in water spiked with white vinegar or lemon juice, then heat it on high for 1 minute. (Use an oven mitt to remove it.) This will also disinfect any sponges you used to wipe up the juices from a raw chicken.
2. Cook an Entire Dinner in Under 10 Minutes
Not just the TV variety. We mean braised salmon with green beans and mashed potatoes. Use the microwave for any recipe that calls for braising, poaching, or steaming. Just subtract about three-quarters of the cooking time. Remember to stir liquids often to redistribute the heat, and always take the food out a minute or two before it's completely done, since it will continue to cook.
3. Disinfect Plastic Cutting Boards
Wash the board well, rub it with the cut side of a lemon, then heat for 1 minute.
4. Soften Brown SugarKeep the sugar in its plastic packaging, add a few drops of water, and heat on medium for 10 to 20 seconds.
5. Decrystalize Honey
Honey that has solidified can be brought back to liquid life by uncovering the jar and heating on medium power for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
6. Proof Yeast Doughs
Yeast doughs that normally take an hour or more to rise at room temperature can be proofed in the microwave in about 15 minutes. Place the dough in a very large bowl and cover with plastic. Place an 8-ounce cup of water in the back of the microwave with the bowl of dough in the center, and set the power as low as possible (10 percent power). Heat for 3 minutes, then let the dough rest in the microwave for 3 minutes. Heat for 3 minutes longer, then let rest for 6 minutes. The dough will double in bulk.

7. Heat up Health Aids
You use a microwave to reheat your coffee, so why not use it to heat and reheat gel packs for headaches? (Don't do this with a metal-wrapped pack.)
8. Warm Beauty Products
Warming up a hot-oil conditioning pack for your hair takes about 10 to 20 seconds and feels marvelous, as does briefly heating up a moisturizing facial mask. (Stir the mask and test the temperature with your finger before applying to your face.) And if hot wax hardens when you're only halfway up your calf, reheat it in the microwave. It's much less messy than using a double boiler.

9. Roast Garlic
It takes 45 minutes to roast garlic in the oven but less than 8 in the microwave. Slice off the top of the head to reveal all the cloves. Place the head in a small, deep dish, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of good olive oil. Spoon 2 tablespoons of water into the bottom of the dish, cover it with plastic wrap, and cook at medium power for 7 to 7½ minutes. Let stand for a few minutes before unwrapping.
10. Get More Juice From Citrus Fruits
A lemon or lime taken straight from the refrigerator is harder to juice than one left at room temperature or warmed slightly. To get the most juice, microwave citrus fruits for 20 seconds before squeezing.

11. Toast Bread Crumbs, and Coconut
The microwave toasts them in a quarter of the time it takes in a conventional oven. Spread them out on a plate and heat on high for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring every minute. Keep in mind that they will continue to toast for about a minute after removal.
12. Warm Tortillas
Wrap tortillas in a damp paper towel. Microwave on high (power level 10) for 40 seconds to 1 minute.
13. Toast Pine Nuts and Sliced Almonds
Spread nuts on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high (power level 10) in 1-minute intervals, tossing in between, until beginning to turn golden, 4 to 5 minutes.
14. Make Applesauce
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine 1 pound peeled and diced apples (Macintosh, Fuji, or Gala are best) with ¼ cup water, 2 teaspoons sugar, and ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon. Cover and microwave on high (power level 10) until the apples are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Mash with a fork or potato masher.
15. Make Homemade Popcorn
Place ½ cup popcorn kernels in a large microwave-safe bowl with 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil. Cover with a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high (power level 10) until the majority of the kernels have popped, 3 to 5 minutes

*Article was written by Melissa Clark and Lindsay Funston. You can find it here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lack of Posting... As You May Have Noticed

     First off, I want to apologize for my lack of posting. It's summer and we spend every waking moment outdoors, soaking up the sunshine. But I have also been busy getting ready for camping this weekend, and getting ready for tomorrow... it's my little girl's 2nd birthday. I have been scouring the internet for cake ideas and have settled on a cake that just sounds fantastic. Last year I went all out for her birthday. She was a preemie (she came 6 weeks early) and I wanted to celebrate her fighting spirit. Little Miss H is so spunky and fun, I can't imagine life without her. Here's what her party was like last year...

Tissue Paper Pom Poms.
Find the tutorial here.
They were quick, easy, inexpensive, and lots of fun!

I wanted a bouquet of balloons... All the kids loved them!

For centerpieces, I cut up lemons, limes, and oranges and stacked them in clear glass vases.
It was also inexpensive, and I loved the citrus fragrance.

I wanted to display pictures of Miss H throughout her first 12 months of life.
I cut flowers out of cardstock (I just freehanded them), taped them to skewers,
and stuck the skewers in the watermelon.

For the food, we had Frozen Fruitbites.
{You can find the mouthwatering recipe here}

Homemade cupcakes with fondant butterflies and flowers

as well as Snicker Salad (recipe to come later... ) fresh pineapple, and Sprite Mocktails.
And just for kicks and giggles, I'll throw in one of my favorite pictures...
 Yup. That's me shoving my face full of cupcake. I am not shy about eating, and I have a fairly large mouth, so my family thinks it's funny when I shove food in my mouth. I was able to get this whole cupcake in without it touching the sides or top of my mouth. I know my mom's gonna go crazy when she finds out I posted this pic. Hee hee hee...

     I had gone to the party store and purchase lei's for everyone.  We were so lucky to have all our family with us. I'm glad I did a bigger party last year because this year, it'll be a smaller party since we don't live by any family. 
     I hope this gives you some ideas for a party. Decorations don't have to be expensive, and things don't always go as planned. However, it's important to have some flexibility and just enjoy spending time with family and friends!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Happily ever after... (Death by dresser, part 2)

So here it is, the happily ever after... If you have not read Death by Dresser part 1, read here.
The first part of this post is not happy yet, actually quite sad for me.  Remember the sunny morning that ended in disaster.  Here it is, they last thing you want to happen to your wet paint...RAIN!!!!  Living in Portland, Oregon this does happen.

 It ended okay though, I just had to sand everything down and basically start over.  I put waaaaaaaaaay too much time into this piece.  But it was for a good friend so it was worth it.  So the next problemo was this you see it, a really big bubble right on the top of this beautiful dresser.  I think I was thinking it was go away.  But nope it was just as big as when I started.  I also think, I did not know how to deal with it.

Here is how I dealt with it...I got my exacto knife and just carved that bubble right out.  It was veneer on top so it came out pretty easy.  Just sanded it all down to be flat and then painted for the what...the 5th time.  Boo!

I am not even going to tell you what happened next, because you know what this post is, a new chapter in the series of the unfortunate events.  It always gets worse before it gets better.  Let's turn this around and talk about my favorite step when refinishing furniture...the tape.

 Let me elaborate on that a little.  I love when it is time to peel off the blue tape when painting.  I am not sure why.  Maybe that clean fresh line or the fact that it means you are almost done.  Probably a little of both.  I then needed some lining for my drawers.  I was going to use felt because I can't stand contact paper.  But when I got to the fabric store, I spotted this oh so cute more appropriate for a kitchen, but will work great reusable grocery bag fabric.  I love the way it turned out!

Here it is, I love the glass knobs my friend chose.

And after a 3 hour trip from Portland to Seattle, here she is living happily ever after in her home.

Being Featured at:
Furniture Feature Fridays

Ready for the Weekend!

     I cannot believe it's Friday already! This week has been soooo busy and has just flown by. Wish me luck because tomorrow my hubs and I have to go to the DMV (while dragging our children behind us...)  to get our Oregon driver's licenses and to register our car. I've had to study this week because I have to take a written test for my license. It's been over 10 years since I took driver's ed. I'm totally nervous. Did you know that in the state of Oregon...

1. If you are convicted of a DUI (don't worry, I don't ever have to worry about this one...)
    First Conviction: Mandatory suspension of your driving privilege for one year.
    Second Conviction: Mandatory suspension of your driving privilege for three years, if the offense has occurred        within 5 years of another DUI conviction.
    Third or Subsequent Conviction: Permanent revocation  of your driving privilege.

2. If you are either three months or $2,500 behind in child support payments, the Division of Child Support or a district attorney may ask DMV to suspend your driving privileges. (Shouldn't have a problem with this one, either...)

3. U turns are not allowed unless there is a sign posted allowing the U turn.

     So, wish me luck tomorrow!
    Moving on...
    For those of you who have ordered the monthly tiles... this post is for you! Thank you, thank you, thank you for ordering them! I shipped my first order off today and I was just beaming as I walked into the Post Office. I included instructions with the vinyl order, but I always have to have a visual for what things look like. So, I took some screen shots of the designs so when applying the vinyl to your tiles, you can use these screen shots as "guides". If there is a tile that has wording on top and a picture on bottom, feel free to switch them around, if you want to. I have also designed a couple of other tiles so that if any of you want to order in the future, you can have some options. I will keep designing more tiles, so keep your eyes peeled!
    Here are your "guides"...
     Here is the January tile as well as 2 February tiles.

 March, April, and May tiles.

 June, July, and August tiles

 September, October, and November tiles...

2 December tiles and the Happy Birthday tile.

      Have a great weekend! 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Who Would Have Thought

    My dear husband just recently graduated from college. Woohoo! I was super excited to have an actual income instead of living off "student income". For those of you who have been there, you know what I mean. And for those of you who have never lived on a "student income"... it's... interesting, to say the least. For 5 years I longed for the day when we would have actual health benefits, a steady income, and no homework. Since my husband is an accountant, I never imagined that there would be any other benefits... until my husband came home with this...
     Do you know what those are? They happen to be ROLLS of VINYL. Precious, sticky, beautiful vinyl that was going to be tragically thrown away.  You see, my husband's company deals with TONS and TONS of vinyl. Part of his job is to keep track of inventory, and when he saw that these were going to be thrown away, he knew instantly that he needed to rescue them and give them to his beautiful wife. Do you see that inside one of those red rolls of vinyl is ANOTHER roll of vinyl? Oh, and that's not all...

     This is what he brought home to me! I was absolutely beside myself! How could anyone throw this away? There is over $800 retail value of vinyl here! There is even glow-in-the dark vinyl! Who know that 5 years of schooling would lead me to so much joy? Forget the steady paycheck, fabulous hours (he works 7:30 to 4:00 Monday through Friday. No overtime, no weekends, and no holidays!), and the health benefits! I get free vinyl! Oh yeah!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Uh Faffles

That's how my almost 2 year old says "waffles"
and I think it's so cute!
I make her say the word at least 100 times a day.

She is constantly begging for "uh faffles"
because we have them a lot.
Every Saturday, my hubs gets up early
to make them.
He usually sticks with the normal kind of "uh faffles"
(he's somewhat of a.... traditionalist).
And since I'm more of a.... sometimes-nontraditionalist,
I wanted to try a new "uh faffle" recipe.
As I googled away, I found some really delicious looking ones,
but I didn't have all the ingredients on hand.
So, we ended up with these heavenly "uh faffles"

Oatmeal Brown Sugar Waffles.
Mmmm.mmm mmmmm....
And here's the recipe:

1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 c. quick cooking rolled oats
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs (slightly beaten)
1 1/2 c. milk
6 TBSP melted butter
2 TBSP brown sugar (but I used 1/4 c. because I love brown sugar)

1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon,
and salt; set aside.
2. In a small mixing bowl, stir together eggs, milk, butter, and brown sugar.
3. Add to flour mixture; stir until blended.
4. Make "uh faffles" according to... however you usually make them. :)
5. If you're healthy, top with fresh fruit and yogurt.
If you love butter like I do, top with butter and maple syrup.
And while you're at it, go ahead and add some powdered sugar if you want to.

You'll love these, I promise.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Frost Yourselves

Every time I hear the word "frost" I think of that scene in How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days
where the old lady is filming the commercial for diamonds and she says,
"Frrrrrost yourselves".
I wish I could frost myself with diamonds, but until then, I'll just stick to
frosting cakes and cupcakes.

I didn't really do a new cupcake this week (I know... boohoo...)
but I did try a new buttercream frosting,
and it was delicious! Mmmm.... I just love a good, homemade frosting.

Oh yeah, doesn't that look mmm mmmm good?
I simply made funfetti cupcakes, frosted them, 
and smashed up some sprinkles for a little pizazz.

These cupcakes were a fun square shape, because I baked them 
with my hand silicon cupcake liners.
Gotta love those things.
And of course, 
I had to make some mini cupcakes,
which I frosted with pink spray...

I just love mini cupcakes because they're a bite of sugary goodness.
(And, they're great for the kiddos because they aren't as messy...)
I found the recipe here
but as always, I'll give it to you...

Buttercream Frosting
1 stick salted butter - room temp
1 stick unsalted butter - room temp
1 c. shortening
1 TBSP clear vanilla extract (can be found at Michael's)*
2 lbs. powdered sugar
4-6 TBSP cold milk

*If you don't care about having a perfectly white frosting, then go ahead
and use imitation vanilla. You're frosting won't be as white, though.

Cream together the butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, using either a hand mixer or stand mixer.
Add the vanilla and mix well.
Begin adding sugar, 1/2 lb at a time,
(You don't have to measure it exactly... just guesstimate. It'll work just fine...)
mixing thoroughly each time.
After all the sugar has been mixed in, begin adding the milk, one TBSP at a time.
(I used about 3 1/2 TBSP for the consistency I wanted.
If you add too much milk, and you're frosting is too runny,
just add some powdered sugar to thicken it up a bit...)

I love making homemade frosting.
It keeps in an airtight container in your fridge
for up to 2 weeks!

Happy Frosting to you all!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Happy New Year Tile

I have gotten a few orders for my monthly tiles...
It makes me sooo excited!
And in case you're new here, you can check the tiles out here.

I've completed the tile for January...

Ta Da!
I love it!
It's so fun and festive, I have it sitting out in my little apartment right now.

Now, if you would like to order a set,
here's some of the details...

Each set includes:
Precut vinyl for each month
Precut vinyl for a Happy Birthday tile
Transfer paper to make applying the vinyl easier

all for just $30! 
 Personally, I think that's a screaming deal.
I have researched vinyl prices,
and they are just waaaaay to expensive...
Now keep in mind,
you would have to drive to Home Depot or Lowe's
and by 6x6 in tiles, which are about 40 cents a piece.
(Don't quote me on that, though... That's how much they were when I bought them...)
or if you didn't like tile,
you could buy some wood, have it cut into 6x6 in pieces
and paint the wood to match the vinyl...
whatever your heart fancies!

These are such fun tiles, and I always get compliments on them
whenever someone comes into our home.

If you want a set, just shoot me an email at
And don't forget,
these would make a great gift for someone!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Kids Corner - Painting

Well, hello again.
If there is one thing that I have learned 
in my 3 1/2 years of being a mother,
it's that my kids love to do what I do.
If I'm on the computer,
they just have to sit right on my lap 
and see what I'm doing.
If I'm putting on my makeup,
they love to put on their play makeup.
If I'm cooking dinner,
they're right at me heels, 
hugging and clinging to me.

It used to drive me crazy,
until I just accepted the fact that 
my kids just love me so darn much they want 
to spend every waking minute right by my side...
hee hee hee.

So, when I need to finish a craft, I usually have a "mini"
version for them.
Recently I've been working on a project (of which I'll reveal in the future...)
that includes painting some wood.
I went to Michael's and picked up quite a bit of 
little wooden shapes for 30 cents each.
I also picked up a little wooden birdhouse for $1.
I also bought some "special" paints for Miss A that only she can use.
The result?

A beautiful, multicolored, sparkly birdhouse.
It's just darling, and the birds are loving it!
Plus, I was able to complete my craft
without any interruptions.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Silicon Baking Cups

I have one of the most wonderful mother's out there...
She's fantastic...
and I'm not just saying that because she reads this blog...
Hee hee hee.

But seriously,
she's great.

She recently sent my family a little package
with a bunch of little goodies for everyone.
And in this package were these
a.m.a.z.i.n.g. silicon baking cups!

They come in such bright, fun colors!
Since they're square, they don't fit in a regular
cupcake tin.
My solution: I put them on a baking sheet and filled them with 
cupcake batter.
They held their form and it was sooo easy to remove the cupcake from it!

Plus, my kidlets love to stack them and sort them by color.
Oh, happy day.

I love baking with silicon.
I have some silicon spatulas as well as a silicon bundt pan.
If you don't have any silicon bakeware...
I highly suggest you get some!

Monday, August 1, 2011

{Simple Solutions} - DIY Texture Book

Disclaimer: I did not make this texture book.
A nice lady gave it to my three year old,
and we absolutely love it!
I thought I would share it with you
so you could make one for your wee little ones.

It is a great quiet time book!
We take it in the car, to church, and even to the grocery store!

It is simply made up of white cardstock cut into square pages.
(Mine is about 4x4)
Simply glue whatever texture you want on it
(you could use the E6000 glue found at Michael's or any craft store)
and write the texture.
Don't forget to punch two holes in each page so you can fasten
everything with loose leaf ring binders, like the one below..
See? How easy is that? 
I think this texture book is a simple solution
to helping your children keep quiet for a minute or two.

Now, in the book we have, there are several textures
used over and over again.
There are several examples of ROUGH (like sandpaper and a Brillo pad),
the sky is really the limit.
It would be fun to go to Home Depot or fabric store 
and see what kind of different textures are out there.

Now go use your imagination! The sky's the limit!
Tee hee hee... I only say that because obviously I didn't have the imagination
to create something like this. :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...