Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bath Tub Toy Holder

I am a big fan of the blog makeitandloveit. She had a great idea to make a mesh tub toy holder. We had a frog holder that we got off of Amazon. It worked great for a month or two. Then, the adhesive gave out due to the moisture in the bathroom. The other mounting option consisted of putting screws through our new tub surround. No way! So, when I saw her post I had an idea of my own. It is a no sew. We already use a mesh lingerie bag for Peanut's socks. It's great. You'll never lose a pair of those tiny socks again! Anyway, I bought another one at Wal-Mart along with a pack of 2 suction cups.
And this is what you get. Simple and easy and less than $5.

Trim a Lamp Shade

For this inexpensive project grab the desired lamp shade, a utility blade, pencil for marking, soft tape measure, and ribbon of your choice.
I placed my tape measure right above the trim. I made marks every inch. You can play with the spacing. Then, you take the utility knife and make vertical slits the length of the ribbon. Next, weave your ribbon in and out.
I did the top and bottom. I think it turned out pretty cute.
Here's the after pic of our bed area. I added red ribbon around the pics above our bed too. I still am going to make some fun pillowcases for our bed when I get some time. Our room looks totally different and I love the change. All together I spent less than $40 for the whole room. It will be closer to $50 when I make the pillowcases.

Master Bedroom Redo

I was getting b-o-r-e-d with our bedroom. Sometimes you just need a little change. I despise painting so, I wanted to add color without the mess. I also didn't want to spend much money so, I used things from other rooms in the house. It took me a while to figure out what color I wanted to add. I am not what one would call bold or daring. But, I sure took a chance with this. I chose red. I think it's sassy (so not me). So, here are some before and after pics of our room. I knew HGTV would one day rub off on me.
I just added red candles to my candle holder on my dresser. $1

These are my wedding flowers. I bent the stems a little to fit better inside of this picture cube that was in our dining room. Now I just have to add some different pics to personalize it. This cost $0.

Here they are together. I didn't add anything else because I like clean, clear surfaces. I'm a big fan of Peter Walsh.

This I made on our computer with the awesome software that Daddy got me for Christmas. I put this over the light switch. It's a nice touch of red and it's a great reminder. I used an extra frame that I had here at home. $0

Before: We were in desperate need of new curtains and color! I had a hard time finding red fabric that I liked and that wasn't too expensive. As luck would have it I found some interior fabric at Wal-Mart for $5/yard. I spent $27 on fabric and $8 on ornate curtain tie backs. This was where I spent the money. I used the excess fabric to make 2 throw pillows for our bed. I already had the poly-fil from making Peanut's Mr. Chicken Nugget.

After: I love the curtains. I think they make everything "pop" a little more. This was my first attempt at curtains. I don't think they turned out too bad. I guess we'll find out when I wash them for the first time.

Simple project to add color. These were already in our room. I bought a roll of red satin ribbon and I glued them around the candle. $2 for the ribbon.

Before: This is still my work in progress. So far the candles have been wrapped in red ribbon and there are 2 throw pillows on the bed to match the curtains. Next, I think that I want to weave the red ribbon through our lampshade on the night stand. I'm also considering changing out the pics over our bed. Any suggestions? I am open to ideas.

Chicken, Bacon, Ham, and Ranch Pockets

Having to cook every day is starting to bring out a more creative side. I really dislike making the same old things over and over again. It gets boring. Out of the blue this recipe popped into my head. I took the equivalent of Grands Biscuits and rolled them out flat. Then, I put mozzarella cheese, slice of turkey bacon, piece of thin sliced deli ham, cooked chicken pieces, ranch dressing (to taste), then more cheese, then took another rolled out biscuit and placed it over the toppings. I sealed the edges then baked it in the oven till the biscuits were golden brown. It makes 4 and they are EXTREMELY filling. Daddy and Peanut highly recommend them.

Modified Scripture Slip

I love this fabric. I think it is very feminine and just pretty. It's a gift for someone too. I made all the modifications to this one.
I trimmed it with white satin ribbon
Here is the back pocket.
Last but, not least there are two elastic loops to hold a pen and scripture marker.

Thanks honey for letting me use your scriptures for a guide and also for listening and laughing at me while I yelled at the sewing machine!

Scripture Slips

It's cold outside and my Scriptures were looking a little bit chilly sitting there so bare. So, I gave myself a sewing project, a custom scripture case.

I added a handle for convenience. I have the mini-scriptures with the snap closure which was a little tricky. The case velcros shut.
I don't like regular scripture cases where you either have to take them completely out of the case to use them or risk the whole thing sliding off of your lap. Maybe I'm the only one who has that problem so, I made it where you just open up the flap and you have total access to your Scriptures without any annoyance.
Here's the back view. Since I made this one I've made some improvements. I've added a pocket that spans the length and width of the back. I also added some elastic pen/pencil holders in the flap. I am having a lot of fun with these. Next, I'm going to try adding some cute embellishments. These are going to make some lovely gifts!

Peanut's Toys

Peanut's room is just overflowing with all of his stuff. It has been driving me insane. Hate is not a strong enough word for me to express how I feel about clutter. I loathe it! We have been trying to find a toy box since before Christmas. We couldn't find one that we liked at all. So, we found another option, vertical cube shelving. It is very versatile. You can add on horizontally or vertically. The possibilities are endless. Sigh. I LOVE it! You can get pull out canvas drawers for it too. Plus we got it on sale. It was just too good to pass up. Thank you Target. This is what it looked like before. We were using daddy's old book shelf. It was quite crowded.
It's neat and organized. It is wonderful. And the peace of mind it gives me is...priceless. Just ask daddy.

Key Holder

I'm trying to get in touch with my creative side. It's a pretty hard shell to crack but, I think I'm getting there. Since I'm at home I've had some time on my hands to discover things that annoy me about our house. Room for improvement. Peanut is at that age of discovery. Well, he discovered the trash can. We had to temporarily move it into the utility room away from his curious hands. Unfortunately, the placement was less than ideal. It was directly under our keys which were only hanging by pathetic thumb tacks hanging loosely in the wall. Do you see where I'm going with this? After fishing the keys out of the trash not once, but twice something HAD to be done. We were in the process of finding a trash can with a lid but of course the only one Wal-Mart had was the last one and it was broken. Ugh! I decided to make my own key holder. Those little boogers are pretty pricey at the store. So, I found some items that we had just lying around the house. I used a wooden picture frame that was pretty thick, 4 mug/cup hooks, some scrapbook paper, and I printed out the work "Keys" from the computer. Put it all together and this is what you get:
To hang it I had to put hangers on both corners for stability. Now I don't have to worry about those tricky little things falling anywhere.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chewy Granola Bars

I found a wonderful recipe for homemade granola bars at They are the best ones I have made. There are very few ingredients and they don't fall apart or super stick to the pan. They have the perfect amount of sweetness too. We love having them for snack.

Chewy Granola Bars
3 cups oatmeal
1 cup slivered almonds (I omitted these due to a nut allergy)
1 cup shredded coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1-2 cups favorite add-ins (dried fruit, chocolate chips, etc)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Mix all ingredients together and pour into the pan. Pat it out. Bake for 20-27 minutes.

Happy Snacking

P.S. I highly recommend dried cranberries with white chocolate chips.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Donut Muffins

1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Butter, melted
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/2 cup Milk
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 cup Flour

1/4 cup Butter, melted
1/2 cup Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375. Grease your muffin tin. Mix 1st 3 ingredients. Then add last 3 and mix until just combined. Bake 10-15 minutes  or until knife comes out clean. In one bowl have your melted butter. In your second bowl your cinnamon and sugar mixture. Dip your muffin in the butter and then roll it in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

These taste like donut holes! Very light and fluffy. This recipe only makes 6 regular sized muffins. So, if your family likes these as much as mine you will want to quadruple this recipe! These didn't even last an hour in our house. next time I am going to try substituting pumpkin pie spice for the nutmed and hopefully make them pumpkin flavored donuts.

Happy Baking!

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

I love fall! I love pulling out the jeans and long sleeved t-shirts. Time for snuggling by the fire outside while making  smores. Crunching the crispy falling leaves. Visiting the local pumpkin patch. Beautiful mums. It also puts me in the mood to bake. For some reason as the seasons change so do my tastes. Right now I only want to bake things with pumpkin or cinnamon and sugar or all three. While blog hopping I found 2 incredible recipes that have been added to my family's favs list. These are going to be baked a lot!

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes (
2 cups Flour
3/4 tsp Baking Soda
3/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Butter, Melted
1 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 cup Milk
1 tsp Vanilla

1 cup Sugar
2 Tbsp Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare your muffin tin. In one bowl mix all the dry ingredients. In a second bowl combine the butter, sugar, eggs, milk, and vanilla. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix lightly with a fork. Fill your muffin tins. Top each one with the cinnamon/sugar mixture. To make it even better mix a little of the sugar/cinnamon in with the batter. Bake for 15-20.

These are melt in your mouth yummy!

Happy Fall Baking!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Toddler Table Saver Tip

One of my friends pre-children introduced me to a wonderful way to protect pretty tablecloths. She had a toddler at the time. If you have children you know that you can't use a pretty tablecloth because it will be destroyed after one meal. For a while my table went bare because it was easier. Now I have a wonderful table saver that my friend had. It's just clear plastic that you can purchase in different thickness in your local fabric department. I chose the medium thickness for durability. The one drawback is if your plate or bowl is really hot it will stick to the plastic a little. One tip is not to buy the premade ones that are in the tablecloth aisle. They are like $6. I got mine for $2. It was a much better deal. They do last quite a while. Now, I can dress up my table anytime and not worry. Here is my pretty little table all dressed up for fall:
I added fabric leaves under the plastic cover that I bought for $1 at the Dollar Tree. So fun!

I know these are blue. They may get a coat of paint to help them blend. These table holder clips are awesome! My lil man figured out that if he pulled on the tablecloth he could reach things on the table. Big messes for mommy. Thank goodness for these little lifesavers! Now every momma can have a pretty table even with a toddler!


Money Saving Tip: Momma Style

You spend a fortune on the necessities for your infant/toddler so you want to use it to the last drop. You know what I mean. Even a "large" tube of store brand Desitin is over $2. Just like toothpaste diaper cream is a pain in the "butt" (Ha Ha) to use it up. You get to the end of the tube and almost break your fingers trying to get the last drop! I fight with the tube while wrestling my toddler. I swear I've become the fastest diaper changer in the world! So, I found an ingenius solution to this problem:

I'm sure everyone will recognize this simple, fabulous little contraption. It's the tube squeezer for toothpaste! Guess what? It fits on your diaper cream tube too!! I discovered it this week. The Story: Ok, I am like the last person on the planet who didn't have one of these toothpaste squeezer thing a ma bobs. I found one at the Dollar Tree while shopping and bought it for our toothpaste. My diaper cream is getting low and I had one of those light bulb moments, "Maybe the toothpaste thing will fit the diaper cream. They look about the same size." Low and behold it does. So, now my toothpaste will have to be naked until I make another trip to the Dollar Tree. I love the simple things! I hope this tip makes diaper wrestling a little easier on ya!


Subway Art

Have you heard of Subway Art? It is sooo much fun. The first I heard of it was here: I so admire this very creative, talented momma. She linked to I checked out her site as well and LOVED it! She has so many examples of subway art in her blog and tutorials. My bathroom has been a work in progress for....let's just say a very long time! ; ) I haven't been able to find the right decorative hangings so it just has blank walls. So boring. So, after seeing these awesome examples of Subway Art I thought our bathroom would be a fun place to try it out. Plus, it gave me a great excuse to play with my Silhouette SD. If you haven't heard of them check out and for the cute projects and what it's all about. So, here is what I came up with:

Sorry that it's a little hazy. My camera is seriously outdated and it was late so the lighting wasn't the greatest. I think it turned out adorable! I just sat down with a notebook and thought of all the crazy things that happen in our bathroom, found a fun font, and then played with the arrangement until I liked it. You could do this with any room or even holidays or your children. The craft options are limitless. Now I just have to find the perfect 11x14 frame. I am thinking one of those floating frames or a regular frame with some fun scrapbook paper matting. Input would be great! I'll post another pic when it's hanging!

Happy Crafting

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Naptime Sign

I don't know about anyone else but, I have a definite fear of someone knocking on my front door or ringing the doorbell while my lil man is napping. This is an extremely important part of my day. My personal freedom to do what I want and it can all be sucked down the tubes with one knock on the door (it sets our dog into hysterics). So, I recently acquired a very awesome gadget called a Silhouette SD. It can do so many things that I was overwhelmed and didn't know quite where to start. I happened to come across a cute little sign about naptime. Inspiration hit and I knew exactly what I wanted my first vinyl project would be. Here is my first project.
I didn't spend a dime on this project. I already had all the materials and since it was the first project and I was super afraid of screwing it up in some way I used unlikely materials. Mostly, you see these signs on a piece of wood that's been painted. I got a little more creative (or cheap whichever you prefer).

piece of cardboard. This was actually a flap off of a diaper box.
Black construction paper
Vinyl Lettering
Mod Podge-the greatest stuff ever!

All I did was apply my vinyl to the construction paper. Then, cut the construction paper to fit the cardboard. Coated the cardboard with mod podge and applied the construction paper. Then, I coated the top with 2 coats of mod podge. I used a Philips head screwdriver to punch holes in it and then added the ribbon hanger. And there you have a cheap Naptime warning sign. I am going to add a sign to the back of it about removing your shoes upon entering. That way I make use of both sides.

The real kicker of this project is this is the second day that I've hung the sign at naptime and someone had the nerve to ring my doorbell! My husband of course told me that he knew this would happen and found it to be quite funny. I wasn't amused due to the fact that I was dead asleep because I worked until 3am. Plus it of course woke up my son and then naptime was over. I wanted to cry.
Moral of the story: Please call before showing up on someone's doorstep or at least read their signs.

Happy Crafting

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Book Reviews

I have somehow managed to find some spare time to read. Mainly, it's after the lil man goes to bed and my husband has his nose in a book also. On my quest to becoming frugal I have taken up reading finance books. Thanks to the library I am gaining this knowledge for free.

First up is "The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches" by Jeff Yeager. His perspective is very different from all of the other finance books that I have had my hands on. His overall philosophy is, "A penny saved is a penny you don't have to earn again." He goes over what he calls the Money Step. Which is; we earn money, to spend money, to get what you want (or at least what you think you want). His "6 Gold Nuggets" as he calls them are; live within your means & stay there, never underestimate the power of NOT spending, discretion is the better part of shopping, do for yourself what you could have others do for you, anyone can negotiate anything, and pinch the dollars and the pennies will pinch themselves. His book is filled with insightful quotes like, "Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get." ~Dale Carnegie/ There is a lot of humor and personal experience in this book. His humor isn't to my liking but he does have some great points. My favorite quote from him is,

"Yes, we are cheap, but we are generous, kind, and happy because of it. We refuse to spend our time making money so that we can buy things we don't want or need, particularly when so many others have so very little. Our lives and our time are more precious than that."

The second book that I read skimmed this  morning is "How to Raise a Family on Less than Two Incomes" by Denise Topolnicki. I am feeling very opinoinated today and must say that the general idea of this book is a good one but overall it was not realistic for someone like me. Now, I highly suggest it if you are starting out with a combined income of $200,000 and decreasing to $100,000 and only have to give up going to the Opera and eating in upscale Manhattan Restaurants, and of course firing your nanny. Give me a break! I want to read a book from a real family where for example the husband has been a student while they are raising their young family or the husband is a blue collar worker not a lawyer, doctor, or engineer. Now those stay at home moms are smart and creative and there is a lot to be learned from them.

"Money 911" by Jean Chatzky (Financial Editor for Today) is a great guide book. It is broken up into topics that provide useful information and also include additional book titles and websites on each subject. So, now I have some additional titles to check out. I actually took about 2 pages worth of notes from her book that applied to our family specifically. One thing that I have learned about finances; there is not one book or only one idea that fits the needs of every family. To me finance books are like a buffet; you pick and choose what works for you, there is a variety to choose from, and like the buffet you keep going back for another plate. What makes this book gold to me is that it taught me how to get telemarketers to LEAVE ME ALONE! That in itself makes it invaluable. If you too are like me and are almost made hostile when called by a telemarketer here is the solution; Place your phone number on their list and it stays there forever and doesn't expire (*sigh*)

Today lil man and I are peddling (well I'm peddling and he's riding) to the library for storytime and so I can visit the financial buffet and maybe check out a movie. If anyone has any good title selections please drop me a line at

Happy Reading,

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Did someone say chocolate?

So, I was blog hopping the other day and stumbled upon a seriously good looking recipe. Tonight my hubby and I made it and it's soooooo good that I'm going to share it. These 5 little words are going to make your mouth water and send you into the kitchen to make these little babies......Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles. Need I say more? I found the recipe here; . Here is a copy of the recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles (makes about 5 1/2 dozen)
(Taste of Home)

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 bar chocolate candy coating

Cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add flour, alternating with the sweetened condensed milk, beating well after each addition. Stir in chocolate chips. Refrigerate 1-2 hours.

In a microwave-safe bowl melt your candy coating following package directions. Take out your cookie dough mixture and roll into 1 inch balls. Dip balls into coating, drip off excess and let dry on a sheet of waxed paper, about 15 minutes.

Don't forget to wash it down with an extremely large glass of MILK. These little things pack a huge sweetness. My hubby was only able to eat one and that's saying something.

Enjoy your Truffles!

Abundant Market

Starting the second Friday in June Tuscola will be holding their Second Annual Abundant Market.  They will feature; "locally grown produce, flowers, baked goods, locally produced art, quality collectibles, crafts, and more." They also may be adding entertainment and some of the downtown shops may extend their hours for those evenings.

When: The second and fourth Fridays from June-September from 4pm-8pm

Where: Downtown Tuscola at the Festival Plaza across from Dollar General

If interested in becoming a vendor the fee is $10 and it goes to the featured charity or organization of that day.

I can't wait to see what's there!

Happy Marketing!

Garage Sales

Garage Sale season is finally upon us. Now if it would only quit raining for a while so we can get out and enjoy them. The classified section is pretty much the only section I read in the paper but, as I was scanning the rest something stood out. There is going to be the first ever Garage Sale Trail held locally. The towns participating are; Tuscola, Arcola, Arthur, and Sullivan. All of these towns will be holding their town wide rummage sales from Thursday, June 10th- Saturday, June 12th. So, grab some friends, bring your Minivans, SUVs, or a flat bed truck (for the true garage sale queen) and hit up these local communities for some awesome treasures. I know I'm not going to miss it.

Happy Hunting!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mother's Day Gift

I wanted to personalize our Mother's Day gifts this year. All of our moms like flowers so, I bought 3 sets of terra cotta pots with their plates. Then, lil man helped me pick out beautiful flowers. He chose Impatiens. Then, we picked out some paint. Of course that weekend had to be freezing cold and super windy so, these gifts truly were a labor of LOVE! Here's the finished product.

First, paint your pot and base. I chose white because it goes with everything. You can get as creative as you want. I applied 4 coats. Then, comes the hard part. I painted lil man's hands and put them on the pots. They definitely aren't perfect but, I think that's what makes them special. After the handprints dry spray them with a clear coat paint sealer. After all of that then we planted the flowers and gave them a good watering. We had my husband's family over for Mother's Day and we used them as the centerpiece on the table during lunch. I think they turned out super cute.

Happy Crafting,

What's for Dinner?

I don't know about anyone else but, I get tired and bored with making the same ol' things for dinner. So, every once in a while I come across a new and exciting recipe that I just have to try. I came across one of those yesterday and as luck would have it I had all of the ingredients.

Santa Fe Chicken
(Taste of Home, Busy Family Cookbook p130)

1 large onion, chopped
1 Tbsp butter (or 1 Tbsp EVOO extra virgin olive oil)
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 cup salsa
1 cup uncooked long grain rice (brown rice)
1/8 tsp garlic powder
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or mexican cheese blend)
chopped fresh cilantro, optional

In a large skillet, saute onion in butter until tender. Add broth and salsa; bring to a boil. Stir in rice and garlic powder. Place chicken over rice; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn chicken; cook 10-15 minutes longer or until meat juices run clear. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with cheese; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro if desired. Serves 4. Total time less than 30 minutes.

I added a couple of substitutions in parenthesis to make this dish a little more figure friendly. This is a very versatile recipe. If you leave out the chicken this makes excellent mexican rice that you could serve as a side dish. Another variation would be cutting the chicken into smaller pieces and then serving this on tortillas with a dollop of sour cream. Yum! Corn is a good side dish to serve with this. The corn makes the salsa taste sweeter. The best thing about this recipe is I only had to dirty ONE skillet. Less dishes for me!!

If you're like me and want to try new dishes head on over to your local library and check out some cookbooks or look online. I have a few links on my homepage that have wonderful recipes. Give them a try.

Happy Cooking

Monday, May 17, 2010

What's for Dinner?

It may look like plain ol' spaghetti but, it's nooooot! It's Spaghetti Squash and meat sauce. I got the recipe and fabulous idea from Hers looked sooo good that I just had to try it.
Here's what the squash looks like after baking. You just dig it out with a fork and it looks like spaghetti noodles. It got an A+ from my family and added it to our menu. The hardest part was trying to cut the squash in half to bake it. If anyone has any suggestions or tips on how to make this easier I'd be glad to hear them.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sun Hat

Boy has it been sunny lately. Little man and I have been visiting the park almost daily. We walk or I ride my bike pulling him in the trailor. I'm going to be BUFF by the end of this summer. I can't believe how much weight that thing adds to the bike. Well, the park is great but has one drawback. No shade at all! They have these lovely, huge shade trees all throughout the park but nowhere on the playground. I don't want my little one to get sunburned. Me that's a different story. I need some color. Anyway, he has a baseball cap but, that doesn't protect his ears. So, I took a trip to the Outlet Mall. They wanted $10.50 for a tiny hat! I came home frustrated and not willing to give that much for a HAT. So, I searched online for a tutorial. Gotta love the internet and other moms who want to protect their little kid's beanies. I ended up making my very first, very own pattern. That was crazy in itself.
You too can make your own pattern. For this project you need a circle for the top, a rectangle for the middle, and bigger circle for the rim.
First, measure around your child's head (circumference). Take that number and divide it by 3.14. This will give you the size circle you need for the top. Make sure to add 1-2 inches for seam allowance. You don't want it to be too tight.
Second, take that circle and make a second one that is 2.5 inches bigger around the perimeter. It will be a smaller circle inside the bigger circle. The bigger circle = the rim of the hat when you cut out the smaller circle.
To make the middle, I made a 4 inch wide rectangle that was long enough to go around lil man's head with 1-2 inches of seam allowance.
Then, sew all the pieces together. I worked from top to bottom. You can also make this hat reversible by making 2 of the hats and sewing them at the edges wrong sides together. I used leftover fabric from making him a backpack so, it didn't cost anything.

View from the top

Modeling his new hat. I love it. Now his little noggin and little ears are all safe and snug from that bright sun.

Happy Sewing!

Craigs List

So, I'm becoming a little obsessed with Craigs List. I usually have zero luck getting anything. Of course it's already gone when I e-mail about it. But, luck was with me recently. I happened to be on looking under the kids section and the first thing listed was: Free Swing Set to a Good Home. Well, what better home could it possibly go to? So, I crossed my fingers and sent a quick reply. To my astonishment the owner happened to be online and responded immediately. Within 10 minutes or so we even arranged for pickup! I was ecstatic! My great husband and father in law went and got it that week. So, I pushed my luck. I have been wanting a bread machine. I want to make my own bread because it's healthier and cheaper and less work than making it by hand. There happened to be 3 on there. Of the 3 the only one available happened to be the one I liked the best. My loving, oh so wonderful huband went and picked it up for me the next day on his lunch break. I rewarded him with of course, homemade bread. I got the thing for a steal $20. They start at $50. This one makes up to a 2lb loaf and has all of the wonderful settings like dough, etc. Here are my fabulous steals:
My little man swinging away the evening right after daddy put it together.
It is so happy in our back yard.

My new friend who is getting a lot of use already. I love the smell of fresh baked bread!

My very cute little first loaf. It was yummy.

If you like Craigslist you would probably like freecycle too. Check them out.

Happy Baking!

Water Bottle Bowling

Another fun Toddler project for my little man. He is really into balls and throwing. So, I came up with an idea to make him a bowling game. We normally don't buy bottled water but, what better way to recycle and reuse and entertain a child all in one.
For this project you will need: 1. Water Bottles. I used 5. You can use as many as you want but, I didn't want to store more. Make sure to let them completely air dry before you start. 2. 1/4 cup or less of Epsom Salt or sand or beans. You just need something to give the bottle a little weight. 3. Food Coloring to dye the salt or whatever you use. This is optional. 4. Labels to wrap around the bottle. I wanted to make this educational as well as fun. So, I measured the circumference of the bottle. I made my labels 9 inches long and 2 inches wide. I made each label a different color. Then, I put a different shape on each label and a number inside of the shape. So, this will help with colors, shapes, and numbers all in one.

To Assemble:
Measure out your Epsom Salt into a bowl. Add whatever color of food coloring you want. Mix it up. Pour it into the bottle using a funnel. I used a piece of paper folded into a funnel. It worked well. Don't put the lid on until the salt is dry again.

Attach your labels with craft glue or whatever works best for you. I then put clear contact paper over them to make it harder for little hands to rip off the label.

Last glue your lid on. Make sure it is nice and tight. I can't even imagine how bad that mess would be.
Here's the finished project. I think they turned out pretty cute. Lil guy found them first thing this morning and has been having a blast. This project costed cents. I had everything on hand except for the water bottles. I saw a little bowling set at Wal-Mart for $5 but it didn't have numbers or shapes. The pins were just different colors. The best thing about this project is it's completely customizable. You could do letters or animals too.

Happy Bowling!

*Project for personal use only, please.

In Use

I am officially using my homemade laundry detergent! I am very hopeful that it won't affect our sensitive skin. I would love to do laundry for pennies and say good bye forever to expensive store bought detergents. Making the detergent was even easier than I thought it would be. It was nothing to measure and mix the borax and washing soda. The most time consuming part was grating up the blasted bar of soap. I started (key word) with using a hand grater. It did not end that way. I am not a patient person by any means. It was taking FOREVER. I am trying to keep life simple here so, standing at the kitchen counter hand grating a bar of soap all day is not my idea of productive. So, I started thinking about what I could do to speed up the process. A light bulb turned on. I have a blender/chopper that sits up high in a cabinet all by itself collecting dust. The thing claims to be able to break up concrete. So, I thought why not a bar of soap? So I dusted it off and gave it a job. It is no longer useless. In less than 15 seconds I had soap DUST! It was awesome! It made it so fine that it mixes in wonderfuly with the other powders. Making the fabric softener was even easier. All I did was combine the ingredients into a Rubbermaid Shaker bottle. Just remember to shake it up before every use because the baking soda settles to the bottom.
Here are my laundry staples sitting happily together on the shelf over my washer and taking up very little room.

Happy Laundry Day!

Breakfast for Dinner

At our house this is one of our favorite nights. We have actually made this a weekly habit. One night a week we eat breakfast for dinner. We love breakfast so, it was only fitting. Last night I made homemade biscuits and gravy. Yum! I did cheat on the biscuits though. I didn't make them homemade. They were still delish! Here is the recipe that I use.

Basic White Sauce
Serves one hungry family of 4
8Tbsp (1 stick) butter or margarine
8Tbsp flour
4 Cups Milk
Salt/Pepper to taste
1lb Sausage

Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Blend in flour, salt, and pepper. Cook over low heat. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Add sausage (brown before adding to gravy).
Hint: I usually don't add the salt. The sausage is enough salt for us.

Baking Powder Biscuits
Betty Crocker
2  Cups Flour
1 Tbsp Sugar
3 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 Cup Shortening
3/4 Cup Milk

Heat oven to 450. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Cut in shortening using pastry blender until mixture looks like fine crumbs. Stir in milk until dough leaves side of bowl (dough will be soft and sticky). Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead lightly 10 times. Roll or pat to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with floured 2 to 2 1/4 inch round cutter. Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart for crusty sides, and touching for soft sides. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Serve Warm.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tick Tock

Does this ever happen to you? You sit down at the computer to only check your e-mail and then find yourself on Facebook, and then one site just leads to another site. The 5 minutes you were intending to spend on the internet turns into, oh say, 1-2 hours. You look at the clock and say, "Oh my, where has the time gone?" Well, this happens to me all the time. So, I'm going to try something new.
Ta Da! I dug my little kitchen timer out of the back of my spice cabinet where it was happily collecting dust. Now, I'll just set it for how long I need to be on the computer and hopefully break myself of this terrible habit. Most likely I'll probably be so absorbed in what I'm doing that when it goes off it will scare me half to death. Wish me luck.


Tiny Tot Belt

My poor little boy has no bum. Poor kid can't help it. Yesterday, I think his pants fell down 3 times. I've had enough. I went into town today and bought supplies to make him a big boy belt. So, if you have a child that suffers from the same problem here's how to make the solution:
Supplies: Decorative Ribbon, 1yard of cording (measure your child's waist to determine how much you need), and 2 D rings (you'll want them bigger than the cording so you can pull it through to tighten the belt)

Step 1: Pin your ribbon to the cording on both sides and then sew in place.

Step 2: Place your D rings together on one end. Make sure to fold the end of your cording under so it will have a finished end. It was a beast to sew through this thickness.

Step 3: Fold the other end in the opposite direction and sew it the same way.
Here is the finished product.

My cute little model just couldn't wait to try it out.

Up close, rear view.

This is such a versatile project. You can use different colors of cording with or without ribbon for decoration. I also have an idea for using one belt but adding velcro so, you can change the ribbon for different outfits. I'm going to try that next.

*Please use this for personal use only. Please do not use my pictures.