Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How Quickly Things Change

I don't usually do two posts in one day, but this was too funny not to share.  Just got home from running errands and looked out the back window and our snowman was not there anymore.  Took a closer look and this is what I found.  HILARIOUS.  How quickly things change in Michigan - 55 degrees today.

The Blow Pop was his pipe in case you wondering what that was doing there.

One minute he's there...
...gone the next.

Good-bye Mr. Snowman.  It was nice while it lasted.

Winter Hello

Just a quick winter hello for my warm weather friends out there.  We finally got enough snow to build a snowman! 

If you don't have snow, but want to make a snowman, check out my Winter Class Party post for a water bottle snowman craft and snowman snack.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Valentine's Stuff

I tend to stay low key when it comes to Valentine's Day, throw some hearts on my doors and call it a day.  But I've seen some ideas lately that may have inspired me to kick it up a notch.  Check these out...

Little Lucy Lu's Valentine Centerpieces

tatertots & jello's Valentine Pallet Art 

tatertots & jello's Glitter Mason Jars

Really Renata's Valentine Wreath

And you've got to see these adorable
and clever Valentine card ideas...

Robot Valentines from Randee's Organized Chaos

I "Wheelie" Like You by 30 Handmade Days

Pipe Cleaner Heart Bookmarks from Vixen Made

Silly Sucker Valentine from Tea & Lime

Cupid's Arrow Valentine's by

My daughter is thinking about doing these
Valentine Friendship Bracelets from Dandee.

I really want to make these for my kids on Valentines Day...
Heart Shaped Hard Boiled Eggs from

Check out My Pinterest Valentine's Board for more ideas.
Feel free to share some of your ideas in the comments section or link up to the blog hop sponsored
by Randee's Organized Chaos on the sidebar.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Birthday Fun & Yummies for My Hubby

Today is my hubby's birthday!  One of the reasons I love my husband so much is for his sense of humor.  We have so much fun giggling together.  Here's a video clip that never fails to make us giggle.  I hope it gives you a giggle too.  Happy Birthday, Kev!  I Love you more each year! (I had the actual clip here, but it made my blog run too slowly, so just click on the link below to see it instead.)

This morning I surprised him with breakfast cookies, actually he saw them last night, but they were for this morning.  Yes, cookies for breakfast!  My hubby and I love these, but I don't make them often enough!  The best part is, they are good for you!  It's like eating oatmeal, peanuts, an apple and a carrot all in a cookie.   My sister actually wrote this recipe.   Amongst many other things, she writes recipes for Nourish MD, a website focusing on eating REAL.  Visit my sister Jackie on Facebook at Prep Like a Chef for any questions on this recipe or anything food-related.  I don't know anything about cooking, so she's my "go to" gal when I need food-related answers, like "how do I turn on the stove?".  Just kidding, I'm not that bad.

Grab a couple of these yummies and eat them on the go for breakfast or as a snack. Throw a smoothie with them and you are good to go. You can even crumble them up to add to a trail mix or put on top of yogurt. ENJOY!

Happy Friday!


Breakfast Cookies  (2-3 dozen depending on size of  cookies)                           
1 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
*1 cup sugar
2 eggs beaten
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour or ground oatmeal
1 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
pinch of Celtic sea salt
1 3/4 cups whole oats
**1 granny smith apple finely grated with the skin on &the juices (or any apple you have)
**1 carrot finely grated
1 cup raisins, here's where I substitute chocolate chips - I don't like raisins
1/4 cup grated or flake coconut, your preference - I like a finer texture.

 * To make it less processed, use sucanat a non-refined cane sugar or palm sugar, a low glycemic index - available at Whole Foods.  You can also adjust the sugar amount to your liking.

** I complained to my sister about grating the apple and carrot and she suggested just throwing them in the blender (after you core the apple of course).  My blender stinks, so I got a work out in my arms and grated them by hand.

  • Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Mix butter, peanut butter and sugar together.
  • Blend in eggs.
  • In separate bowl, combine whole wheat flour (or ground oatmeal), baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Gradually add to peanut butter mixture.
  • Stir in oatmeal, apple, carrot raisins and/or chocolate chips and coconut.
  • Place tablespoons of cookie dough onto baking sheet.
  • Bake for 9-11 minutes until edges just become brown.  Cool completely.

Allergen Info                                                                               
  • Can be casein-free with a coconut oil or ghee in place of butter.
  • Can be gluten-free with gluten-free oats.
  • Can be peanut and tree-nut free with sunflower seed butter.  FYI: sunflower seed butter turns slightly green, but still tastes great!
  • Vegetarian

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cardboard Box Top Turned Heart Art

I saw this genius idea while perusing blogland or Pinterest, can't remember where exactly and I didn't mark it except in my memory.  Anyhow, this genius idea was to use a cardboard box lid as a canvas for art.  As I was organizing my office, I came upon some huge lids.  I was in my rampage mode, so I was ready to recycle them when I remembered the box top canvas idea.

At first I couldn't decided what kind of art I wanted to do, then I remembered another pin of mine.  It was a cut out of a map in the shape of a heart to represent the places you've lived or met your spouse, etc.  One person put multiple little hearts in one frame and another one did a series of a couple frames in a row.  (Check out their versions of it at Everything Fabulous and  Mini Moz.)  For us, one heart works because the two cities we've lived in together fit right on the same heart.  This was the perfect opp to finally get this idea off my "to do list" and it was ALL FREE and completely repurposed!

And today was the day to make it.  I had been digging my way through my office for way too long and I hit a wall.  I just couldn't take it anymore!  I needed to do something else!!!!

So I got my cardboard box lids.

Got some blue paint.  I even repurposed a ping pong ball wrapper as my paint palette.  The divots for the balls were the perfect little spot for a squirt of paint.

Painted the box top with a bit of a striated effect.

Found an old map in the office and used my Valentine decoration as a heart template.

Made some homemade Modge Podge - 50/50 water and school glue mixture.
Recycled my Starbucks Mocha Frap bottle for its container too.
I'm just a repurposing fool today!

And modge podged it on.

I know right where to hang this guy.
It will be part of the kids' art gallery wall in the playroom.
For now it will hang out in the office until I can tackle the playroom!

When my little guy got home from school, he said the nicest thing.
"Mom, did you buy that at the store today?"
I'll take that as a compliment!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Recycled Craft Project

We are so lucky to have two sister babysitters across the street.  This gives us a back up plan when one can't sit, hopefully the other can.  And sometimes the kids are lucky enough to get both.  Since we were at our sitters' house for a White Elephant party on Saturday, they both came to our house and did their own little White Elephant party with our kids.  How cute is that?  The kids searched the house for stuff they didn't want anymore and did a gift exchange of their own.  Our babysitter sister tag team also came over with a bag full of fun for our kids. 

Inside the bag of fun:
  • old greeting cards
  • scrapbook paper remnants
  • wrapping paper tubes

What they did:
Created flags by cutting and pasting the old cards and scrapbook paper to a white sheet of paper and taping it to the wrapping paper tubes.

Simple - Creative - Cute - Fun - & Free!
What a great combo!
Have you done any recycled crafts at your house lately?
I would love to see them!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What I Learned About Weather Stripping a Door

Last week winter finally arrived in Michigan.  Temperatures dropped and reminded me of how drafty my doors are.  (And now it's like spring again, but that's Michigan.)  It only took me six years to finally tackle this project, but I spent all day Friday with my good friend and neighbor shutting down the massive airflow into my house.  This is a classic case of a simple project turning into an all day affair.

Pictures can't really help to convey the draft we had.  Just turn on a fan next to you and there you have it.  Anyhow, my back door was the biggest problem out of all the doors.  There was literally about 3/4 of an inch gap between the door and the frame on the upper left side.  And of course I forgot to take a picture of it before we started, but I do have before and after pics of the weather stripping.

BEFORE: Old weather stripping

AFTER: New weather stripping

I don't have a step-by-step process for you, but I will share a few tips.
  • If you are replacing the bottom weather stripping, it is definitely a two person job.  You will need to remove the door.  I am lucky enough to have a friend who is our local "handy woman".  She knows how to do stuff and she is good!  I was really just her assistant.
  • There are several different kinds of weather stripping.  Know what kind your door needs.  Does yours have a channel or do you need a peel and stick?  Do you need rubber, foam, open or closed foam?  You hardware store should be able to recommend what makes sense for your situation.
  • Don't assume anything. Don't assume the style of weather stripping at the store fits your door. Take the old weather stripping with you to the store to save you trips back again.
  • Again, don't assume.  Just because the bottom weather stripping fits one of your doors, it may not fit your other doors.   Every door is different.  Go to the hardware store prepared.
Remove stripping and bring it to the store with you.
  • Talk to the right person at the hardware store.  Our local Ace Hardware really has a very informative and knowledgeable staff.  We were lucky enough to talk to a man who spent about 10 years putting doors in and had seen it all.  He was definitely the right person.
  • Our back door was so bad that I thought we would need to do a complete redo.  There are things you can do to adjust your door without reframing it or buying a whole new door.  Find out what they are from a qualified source.  Here are some tricks we learned for my back door:
    • It may be that your door settled over the years.  Try putting in longer cabinet screws to adjust any settling your door may have done.  The longer screws will pull the door upward to adjust any wonkiness and help realign it. 
    • If that doesn't work, try hinge shims.  They make shims especially shaped for hinges.  We added two to our bottom hinge, along with weather stripping the perimeter and it did the trick!  The bottom hinge worked for us, but your situation may be different.

After four runs to the store, taking the door off, putting it back up, taking it back down because the bottom weather strip was too short (how did we not notice that before we put it back up???), adding hinge shims to the bottom hinge, putting it back up, taking two more doors up and down and about eight hours later, we got through three doors! Fewww! And we still have two more doors to go, but we are ready!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Super Bowl Food

Whether you enjoy football or just like to watch the commercials, Super Bowl is another chance to gather together with good friends and good food, and it's just around the corner.  If you are hosting a party, attending one or just staying cozy at home with family, here are some simple recipes to feed a crowd large or small. 

For some snacky goodness, I've got to share this salsa recipe from my neighbor friend! You can eat it with pita chips, nacho chips or I've even found myself eating it like a salad...soooo good!

First, if you can get your hands on something like this Vidalia Chop Wizard, do so!  It makes this recipe so easy! My friend just gave this to me for my birthday.  She is the queen of "As Seen On TV" stuff! It cracks me up.  And I have to tell you, it works like a gem for a big chopping job like this. I brought this salsa to a White Elephant party last night and everyone devoured it.

It not only tastes great, but I love how gorgeous and colorful the ingredients are too.

Avocado & Bell Pepper Salsa
6 tomatoes deseeded and diced
1 red pepper diced
1 yellow pepper diced
1 jalapeno pepper diced
1 English cucumber deseeded and diced
1 bunch of cilantro chopped
1 red onion diced
3 avocados diced
1 squeezed lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Chop away and you will get a bowl full of yumminess like this!

Next is the recipe for the chicken chili I mentioned in my Angry Birds' post.   This recipe was given to me by my mother-in-law and never fails to be a hit.

White Chicken Chili Serves 6-8
48 oz. jar white northern beans (drain)
1 medium onion chopped
3 teaspoons minced garlic (or fresh cloves chopped/minced)
4 oz. can green chilies
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
*4 chicken breasts cut up
14 oz. can chicken broth
1 cup water

* Variations: grab two rotisseries and cut the breasts from that, use turkey instead or use ground turkey or chicken and add veggies to up the nutrition even more

Put all the ingredients in your crock pot.  Mix thoroughly.  Cover and walk away.  Here are the recommended cooking times, but I've found I only need 3 hours, if that.
     Cook low 10-12 hours
     High 5-6 hours

Set up a topping bar for the chili with some sour cream, shredded cheese and nacho strips, maybe some chives or cilantro too.  Get ready for some oooohs and ahhhs because this chili is the bomb!

Throw in some veggies and dip and don't forget the *steamed hot dog trick I told you about from my Angry Birds' post and you're good to go for Super Bowl!  There are many other things you can throw into the mix, but I just had to share these two favorites of mine.  Easy and yummy!  Great for any cold winter day.  Enjoy! 

Feel free to share some your favorites in the comments section below.

*Steamed hot dogs: Put hot dogs in a steamer for 10 minutes and they stay warm and ready to serve.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Blog Under Construction

Happy Friday, everyone!  Just wanted to give you a heads up that I'm working on changing the look of my blog.  So if it's looking a little wonky it's because I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing behind the scenes.  It may show up looking like a mad mess at some point.  Still learning!

Check back tomorrow for some easy, yummy Super Bowl recipes.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Treasures From My Mom's Basement

Sometimes I find the best place to go shopping is in your own home.  I discover a new life for something if I just switch rooms or reinvent the piece with paint.  The second best place to shop is somebody else’s home!   A few months ago, I took a shopping adventure in my mom’s basement and I wanted to share some of the treasures I found there.

This first one I am most excited about.  I actually saw a similar serving tray in a magazine for over $200!!  I was feeling pretty good about this find.  I heard somewhere that you can use toothpaste as a silver cleaner, so I gave that a shot.  It helped a bit, but I need to give it another go with more elbow grease.  If not, I’ll get some real silver polish and see what happens.

I’m thinking about giving this chandelier a new life and a new home in my guest room.  Perhaps, red.  Maybe silver.  Or maybe stark white.  I haven’t decided yet.  I can also think of two other places this chandelier could work…the playroom in a turquoise or the office as is.  We will see.

This awesome frame is going to be a pin board for my daughter.  I’m thinking in the turquoise/blue family with a burlap cover over the cork.

And these little lanterns found a home on my porch during the holidays.  I’m thinking they need a bit of love…gray, white, black or red paint?  They would be good all year round on the deck or in the family room.

I know there are more treasures to be found over in my mom's basement.  Actually, there is a table and chairs waiting for me now.  I’ll be sure to share them with you and any updates on these ones.  Have fun shopping at home today or somebody else's home and see what treasures you can find!  I'd love to hear about them too.  Feel free to share in the comments section below.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

No Sew Curtains

The other day I had a light bulb moment.  I was browsing the aisles at Home Goods and noticed a fabric tablecloth I liked.  I don't really use tablecloths too much, but of course that didn't stop me from looking at them.  Then I thought these are just the right size to be curtains for my family room.  And at $16.99 each, what a steal!  YES!  I was feeling pretty clever at that moment.  All I would need are those clip rings to attach to the table cloths and slide onto the curtain rod.

It turns out, it's not quite the look I was going for, but I'm still in love with this no sew and low cost idea for curtains.  So now I'm on a tablecloth hunt.  I was so excited about this idea, I had to share it.  Hopefully it will work out for one of you.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Random Inspiration

As I walked past my hallway, I saw this bag and thought, I love it! 

Cover the store name with a monogrammed oval or circle and you've got yourself a very cute gift bag.  Or replicate the look on your wall like the one below.  Just thought it was funny that I was inspired by a bag.  So keep your eye out for random moments of inspiration anywhere and everywhere.

Happy Friday!

Lonny, June/July 2010

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

DIY Sea Fan Art

For my master bath, I wanted sea fan or sea urchin art, but the prices were more than I wanted to spend.  So I decided to take matters into my own hands.  I had a vision of a super shiny silver shadow box frame with nine sea urchins in three rows of threes.  As it turned out, to find a shadow box in the size I wanted, I probably could've just bought the premade version.  To avoid a pricey shadow box, I thought about doing a regular frame without the glass, but I didn't want to deal with a dust collection on whatever sea creature I chose.

In the end, I found a sea fan at Home Goods for $10 and a driftwood frame at Michael's on sale for around $15.  For the backdrop, I used an old white linen curtain from our first home.  Glad I didn't get rid of that curtain.  Sometimes procrastination pays off!

This project couldn't be any simpler.  The hardest part was the hunt for the right supplies.  The time it took to make the actual piece was probably 10 minutes or less.  I just cut the white linen to fit the frame, cut off the stem of the sea fan (it was too thick at the bottom to fit) and put it in.  No glue, just smooshed it right in there.


Yes, those are wrinkles in the linen.   I thought about ironing it out, but the wrinkles add to its rustic charm.  I asked my mom and mother-in-law their opinion and they both thought the wrinkles added to the look too.  I'm kind of a fan of imperfection.  Wrinkles, dinks, dents all add charm and take away the stress of keeping everything pristine.  So there you have it.  My customized sea fan art for a whopping $25!  Not bad considering the ones I wanted were $300!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Random Rambling: Spontaneous Creativity

Every now and then I may do what I declare a "random rambling".  It won't happen every Tuesday or every second Tuesday of the month, it will happen well, randomly.  And you guessed it, it will be me rambling on about something just for fun.   I hope you enjoy today's first Random Rambling...

I love it when my kids get in a creative groove all on their own.  It's a slice of heaven.  This past weekend my daughter asked if she could make a concoction.  My kids like to do this a lot.  Take a bit of this and a bit of that to make some crazy food or potion. 

This time I was glad it wasn't something involving food.  They always ask me to taste test.  Sometimes I oblige and well, most times I flat out say, "No way! You try it!"  However, I have to hand it to my son, last time he created something that resembled apple cobbler.   Okay, so back to the latest creation.

My daughter gathered hand sanitizer, soap, water and glitter.  She put it all in a little bitty hand sanitizer bottle, so I gave her a mason jar.  When my little man saw what she was doing, of course he had to join the fun.  Now two mad scientist at work.  I offered up some food coloring and they were just giddy with excitement!  Actually, I liked it better clear, you could see the glitter better.  But they were all about color!

They turned out to be like a fun sparkly snow globe with nothing but sparkles, soap bubbles and a random confetti snowflake.  Really fun and pretty cool looking, actually.  Obviously, the hand sanitizer adds nothing but another ingredient to the mix, which is half the fun for them.

Today they decided they wanted to paint the lids. This is the craft that just keeps on giving and it wasn't even my idea. I love that!

Oh, wait, I forgot.  Once my oldest came in, food did enter the picture.  First he created a mango, pretzel mix of some sort and the other was vanilla pudding, crushed pretzels and peanut butter.  I think we have a future dessert inventor.  Sweet and salty works every time.  Ben and Jerry's might want to pick him up for the ice cream lab in a few years.

As I write this, I can hear them in the background playing a mean game of  heads vs. tails with a quarter.  They crack me up!  These are my favorite moments.  When they make something out of nothing.  Okay, I really am rambling.  Have a great day!  I hope you have some spontaneous fun today!

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Life for an Old Chandelier

It's going to take me a while before I finish my "unfinished" project list.  So in the meantime, I'll share some projects of the past.  When we moved into our house six years ago, we inherited an outdated brass kitchen chandelier of which I gave a minimal makeover to get me by until we could replace it.  I painted the brass black.  Still not so pretty.

Oops, started to take it apart before I took the photo.
But you get the idea, right?  Wish I had a photo of the brass version.
Then, about four years ago, I found a low cost solution to replace this chandelier with a drum shade and a light kit.  I think it cost me around $15.  So up went the drum shade and down went the makeshift.  My husband would have liked it if I put the makeshift to the curb, but I either have to donate or remake.  So I put it in my basement (much to my husband's dismay) for the next donation.

Time passed.   I forgot about that chandelier.  Then in 2011, I learned about blog land and was inspired!  The laundry room was up for a makeover and I wanted a fun light, but didn't want to spend the bucks.   It is the laundry room after all.  So up came the long, lost chandelier from the basement.

After some white spray paint, new glass shades, wood beads and some twine, the old chandy has a new life!
Much better!

My photos don't do proper justice.
I really should look into lessons or at least reading my camera's manual - hee-hee!
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