Friday, March 30, 2012

Guest Post: The Perfect Hard Boiled Egg

Hey guys! Today I have my very first guest post and it’s from my big sis Jackie over at Prep Like a Chef.  With Easter around the corner, I asked her if she would share her secret behind the perfect hard boiled egg.  Sooo, here you go….


Hi everyone!  This is my first time being a guest poster!  I’m glad to be here and excited to share my perfect hard boiled egg tip with you!

Here’s what I do:

  • Combine 1 TB salt, 1/4 cup vinegar and 6 cups water in a pot; bring to a boil.
  • Using a spoon (it's safer that way) add eggs one at a time.
  • Reduce heat and simmer 14 minutes.
  • Remove eggs from hot water and place into ice water.
  • Cool completely; about 15 minutes.
  • Peel shells from eggs; these eggs even peel nicely. I don't know the science behind why this works; I just know it does!

Eggs keep under refrigeration for 1 week.

That’s it!  Make sure and stop by Prep Like a Chef Sunday for my favorite Easter brunch menu, Wednesday to see how to color eggs naturally and Friday for Easter leftover meal ideas!

Have a great day and take it one "prep" at  time!
Chef Jackie

Thanks, Jackie!  I’ve never used salt and vinegar to hard boil eggs before.  I’ll be giving it a try this time because I’m hoping for a better peeling egg!  It drives me nuts when I peel an egg and half the egg comes with it!

I also recently read, the fresher the egg, the harder it is to peel.  And as I was sorting through old magazines, I found a great tip in an issue of Better Homes & Gardens to figure out if your eggs are fresh.

Fresh Egg Test

BHG said to put them in a bowl of cold water.

  • Really fresh eggs: drop to the bottom of the bowl and lie on their sides.
  • Somewhat fresh eggs: stand on end and bob about in the water.
  • Old eggs:  float and should be pitched.

Have an Egg-cellent Weekend!


PS – don’t forget Sunday is April Fool’s Day.  Are you going to play any tricks on your friends and family?  I started to make a pinboard for it, but only got as far as three pins.Smile  Feel free to peek at my whole three pins.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Project Playroom: Phase One Done

So I finished Phase One:  The Walls.  The funny thing is that it has an eerie resemblance to my high school gym.  My husband asked if I was going to put our school letters on it.  Then I looked at it and just started laughing at how much it really looks like the gym.

Here is my high school gym from my 20 year reunion this year.  I cut off the lower portion just in case my classmates didn’t want to be posted, but the lower portion is painted black all the way down.

bfhs gym cropped

And here’s the current state of our playroom minus the Venture Man


Ummmmmm, not what I was going for. I’m hoping once everything else is in place, I won’t see my high school gym every time I walk in the room. If not, I’ve already got a few ideas to remedy the situation, but first I will finish the room as planned and then decide.


So backtracking a bit.  We used a chalk line to help guide me when I put up the tape.  First time using a chalk line.  So fun!  If you haven’t tried it, you really should.  All my kids enjoyed snapping a chalk line too.  Good family fun!


I will tell you, the first coat really scared me.  Just look at it.


But as you can see, side by side, the second coat did the trick!  Fewww!


And next is the part I’ve been waiting for….ripping out that nasty, stained and buckled carpet!!!!!  I couldn’t paint fast enough so I could move on to this step.  The fun part was that if I dripped paint on the carpet, it didn’t matter.  At first I tried not to, but then suddenly I threw all caution to the wind and was butting up my roller right against the carpet to do the trim.  It felt so good!  Good-bye carpet!!!  Hello subfloor???  More to come.  Stay tuned…

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mom

I have to give a shout out to the person who gave me my creative side, my mom!  I was actually hoping to share some of my mom’s artwork with you today, but time has gotten the best of me again, so we’ll save that for another day.  Anyhow, today is her birthday – 74 years young!  Thank you for all you’ve done for me over the years -your love, support, encouragement and non-judging eyes!  Everything a kid needs!  Thank you for showing me how creativity and art can be such a great outlet.  I love it! 

Thank you for taking care of all us and especially now for taking care of dad since Alzheimer’s has crept in.  I know how hard that is and I know many people don’t quite understand the extent of it.  It’s not just someone forgetting things, it’s so much more than that.

So I thought today someone should take care of you!!  You know those bathroom ideas we’ve been talking about, put your paintbrush down because that is my gift to you! Gift with a bow You have enough to do.  In my dream world, I was going to send you somewhere today and knock it out, but that was just a dreamSmile.  Just know that it is coming!  SURPRISE!

I love you.

Have a fabulous day!!Birthday cake

Love your surprise baby,

KimRed heart

Monday, March 26, 2012

Real Live Easter Grass

Sometimes I see an idea that I HAVE TO DO (like the  popcorn in a lunch bag).  Last year I really wanted my Easter centerpiece to be real grass with our hard boiled eggs nestled in it.  It didn’t happen.  But I just ran across the same idea, but as actual Easter grass for your Easter baskets! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!  This is a HAVE TO DO for me. 

So I grabbed some potting trays from the dollar store yesterday – four for a dollar!  We had leftover grass seed and potting soil from last year.  Yay, a $1 project!

This is what I’ve got now.




And here is what I hope it will look like in two weeks.  You can pin the dirt pictures from here, but please go to this link How Does She? to pin the photo below.

Easter grass in a basket

Time is of the essence, so I couldn’t wait until my grass grew to tell you just in case this is a HAVE TO DO for you too!

I just love this idea because it’ll be fun to watch the grass grow with the kids, I won’t have shredded fake grass all over my house and it’s sooooo stinkin cute!

If all else fails, I saw some wheatgrass for sale at the grocery store or I could just use my good old shredded wood grass that we’ve been using.


Check out my Easter pinboard for some other fun ideas like dying eggs with lace tights and polka dot glitter eggs.  So many awesome ideas out there so little time!  These Crystal Geode Eggs from Martha Stewart are another HAVE TO DO, but I think it’s a HAVE TO DO for next year. 


The Martha Stewart Show


Happy Spring!


Friday, March 23, 2012

Inexpensive Ways to Update Your Kitchen

Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick is having a “show us your kitchen” linky party and I wanted to join the fun so I dug out our kitchen pictures from four years ago.  Our kitchen is a prime example of what you can accomplish with just a can of paint and a screwdriver.

Before, our kitchen looked outdated with dark stained oak cabinets and crazy knobs.  Our first update was the knobs, which didn’t make enough impact so I decided to bite the bullet and paint the cabinets.  Our kitchen really had good bones - a good layout and real wood cabinets - so it didn’t make sense to do a complete overhaul.

Apparently, I didn’t clean up for the before picsSmile and I was actually already in process.  I painted the island first as a test run and you can see I started to fill some holes on those drawers.


The wood actually doesn’t look too bad in the pic below, but this kitchen needed to be awakened!  Oh and look at that fluorescent light box.  So glad to be rid of it!


These pictures were taken about three or four years ago.  I can’t believe how little my kiddies are in this pic!  Oh, there’s the famous clutter counter!!  Ha-ha!  Too funny.


I tossed around the idea of painting the cabinets black, but was a bit nervous until I saw this pic in the July/August 2007 issue of This Old House magazine.  Seeing this pic and reading about how the homeowners transformed their space just by painting their oak cabinets inspired me to go for it.


This is really a project that could probably be completed in a week or less, but it probably took us about a yearSmile.  It was actually kind of a joke after a while.

It’s been done for a few years now, so I don’t have step by step pics either.  But the process we took was:

  1. Clean the cupboards with TSP
  2. Sand (I just sanded by hand, just enough scuffing. I didn’t go down to bare wood)
  3. Wipe with tack cloth
  4. Prime
  5. Paint (two coats)

I used regular latex paint because I refuse to use oil-based paints even if it’s the more durable choice.  I’ve recently come to find out from Centsational Girl & Isabella & Max Rooms that there are water-based paint choices that are a great choice for this type of thing.  My regular old latex paint has actually held up just fine.

For budget purposes, we kept our solid surface Corian counters.  Although I’d love Carrera marble in my fantasy world, these work well in contrast to the black.


Besides painting the cabinets and changing the hardware, we did a few things to customize it a bit.  We took the doors off the cabinets above the microwave and refrigerator to add some openness. 



We also added hooks on the island for towels and oven mitts – love this.  So handy!


Added a Rev-Your-Shelf system (from Lowes) to a cabinet so I could have one of those nifty sliding garbage and recycling centers like new kitchens today.  Love! (Actually my neighbor installed it for me – thanks, Red!  She even helped paint some cabinet doors.  She’s the DIY queen.)


We also removed the wooden scalloped valance above the sink to update it a bit.


I brought in pops of red as an accent color with things like the colander and binder above the microwave and the little rooster on the window sill.  I wanted something red for my serving utensils, but couldn’t find what I wanted in the kitchen department, then I stumbled upon this planter at Home Depot and thought this was perfect!


I picked up wooden letters from Michael’s and painted them red for a little pop on the other side of the room.  It’s a small wall, so the letters work perfectly there.


Every season I change out what goes in those little white vases I picked up from IKEA. And I love the J.R. Watkins hand and dish soap because it’s a green option and the packaging is cute enough to leave out!


Oh, and we made the side of the pantry a chalkboard.  Very handy and fun for the kids.


So for just about $200, our kitchen was transformed with some paint and new knobs.  I didn’t include the new appliances and the lighting because it truly did transform the kitchen even with the old appliances and fluorescent light box.  We finally got the appliances last year and obviously that was a chunk of change.  Yes, it’s even better now with the new appliances, but just wanted you to know you don’t have to spend a bunch for a big impact.




And soon, I get to share some more kitchen transformations!  Three of my friends are redoing their kitchens.  One is going my route and a step up by painting the cabinets and installing granite counters.  The other is doing a massive gut job of their entire main floor and the other you saw a peek of over at my sister’s.  I cannot wait to show you their before and afters. 


This post is linked up to the following Linky Parties:

Thrifty Decor Chick, 30 Days, Not JUST a Housewife, Tater Tots & Jello, Randee's Organized Chaos, Don't Mess With My Tutus!Ask Anna and Bubbly Nature Creations

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

One Thing Leads to Another

I’m making progress on the playroom, painted below the chair rail yesterday.  The walls were sucking up the paint like crazy.  I think I actually need to do a third coat.  Didn’t expect that.  Or maybe I won’t since I’m putting storage units in front of the wall anyway.

Which got me thinking about my storage options.  Originally, I was thinking about Expedit cubbies from IKEA, but was worried that the square cubbies would limit my storage options.


I was going to put a bunch of my craft supplies, now living in my kitchen cabinets there.  They are stored in plastic shoebox style containers which doesn’t maximize the square cubbies very well.


Then I thought about taking my son’s dressers and using them.  The drawers fall out all the time, so I would take them out and create shelves.  See how well my son is using them.  I don’t think he’d miss them.  There’s one shirt in that bottom drawer.


Then I reevaluated the supplies and realized I need to store them in my hallway crap craft closet instead.  The only items the kids really need and use often are pencils, crayons, markers, tape, rulers, glue and scissors.

So I’m back to the Expedit cubbies.  I do love them.  These ones are in my son’s bedroom and I have another set of two white ones in my daughter’s room.  I love how you can store stuff in them, but also use the top for display or counter space if needed.


All the paint and paper punches will go in my hall closet.  And the hall closet is screaming for a redo too!  Which I’ve had my wheels spinning about for a while now, but this just pushes it up on the list.





I’ve reorganized this closet a thousand times and it never remains functional.  My son’s dresser may work better in here or maybe some shelving.  So as usual, one thing leads to another and now I’ve got two projects going at once.  Actually three because I need to reorg the kitchen cupboards that will soon be free of craft stuff.  That will probably lead to yet another project and another.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Project Playroom

In the next few months we will be hosting several gatherings, Easter, my daughter’s birthday and First Communion and my son’s birthday.  That’s got me zoning in on refreshing some spaces, namely the playroom.  I gave you a glimpse of it in this post and it’s finally time to tackle it.  There will be a few phases to this project.

Phase One:     Patch and refresh the walls

Phase Two:     The floors

Phase Three:  The details – kid art gallery wall, storage…

Sometimes I find that because I live in my space day in and day out, some things go unnoticed until somebody comes over and I start to notice them with eyes of a visitor and think how embarrassing (ie: my carpets and my walls)!  Or sometimes I don’t notice things because I’m not at that level, like the lower part of my walls.  The other day I was wiping something off the kitchen floor and looked at the wall next to me to discover splats of something all over it.  Yick.

That brings me to the bottom portion of our playroom wall.  It used to have magnet boards for the kids to mess around with, which later became white boards, which then led to the pictures below.






So that is why Phase One is to refresh the walls.  I need to patch the holes from the magnet boards and paint it with a fresh coat of crisp white and 28 inches above the chair rail will become chalkboard, leaving the last third of the wall for the art gallery portion.  And because I’m lazy, I will be leaving the yellow in the top portion as is.

And for as much as I love 3M hooks, don’t let your kids help take them down because this is what will happen.  Please note, they do work perfectly when taken down correctly.  So that’s another couple spackle spots to tackle.


I’ve probably rearranged our playroom at least 10 times.  And I’m hoping to make this next time a more permanent set up.  Hoping.  So today the transformation begins.  I will show you results of Phase One next week, I hope!!!  Wish me luck!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Popcorn, Bags & a Table

Happy Friday, everyone!!  Just a couple fun things to share.  I just spent the afternoon with my sister, the one tearing down the walls at her house.  Anyhow, found out she’s been doing the popcorn in a lunch bag thing for 5 years now!  She said she just puts a pat of butter and some salt right into the bag with the kernels and it seasons the entire bag perfectly.  Yes, your bag will get a bit greasy, but she said it’s not so bad.  So there you go.

My sis agreed to join me on my trip to the Salvation Army this afternoon to drop off 6 bags towards my 40 bags quest.  YAY!  Feels so good to get them out of here! 


I know March is already half over, but don’t worry, I have more than 6 bags to get rid of.  See those bins behind the bags, I just need to sort through them to make sure everything has their pieces and parts before they can go.  So that will probably be at least 3-4 more bags!  Finding all the parts to toys drive me nutso, but I can’t deliver them incomplete if I can help it.

And here are about 3-4 bags worth of stuff that I’m giving to one of my friends. 


So that will get me up to about 14 bags + the bag of socks I threw out Smile + a couple bags of garbage.  I think I’m around 17 bags now.  I may have missed some, only 23 to go.  I actually don’t think the problem is getting 23 more, it’s doing it before Easter.  When you have three growing kids, there are always toys and clothes that need to move on.  Not sure that I’ll make it in time.  We’ll see.

And lastly, when my sis and I dropped the bags, we of course, had to stop in and shop for a minute.  Right when we walked in I knew I was leaving with this table.  I have been looking for a round table to go between my two couches for a while, but most of them were running in the $500 zone.  I scored this baby for $45!  Ain’t she purty? 


There’s a whole lot of brown going on here, so I think I’ll have to do a little whitewashing of some sort.


And I need to touch up the wood chipping on the inlay anyhow.


I was so excited when I found this table.  I literally hugged my sister at least three times throughout our shopping trip.  So fun!  I’ll be sure to share updates a year from now Smile.  Hopefully I will get to it sooner, but you never know with me.  So slow.

Have a super duper St. Patrick’s Day!!! I had dreams of doing all kinds of cool recipes like Guinness brownies or pudding and other fun stuff, but time has gotten the best of me and I’m just sticking with some Lucky Charms, mint chip ice cream, green licorice, green veggies, green mac and cheese.  If you need St. Pat’s ideas, check out my St. Patrick's Day pinboard.  If I can’t try them, I hope you can.  There’s always next year.

Have a fantastic weekend!


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