Friday, November 11, 2011

Yeah, we have fun in the kitchen

 
   "Look at me! I'm Cthulhu!"
       picture taken Feb 2010

Monday, November 7, 2011

Greener Swiffer Update

I've been meaning to post this for a few weeks now...

I wrote a post last month about how I made my Swiffer Wet Jet greener. It turned out really cool, and worked really well that day. I was so excited!

Until I got it out a week later and all of the vinegar was gone! I don't know if it leaked out because the seal wasn't as tight, or because there were two sets of holes poked into the container, or because having it in the laundry room evaporated all of the vinegar. (The last one is the least likely though because I've always kept my Wet Jet in the laundry room, and the Swiffer solution never evaporated.)

So I don't know if I will get around to Part 2. I was going to make reusable mop pads out of microfiber or something... but I may just have to buy one of these instead. Boo...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Saving Money on Bills


Did you know there is a very easy way to save money on your month to month bills? I saved this from my deleted blog. Originally written on April 16, 2010.
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I'm very excited to share this with you!!

Eric and I pretty much live on bare minimum. We do, however, NEED cell phones, internet, and (very) basic cable. (I'm the one who needs the tv... Eric probably wouldn't even care if we had it or not.)

A few weeks ago I called our cable and internet provider because even though we are pretty much on the cheapest plan available, I wanted to see if I could save some more money. We are paying $9.99/month for basic cable, already discounted from $17.99/mo due to a promotion that was going on during the switch to digital tv. BUT we were paying $44.99 for our internet, which to me is crazy. I found out we weren't on the cheapest internet plan so I talked to Eric about cutting back. He wasn't willing to downgrade on speed though because he is a gamer/ we watch movies online/ whatever. I called our provider and after talking to one person for less than five minutes, I found out they had a special going on: The same internet we currently have for $29.99/mo.

Total cable and internet savings: $23/ mo

Today I called our cell phone service provider to do the same thing. We're currently on a 550 minute family plan for $59.99/mo and have 1000 text messages for $10/mo per line. That equals $79.99/ mo total (not including fees and taxes which somehow adds another $16/mo onto our bill.) The first person I talked to said he could save me money by going to unlimited text messages... and it will only cost a few dollars more a month than I already spend. He wasn't quite understanding my reason for calling. Then he told me that I already have the cheapest plan: 550 shared minutes for $59.99/mo. In fact, they didn't even offer that plan anymore. The cheapest plan now is 700 shared minutes for $69.99/mo. I asked him if I could talk to the customer retention department. He happily transferred me and after several more minutes the representative had lowered the text message part of the bill to $7.50/mo per line while increasing us to unlimited text messages! He said it was an old promo code that his department has access to. Then after several more minutes he found he was able to decrease the amount I was paying for the base plan to $49.99/mo while keeping our plan the same. The only catch was that I had to increase our contract by two years starting today, so instead of our contract being over in July 2011, it ends in April 2012. Which is fine by me because...

Total cell phone savings: $15/mo

Exciting right?!

Total savings a year on internet, cable, and cell phone service because I took a little time out of my day and made a couple of calls: $456

P.S. A while back I realized I was paying a crazy amount for electricity. I did a little digging and found that our current contract for a lower price had ended, and instead of letting me know our electricity provider raised our prices. I signed into our account online and within minutes had committed to a two year contract, thus lowering our price of electricity.


If anyone out there has tips for saving money on bills (or anything else), please share in the comments section!



photo source

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Parfait


Serve in 12 Mini Cordials/Parfaits. (I served in 12 Mini Bowls.)
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 ½ cups finely crushed chocolate wafers or graham crackers (I used chocolate Teddy Grahams)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips (I used mini chocolate chips)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped peanuts
  • ½ cup chocolate syrup
  • 1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened (I used "1/3 less fat" cream cheese)
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 8 oz-container whipped topping or fresh-made whipping cream (I used Cool Whip)
  • Chocolate shavings or chopped nuts for garnish, optional (I used Cool Whip, chopped peanuts, and mini chocolate chips for garnish.)
Combine melted butter, honey and crushed wafers in a mixing bowl. Fill each glass with one heaping teaspoon of wafer mixture, about a ½”, pack down slightly.
Add a few chocolate chips and some chopped peanuts on top of the cookie crumbs. Drizzle with the chocolate syrup.
In a bowl, combine cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar, milk and vanilla, mix together until well-blended. Gently fold in whipped topping or whipped cream. Carefully spoon mixture into glasses. (I actually spooned the mixture into a baggie, cut the corner out, and piped it into the glasses.)
Garnish with chocolate shavings or add another drizzle of chocolate syrup and some chopped peanuts. Refrigerate a couple of hours until set.

Eric and I bought these little "tasting party" dishes at Pier 1 for fun one day. I especially love the little spoons! We went to pier1.com and found this recipe, along with a few other recipes I pinned on Pinterest.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Lucky Us

My mom's birthday was last month, and I wanted to make something kind of sentimental. I scrolled through my Pinterest boards and found something right away... Except I knew I wanted to make it in a picture frame instead of a key chain.


The first two pennies are from the years my parents were born. The one with the heart is the year they were married. And the last three pennies are from the years my sisters and I were born.
I spent a long time fiddling with the paper in the frame, and I'm still not convinced that I love it. I hot glued the pennies onto the paper, so hopefully they stay put. Oh, and I shined the pennies a little by letting them soak in Coke for a few hours... and then scrubbing them with a baking soda paste.

Craft inspired by a picture from Pinterest

Friday, October 7, 2011

Chunky Vegetable Soup

I went to the grocery store the other day and got a ton of vegetables. I don't really know what I was thinking because there are only two of us. Esp celery... We NEVER finish all of the celery. So, in an effort to cook something healthy and use up some of the vegetables, I re-found this recipe on my Pinterest boards. It's not really cool enough outside for soup yet, but I made it anyway. Take that, Texas Fall! Next time, I would add more noodles... and Eric would take them out all together. So I guess it depends who makes it on how it turns out next time. Also, I used a huge onion and it was ALMOST too much. If you don't love onion watch out on how much you use. 


Chunky Vegetable Soup
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
2 stalks of celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
2 x cans of chopped tomatoes (14oz)
1 1/2 litres of water
2-3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 cup of pasta (we used bow tie because we had an open box of it)
In a large sauce pan over medium heat add the oil, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme and salt and pepper and cook until just soft. Add the tomatoes, water, and bouillon and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the pasta and cook for another 8-10 min.

I adapted this recipe from butterflyfoodie.blogspot.com via Pinterest

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Unwanted Gift Cards?

Did you know there are ways to sell or trade in your unwanted gift cards? This is a post I was able to save from my deleted blog. Originally written on May 19, 2010.
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I found this through $5 Dinners, and I'm so glad I did!

 

Eric and I had $50 in Starbucks gift cards, and we've had some of the cards as long as 4 years! We don't go to Starbucks... We don't even drink coffee. (Well, Eric sort of does... and I know they offer more than just coffee at Starbucks.) So I figured I could trade the unused gift cards for money we can use!

The minimum card limit that Gift Card Rescue takes is $15. (Two of our cards were $15 and two were only $10. But that was okay with Eric because he figures he's going to go to Starbucks one day and use those cards.) It's really simple. It only takes a few minutes. It's awesome!

We opted for the Amazon gift card because you get a little more than if you want cash back. (But you can get a check in the mail too.) Eric has an Amazon Kindle, and we figured we could find something we need on Amazon.com.

They suggest you get insurance or tracking on the gift cards you send them, but I decided it wasn't worth spending $12 since they were gift cards that had been sitting there unused for so long. Also, we were only getting $25.20 back so I didn't want to spend half of that by insuring my envelope.

I just got an email with an Amazon gift card code, and Eric has already applied it to his account.

Easy peasy, and a free $25.20!


Photo source:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Step 1 to a Greener Swiffer Wet Jet

I love my Swiffer Wet Jet. But I hate how much the solution costs, and I hate that if my dog licks the wet floor... she gets the runs.  =/  TMI?  And I clean everywhere else in my house with green cleaners... So why do I still mop with chemicals?

There's a new mop out like the Swiffer Wet Jet but you can put your own cleaning solution in it. I almost bought one, but then I remembered we're poor. And I realized that throwing out a perfectly good mop for a new one isn't exactly "green." So, I went to the internet and googled to try and figure out a way to put my green cleaner into the Swiffer since there's no easy way to just screw the cap off. There are a ton of ways including drilling a hole and adding a washer and a plug and blah, blah, blah. Then I found a super easy way! I "pinned" the idea and waited until my Swiffer solution ran out.



All you have to do is boil the bottle to soften the plastic teeth around the cap. Our hot water at this apartment is super hot, so Eric suggested just holding the solution bottle under the water to see if it was hot enough to soften the plastic without having to boil water. After about a minute of holding it under the hot water, I tried to twist the top off. Nothing. I had Eric try and he got it! Yay! It also suggests to cut the little plastic teeth off so next time you don't have to soften the plastic... but I figured that was more trouble than it's worth. Esp since just holding it under hot water did the trick for me.

After I had the top off, I rinsed it out really well and peeled the labels off. I wrote on the bottle just because I wanted to. And so Eric knows how to fill it up if he ever wants to. I just filled it halfway with distilled white vinegar and the rest of the way with water. Then I added about 15 drops of lavender essential oil.

After less than 5 minutes of work, I now have a cheap, healthy cleaning solution in my Swiffer Wet Jet.

*UPDATE* Well, this didn't turn out as cool as I'd hoped. If you have a better experience let me know. All of my vinegar solution leaked out within a week.

I found this at lifehacker.com via Pinterest

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Green Cleaning

aka Safe Cleaning

I wrote this on August 30, 2009, and I found to share again. A few notes:
1. I think I have the same bottle of lavender essential oil, and I still use it to clean all the time! Well, maybe I've bought two?
2. The liquid soap I use is the blue Dawn dish soap. It does an AMAZING job against soap scum and other grime.
3. Once a month (or every other month) I clean with bleach and other harsh chemicals. But every other time I use these recipes for a safer clean. (Except when I have raw meat in the kitchen. To be safe, I clean up after that with a bleach spray.)
4. I use the Cleaning Spray to clean counter tops, stove, refrigerator, and windows. I use the Cleaning Frosting to clean the kitchen and bathroom sinks and the bathtub. I Steam Clean my microwave the same way I did when I wrote this post. I haven't tried the Green Carpet Spot Remover again... but I haven't had any stains to clean up... Or I would have. I'm most lazy when it comes to green cleaning the toilet. Most of the time I still use commercial toilet cleaner with bleach.
5. I edited it today to add the Dryer Spray and Mop Solution.

I still LOVE all of these cleaning products! They are cheap, healthy, and do a great job keeping my home clean!
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Yesterday we cleaned our apartment. I've been reading a lot lately on the toxins and 'bad stuff' in household cleaning products. (You can get pretty much any book on green cleaning or look it up online, and it will tell you what I'm talking about.)

I made a bunch of green cleaning concoctions yesterday. I'm SO happy with them I'm going to give you the recipes. =)

First I took a spray bottle and added distilled white vinegar. I know what you're thinking. Vinegar? To clean? Yep. It's high level of acidity kills most germs, bacteria, and even mold! It stinks though so I added lavender essential oil, which besides smelling good is an antiseptic and an anti-fungal. I used this to wipe down my counters and fridge. (And the inside of my trash can.)

Cleaning Spray
a spray bottle full of distilled white vinegar
15 drops lavender essential oil

Mix ingredients in a spray bottle by swirling the bottle. This will save for a long time if you keep in a cool, dark place.


I know it's a tiny bottle! And it's $6. But I went to Hobby Lobby and used a 40% off coupon. Plus it will last me a long time.

I also filled up another spray bottle with water and vinegar for wiping down counters and to use instead of a dryer sheet. I read that you can soak a wash rag with vinegar and hair conditioner to make your own dryer sheets. I did this awhile but I hated that my hands always got gross wringing out the rag before I tossed it in the dryer. Plus I didn't want to have to keep buying conditioner. (Not even the cheap stuff!) So I tried spraying about 10 squirts of the vinegar/ water into the dryer onto the wet clothes before turning the dryer on. It does a great job as anti-static and fabric softener.

Dryer Spray
1 part distilled white vinegar
3 parts water 

I also mop with vinegar and lavender. 

Mop Solution
1 part water
1 part distilled white vinegar
15 drops lavender essential oil
 
Next I made a carpet stain cleaner. I made it up, dumped some on the stains, rubbed it in with my fingers for thirty seconds, and left it to sit for 2 hours. I came back and was really worried that I should have 'tested it in an inconspicuous place' to make sure it didn't harm my carpet. The whole wet spot was dark, and I was scared I had made the stains worse. I got a towel and pressed it on the spot to dry up the solution. The more I pressed, the more came up in the towel! Once it was completely dry, I vacuumed over the spot to make sure I had gotten everything. I WISH I WOULD HAVE TAKEN A BEFORE PICTURE. Oh well. The stains are gone. Would you like the recipe?

Green Carpet Spot Remover
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon salt

Stir in the salt until it has dissolved.


Then I decided to clean the dreaded (disgusting) microwave. I'd put this off longer than I should have because you can't use chemicals in the microwave, so I used to just scrub and scrub and scrub with water. But no more! I made this solution, microwaved it on high in a glass bowl for 5 minutes, waited for the bowl to cool down before I moved it, dipped a cleaning cloth in some of the solution, and WIPED the microwave clean! Then I wiped it down with some clean water. Amazing!

Steam Clean Your Microwave
1 cup water
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

Stir both ingredients into a microwave safe bowl.

This another TRULY amazing product. It was time to wash the bathtub. This is the one I was sure I would have to use more elbow grease than I would if I used something with bleach in it. (And I had to use a lot of elbow grease with bleach!) I turned the water on long enough to get the bathtub wet, put the cleaning 'frosting' on a washcloth, and easily scrubbed the soap scum and other grime away. I was so shocked! Then I rinsed.

Cleaning Frosting
1/2 cup baking soda
2 to 3 tablespoons castile soap or liquid detergent
15 drops lavender essential oil

Pour the baking soda into a bowl. Slowly add soap, mixing with a fork until you reach the consistency of frosting. Mix in lavender essential oil.
FYI: This keeps for a long time. It dries out a little but still does a great job cleaning.


Two staples for cooking or cleaning!


Last but not least, Fizzy Toilet Scrub.
1 tablespoon castile or liquid soap
1/3 cup baking soda
1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
8 drops lavender essential oil

Squirt soap into toilet, douse with baking soda, drop lavender oil, and pour in vinegar. Let it fizz for 2 to 3 minutes and then scrub and flush.

So I know this was A LONG post. But wasn't it worth it? Do you have any secrets on keeping a clean house without using harsh chemicals? Please share!

Friday, September 30, 2011

September is Whole Grains Month

Did you know that September is Whole Grains Month? I write in a monthly newsletter for daycare providers, mostly about nutrition, so I decided to write a short and (hopefully) easy to understand article about whole grains. I wanted to share it here too.
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When I found out that September is Whole Grains Month, I decided I should look into what being “whole grain” means. You always hear that eating whole grain bread is healthier than eating white bread, but why? I also learned a lot about finding whole grain foods at the grocery store.

Whole grains (like whole wheat flour) contain cereal germ, endosperm, and bran.
Refined grains (like white flour) only contain the part of the grain called the endosperm.










Common whole grain products:
-whole wheat bread
-whole wheat flour
-whole wheat pasta
-brown rice
-rolled oats
-quinoa
-popcorn

Common refined grain products:
-white bread
-white flour
-pasta (non-whole wheat varieties)
-white rice
  
According to Michael Pollan the germ contributes “some of the most valuable nutrients to the flour, including much of its protein, folic acid, and other B vitamins.” But once the grain is crushed during the milling process, the germ releases a nutrient rich oil that gives the flour a short shelf life. So in the 1800s rollers were invented that could take the germ out of the grain and leave the endosperm, which is good for the manufacturers and others who want flour to have a very long shelf life, but bad for consumers who don’t want what’s left over: refined flour that is high in calories and low in nutrients.

Whole grain foods have many health benefits because they contain things like antioxidants, B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron, and fiber. In 2002 a study was conducted that said that eating whole grain foods instead of refined grains can be a way to reduce risk factors for type II diabetes. Eating whole grains has also been linked to decreased risk factors for heart disease, stroke, cancer, and obesity.

Sometimes, buying whole grain foods can be confusing if you don’t know what to look for. Whole grain foods and multi-grain foods are not the same thing. Multi-grain means that more than one type of grain is used in the food, like wheat and oats or wheat and corn. “Multi-grain” has nothing to do with whether or not it’s “whole grain.” Also, “wheat bread” is not the same thing as “whole wheat bread.” Be sure to look for the words “whole wheat flour” or “wholegrain wheat flour” on the package for the healthiest flour options.

One way manufacturers try to trick you is by putting a label on their package that says “made with whole grains” or “made with whole grain ingredients.” This just means that part of the grains or flour used is whole grain. If you want 100% whole grain bread, be sure you see the words “100% whole grain.” Another way they try to trick you is by coloring their breads brown with molasses or caramel coloring. So just because you see brown bread on the shelf at the grocery store, doesn’t mean you’re getting whole wheat bread!

I learned these things from wholegrainscouncil.org, wikipedia.org, and 100daysofrealfood.com.
You can go to these websites to find out more about whole grains including recipes to try.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Whole Wheat Strawberry Banana Muffins

I love muffins! I especially love that you can freeze them, and have fresh muffins for weeks! (I pull one out of the freezer in the morning and microwave it for about a minute.)

I found this recipe on Pinterest (of course) and followed a few changes that I found in the reviews section to make it healthier... but still yummy!

While I'm already talking about Pinterest... I have 376 pins now! Crazy! And I spent over an hour adding a couple of new boards and reorganizing my pins. I separated "Crafty" and "DIY", and I separated "Eats" and "Sweets." I just had too many recipes and crafts! I'm still trying to decide if things like muffins should go onto the Eats board or the Sweets board. Right now they're in Sweets because that's where all my other baking recipes are. They'll probably stay there. If you haven't been to Pinterest yet, you should check it out!



Whole Wheat Strawberry Banana Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries, thawed and mashed

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 18 muffin cups.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, applesauce, brown sugar, and bananas. Combine the flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg; Stir into the banana mixture until moistened. Stir in the strawberries until evenly distributed. Spoon batter into muffin cups.
  3. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when pressed lightly. Cool before removing from the muffin tins. 

Notes

1. I lined my muffin tins, but I suggest you grease them instead. These muffins really stuck to the liners so I ended up with too much muffin stuck to the paper and not enough in my mouth!
2. I took a heaping cup of frozen strawberries, put them in a microwavable bowl, and microwaved for about 40 seconds. Then I took our pastry blender and mashed them up. I probably ended up with about 3/4 cup mashed strawberries.
3. I used 1/2 Tablespoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg. Next time I'll double it. I changed the recipe to reflect the change.
4. If you want a sweeter muffin, you should follow the recipe and add 3/4 cup brown sugar. 1/2 cup is sweet enough for me for a breakfast muffin.
5. I made 20 muffins, but I suggest making 18 instead. A few ended up pretty small. (Especially since so much stuck to the paper liners! Can you tell I'm really upset about that?)


I found (and adapted) this recipe from allrecipes.com via Pinterest

Saturday, September 24, 2011

S'more Cookies

Back again with another cookie recipe! I found this idea on Pinterest. I love cookies, and I love s'mores. When I found this, I just had to try it.



I actually cheated and paid the price. I used my favorite chocolate chip recipe as the base, and changed it a little to make them s'mores. Last time I made chocolate chip cookies I divided the dough in half before I added the chocolate chips. To one half I added a cup of chocolate chips, which is my regular choc chip recipe. Then I scooped the dough and froze. To the other half I added a little more than 1/4 cup of chocolate chips and a little over 1/2 cup of marshmallows. I scooped the dough onto graham crackers, baked 6 minutes, took out to add the Hershey's bars, and baked for another 7 minutes.



They didn't turn out quite like I'd hoped. For some reason my version of s'mores cookies had edges that tasted like toffee, and the marshmallows didn't turn out the same as in my Pinterest inspiration. I think it's because my chocolate chip recipe uses a lot of brown sugar?? They still tasted really good, but not as s'more-like as I hoped. I guess next time I should follow the recipe exactly from The Girl Who Ate Everything. If you try it before I do, let me know how they turn out!


I got the idea for this recipe from: Pinterest

Friday, September 23, 2011

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are my absolute favorite chocolate chip cookies. When I make these I bake about a dozen and then freeze the rest of the dough for later. There is nothing worse than stale homemade cookies. I scoop the dough balls onto wax paper into plastic containers that I keep in the freezer. The next time I want fresh chocolate chip cookies, I just take a few dough balls out of the freezer and put them straight onto the pan. Then I bake them in our toaster over for a few minutes longer than the directions say since they're going into the oven frozen.

I usually make these cookies exactly like the recipe. But sometimes I add pecans to the mix... I use less chocolate chips if I do.




Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe source: Alton Brown via Joy the Baker

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
(pecans if desired)
 

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Melt the butter.
Mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
Pour the melted butter into a big bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream it on medium speed.
Add the egg, yolk, milk, and vanilla and mix until well combined.
Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined.
Stir in chocolate chips (and pecans if desired).
Chill the dough for at least an hour, then scoop onto baking sheets, and bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool completely and store in an airtight container.


Monday, September 19, 2011

DIY Dry Erase Board with Paint Chips

It's been over a month since I said I wanted to try to make 2 pinned items from Pinterest a month. With moving, settling in, and a death in the family... I got a little behind. In fact, I made this dry erase board back in August but didn't even snap a picture until this month. And now I'm finally getting around to blogging about it. So does that mean this craft gets counted for August or September? And to make things even more confusing... This is kind of three crafts in one.


Craft #1: I bought this frame 50% off at Hobby Lobby. First I drew lines on it with a permanent marker to make a calendar. I didn't love the results because it just wasn't colorful enough. Then I pinned a dry erase board made with paint chips. So I went to the hardware store and picked up some paint chips. 35 to be exact. I got home and spent like an hour trying to get the permanent marker off, with great success. I lined up the paint chips and taped them all together. (I should have done that in the first place because it is really hard to draw straight lines with a permanent marker on a piece of glass... And it was really hard to get it off when I decided I didn't like it.)
Craft #2: I added the little "I love you because" which is an idea from another pin. Eric and I take turns writing there. He only does it because I make him. Lol
Craft #3: I made little die-cut 'stickers' to mark birthdays and holidays. I used my mom's Cricut machine and then laminated them. So fun and colorful!

I love how there is extra room on the left side for writing notes and leaving sticky note shopping lists. The reason the lists are on sticky notes instead of written with dry erase marker is so I can take the lists with me.

(I really wish I was capable of taking better pictures than this. Part of the problem is our extremely dark lighting conditions.)

So do you think this should count as one craft or three? I did do all three parts on different days. I love, love, love how it turned out.


I got the ideas for this craft from:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My DIY Fate?

A friend of mine had this on her Facebook. I think it's hilariously funny, and it's what happens to me sometimes when I try to DIY.




In an effort to economize, Lucy makes a dress and gives herself a permanent.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mushroom Veggie Burger

I looked up National Food Holidays because I was curious and found out that September is National Mushroom Month! So to celebrate I bought half of a pound of mushrooms at the grocery store. Of course I bought the mushrooms before I even knew what I wanted to make, so I ended up having to third the recipe I found. I just googled “mushroom recipe” and found a ton of recipes. Isn’t the internet great? These turned out so, so good. But I think next time I will chop the mushrooms much smaller to see if I can make it more like a hamburger. I will definitely be making these again, and I’ll be sure to plan ahead so I have hamburger buns. Although, these mushroom burgers were good bun-less too.


Mushroom Veggie Burger
Makes 2 burgers
Recipe adapted from Food Wishes
 
olive oil
1/2 lb of mushrooms, chopped
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 big clove of garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
salt
pepper
1 egg, beaten

Sauté mushrooms, onion, and garlic with salt in olive oil over medium heat. After a few minutes, add Italian seasoning. Once all the liquid dries up, move mushrooms to a bowl and add rolled oats, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Mix everything together, and then add the egg. Mix until combined, and let sit for at least 15 minutes so the dry ingredients can soak up the wet ingredients. (You could even cover and put in the fridge for the next day.) Put a little oil or water on your hands, and shape mixture into patties. Add a little olive oil to your pan and fry patties until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Serve just like you would serve a burger.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Jewelry Exchange

Before we moved I went through our stuff to get rid of things I don't use so we didn't have to move them. I had A LOT of jewelry I didn't wear anymore, and I hate filling the landfill with things other people can use, so I started thinking of people I could give it to. Then I had the GENIUS idea to get together with my sisters so we could trade unworn jewelry. The idea grew and we ended up inviting our mom, grandma, and aunts for a Kath women jewelry trade. It was such a fun thing to do! My mom hosted and served chicken salad sandwiches. Very last minute I realized we'd need something to set everything on, so I got out some of my mom's dessert plates... Could have looked cooler if I would have taken more time and thought of it earlier, but it was still fun. This picture is just the earrings. The whole dining room table was filled with necklaces, bracelets, watches, and even anklets and some hair accessories.

Somehow this post turned into how easy editing photos can be... again... I'm just so shocked at how easy it is. The first picture is unedited, and the second is edited in GIMP 2.6. All I did was "colors", "levels", and "auto" just like I've done before. Not a HUGE difference but so, so simple. You can tell in the 'after' picture that the plates are much whiter.