Thursday, December 29, 2011

Play kitchen

Hello, friends!  I hope everyone has had a great holiday season thus far.  My husband and I were busy working in the garage on some gifts prior to Christmas, so I’m glad for a little reprieve. 

While the hubs was working on a wine rack for his parents, I was ankle deep in sawdust making a kitchen for my boys.  If you’re an Ana White fan, I’m sure you’ve seen these plans in the past, and you’ve likely seen other bloggers with their own version of the project.   I’m here to tell you that any or all of them who said it’s a breeze is full of it.  I had many moments where, if the boys hadn’t been sleeping, I would have been throwing things or at the very least yelling.  Alas, I kept my building rage contained and tried to channel it into finishing the project before the 23rd, which I fortunately did.


Due to budget constraints, I tried to do this project as cheaply as possible, which I think I accomplished.  Most of the wood used in this project was left over from other projects, with the exception of the wood I used to make the oven and sink doors.


For the doors I attached pine 1x2 and 1x4 using pocket holes make via Kreg jig.  This is what a Kreg jig looks like, if you haven’t used one before.  It allows you to attach pieces of wood without having a visible screw or nail. For all other attachment points I used a countersink bit and wood screws, then used wood putty to fill in the hole, sanded and painted to give it a nice seamless finish.  I used a piece of beadboard on the sink door and plexiglass for the oven door.




For the sink basin I used a dog bowl and a faucet leftover from our bathroom redo.  I modeled the stove after ours with a “glass top,” painting the top black and using the same paint from the rest of the project to make the “burners.”  The knobs are from Hobby Lobby and the pulls, hinges and magnetic closes are from Home Depot.  The plexiglass on the oven door is a precut piece from HD as well.   


The boys were really excited to see their kitchen and have had a great time playing with it, which I love, of course—makes all that hard work totally worth it!

Did any of you make your Christmas presents?  If so I would love to see them!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Gobble gobble up those leftovers!

Yeah, yeah I’m a week late, but I haven’t had batteries in my camera to upload these pics, so save this post for your next abundance of leftover meat.

This is a really simple meal I got while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.  I don’t remember the name of the chef who made it, but he was a very attractive Italian chef.  Feel free to name him in the comments if you know who he is.  Smile

What you will need:

  • 1 tube of crescent rolls.  I used store brand reduced-fat.
  • Jarred pesto.  Classico shown here.
  • 1 cup Cubed turkey
  • 2 roma tomatoes.  I removed the seeds and surrounding plasma.
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • A few shakes of Italian seasoning (not pictured).


Preheat your oven to 375*. Unroll the dough and try to keep together as best you can.  Press into the bottom of a greased baking dish. 


Spread the pesto on the dough in a somewhat thin layer.  You want to have enough for flavor, but too much will make your dish soggy.  This is heading towards too much.


Spread your turkey evenly on top of the pesto.


Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella on top of the turkey.


Spread tomatoes evenly over cheese.


Cover the dish with the rest of your cheese.  Sprinkle Italian seasoning on cheese.   Bake at 375* for 15-20 minutes or until crust is brown and cheese is bubbly.


Cut, serve and enjoy!  I cut this into 6 pieces and there was only one left after dinner. This meal was a big hit (except with my 3 year old who is super picky)!  You could easily use leftover chicken if you don’t want to wait until next post-Thanksgiving to make this.  Let me know if you tweak it any other way! 


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Sister is a Bad Influence

She cons me into going antiquing with her, doesn’t buy anything herself but convinces me to buy things. Can you believe that?!   This little lady with those sweet moves?  Looks so innocent, doesn’t she?

dance party

(cropped so as not to show my little mulleted self)

Recently we stopped by a few shops and a little town flea.  Again, the girl didn’t buy a thing, but as soon as I would ponder a purchase she would say, “Oh, you should get that!”  And of course, I did. 


Here are two silver pieces I picked up that needed some love.  I spent almost a whole naptime polishing them, which was strangely enjoyable.  It reminded me of polishing silverware before a sorority function.


Here they are after.  What a difference!  The handle is still tarnished, but that was as good as I could get it. 

Thanks for talking me into buying them, sissy!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Desk Redo

This poor desk has been in progress for EVER! 

Poor desk?!  What about your poor car that’s been stuck in the driveway all summer?

Simmer down, Car, you’ll get your spot back before winter hits.  Hopefully.


Sorry about that.  Not everyone appreciates my procrastination and overscheduling of projects.  Where were we?  Oh, that’s right, the desk.  I bought this desk back when I bought the chest that I re-vamped.  I had so many issues this this thing, but I think it turned out cute anyway.  I didn’t plan on keeping it as we have limited space, so I decided to paint it pink and send it back to Craigslist where I found it.  Hopefully it makes it’s way into a little girl’s room somewhere!

April 003





Cute, huh? 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Today’s Activities and Excuses

Our street has been torn up for about two weeks now in an effort to repave.  First with the grinding down of the old street, days dealing with tar and chip {and dust and dust and dust}, a few days of the first layer and the final layer being laid down today.  Thankfully I think today’s activities have completed the project.  Maybe.  Hopefully. 

As such, it’s been a dirty, stinky mess outside and I have painting projects sitting in the garage that have lost all patience with me.   Or maybe I’ve just become ambivalent or lazy.  Probably the latter.  I mean, they were out there before this project started, so I’m really blaming the road crews for my inactivity, even though it’s slightly legit.  2 legit to quit!

Here are some shots I took this morning.  I was trying to be sneaky so some are taken from behind a storm door or screened window.  Gosh my life is lame.


Just ‘laxin.


This fella was hard at work trying to smooth out a seam.  Oh, I forgot to tell you that construction stopped right in front of my house yesterday.  Lovely.  There were many people trying to make the transition a seamless one, but I have a feeling there may be issues that arise as it still isn’t fully blended despite many a pass by the steamroller.


Speaking of which, this is what we started with with  morning.  The pile of scrap is still sitting on our devil’s strip {that’s what it’s called, right?}  Wonder if someone plans to pick that up…


Two steamrollers!  That generated a lot of excitement in my toddler.

018 edit

My mailbox was quaking in its boots but remained unscathed.

Even though we were mildly inconvenienced over the past week or two, we’re excited to have a fresh new street that looks great and is smooth to drive on.  The guys doing the work really busted their humps, working from very early in the morning {I heard the first truck this morning at 6:46 a.m.!} into the evening and they even worked on Saturdays!

Off to think about those painting projects!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pinterest challenge

Do you Pinterest?  Are you as obsessed as me? If so, maybe you have found yourself pinning like crazy yet doing nothing with your pins.  I certainly did, so I challenged myself to cook 5 meals I pinned in one week.  I was too busy eating to take pictures of all my meals {alright, I forgot}, so some of the following are not my doing.  Also, I typically work part-time and that week I had to work full-time so my goal ended up being overly ambitious.  I don’t know how full-time working mamas do it all!  Find the full recipes by clicking on the recipe title or the picture provided.

Day 1

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps

Verdict: Tasty!  I followed the recipe, omitting sour cream.  Next time I would also leave out the green onions.  They weren’t too my liking and I didn’t think they were necessary.

Day 2

Day 1’s leftovers.  Smile 

I was tired after a long day’s work!

Day 3

Balsamic Caprese Panini


Verdict: Fast and simple to make, delish to eat!  Even better was the fact that the tomatoes and basil were straight from my garden, so it was inexpensive to boot.  I forgot to take a picture until after I had taken a few bites.  I would apologize for the pic, but heck people, this is real life! Smile

Day 4 & 5

Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Pasta 


Verdict: Blah.  I followed the directions to a T, yet my sauce clumped once it cooled.  Besides that, I thought the flavor was very one-dimensional.  Cooked onions would have been a nice addition, as would have extra pepper.

Day 6 & 7

Fragrant Shredded Beef Stew

Verdict: Tasty, but not enough liquid for a soup/stew.  Really, after it was done it was more like a pot roast with just enough liquid left to make gravy.  We actually ended up using the tortillas left over from Day 1 to make wraps with the beef.  If you want it to be a stew you would need at least one if not two more cups of liquid.


So there you have it.  A week’s worth of pinned meals to make me feel better about my Pinterest obsession.  Now if I could only muster up the gumption to start crafting…

Monday, August 22, 2011

What one can of spray paint can yield

Having just finished off a can of white spray paint, I thought I would show you all that I did with just the ONE can of paint (plus primer, but you get the idea).  I used Rustoleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover 2x in Gloss White.  It was less than $3 at Home Depot—can’t beat that!


My first project was the “Gaudy to Mod-y” chest makeover.  Hard to believe there was any paint left over after covering that beast!  It’s almost four feet long!


Then I found an old mirror in the basement and gave it a facelift as well.


Next I sprayed some little frames that were leftover favors from my wedding shower.



And for the coup de grace, a simple redo of a cheapo Wal-Mart picture frame.  It was just $5, and while I’m a huge Steelers fan, the black and gold wasn’t working for me here.  I wanted something simple that wouldn’t take away from the colorful print.


Before                                                                       After

{Print by Rick Loudermilk}

Not too shabby for a little can of spray paint, eh?  What’s the most you’ve ever gotten out of one can?

Friday, August 12, 2011

We’re Jammin’

And I hope you like jammin’ too.

But guess what?  This post isn’t just about a little Marley to ease you into your weekend, it is actually about jam, the stuff you put on toast or PB & J.  I simply followed the recipe in the Sure-Jell package to make Strawberry Freezer Jam.


  • 2 cups crushed strawberries (buy 1 qt. fully ripe strawberries)
  • 4 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 box SURE.JELL Fruit Pectin

Start by cleaning your berries {yes, I sanitized my sink before tossing in the strawberries} and the jars in which you will store your end product.  I used 8 oz. glass Ball jars that are freezer safe.


Remove the stems and any bad spots from the berries, cut into smaller pieces and chop in food processor.  You don’t want to totally puree, but leave small chunks of berries.  You will need two cups of mushed berries per package of Sure-Jell.


Put your two cups of decimated berries in a bowl and add *gasp* four cups of granulated white sugar.


The excitement is mounting!


Mix strawberry and sugar mixture well and let sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Meanwhile, bring pectin and 3/4 cup of water to boil, stirring constantly.  Boil for one minute, continuing to stir {I used a whisk to de-lump the pectin}.  Add pectin to strawberry mixture and stir for three minutes.  Most of the sugar should be dissolved.


Pour immediately into your containers, using a canning funnel.  Fill, leaving at least 1/2” of space for expansion.  Make sure the tops of your containers are clean, wiping any sloppiness before putting on your lids.  Let rest at room temperature for 24 hours, then freeze.  I left out one jar for immediate consumption.  With a spoon.  It can stay in the fridge for three weeks.


This is a fairly simple process that if I can do, you can do too.  And let me tell you, the end results are worth it! Sugarygoodness!

Oh, I even had some crushed strawberries left over, so I mixed them with a container of banana crème yogurt and the boys had an exciting dessert after dinner.  Yes, that IS excitement for toddlers!


Go get jammin’!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

LightER Chicken and Noodles

{I mean, how LIGHT can chicken and noodles get?}

I adapted this recipe from one that has been repinned 27 trillion times on Pinterest, because you know, I didn’t have everything that the original recipe called for.  Imagine that.  Smile 

You can find the original recipe for what was pinned as “Crockpot Chicken Spaghetti” here, though the blog author called it “Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti.”  Indeed, the only place a crockpot was mentioned was in the comments section.  Some changes I made were to omit the Velveeta and use less butter and cheese.  Like I said, lightER not necessarily light. *wink*

Now for my version.

  • 1 lb of chicken – I used tenders
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Mrs. Dash original
  • 1 lb of egg noodles
  • 2 Tbsp white or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
  • 4 Tbsp or 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1 can of Cream of Chicken soup
  • 1 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese

Place chicken in a crock pot with chicken broth OR two bullion cubes dissolved in two cups hot water. Sprinkle with Mrs. Dash.  Set slow cooker to low and cook until your chicken is falling apart, about 5 hours.

Once chicken is done, cook noodles according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in saucepan or skillet, melt butter and cook onions and celery until translucent to slightly browned.  Remove from pan and set aside.  In same pan {to save from too many pans, because I’m lazy like that} stir together the liquid in which the chicken cooked and the Cream of Chicken soup until there are no lumps and the mixture is heated through. 

Pre-heat broiler. Mix all cooked ingredients well and spread evenly in casserole dish.  Sprinkle cheese over top and place under broiler for five minutes, or until cheese has browned.  Allow to cool for a few moments and then enjoy!  This was so good, my hubby said it was a “make two times a week meal.”

Happy Friday!