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!

Monday, August 8, 2011

A little re-org is good for the soul


I had no intention of reorganizing my spice cabinet, but had just been thinking about the unused space in the upper half of the cabinet and just so happened to come across a little shelf organizer while looking for canning jars in Wal-Mart (future post! I’m domestical!) and couldn’t pass up that $5 item.  That’s how it always goes at Wal-Mart and Target for me—I go in for five things and leave with ten.  A friend and I joke that Target has a $50 cover charge; have you ever left for less?  If so, tell me your secret!



Moderately organized, in that like items were grouped together and I knew where everything was.



After a wipe-down.  That outlet is just a pain.



Shelf and all it’s spicy friends moved back into place. Most-used items are to the front and seldom used to the back.  It feels like a better utilization of space yet makes it seem like I have more things.  How about that? Before you ask, I have two balsamic vinegars because I love it that much!  So much that I would marry it if I was single and if you could do that kind of thing. 

This post just took a weird turn.


Bonus: You just got a hint of our mini-kitchen makeover.  Yes, our kitchen is pint-sized and yes, the makeover was small. So many hyphens in this post and probably not all of them used properly!


Happy Monday, ya’ll!