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Monday, October 31, 2011

Meet Some New Blogs

A couple of those blog awards made their way to me last week.  Unfortunately they don't come with prize money!  But I do think they can be a fun way to find new faces. 

This came from Pinkapotamus

I thought her Trick or Treat blocks were really cute

And this one came from my friend Steph (awesome name) at Film Critic's Daughter

She's always got fun commentary on the latest movie she's seen, and she also loves Psych

Instead of making a huge long list of blogs, I decided to just pick a few.  Then you'll be more likely to click on them and check them out.

So, I'll give Versatile to 
Christy Gets Crafty
Messy Mimi
and my friend's blog Portobello Road.  She's also a fellow NW-er

And let's send you off to check out these blogs too for Liebster
Turning Stones
You have to see her Faux Candle Chandelier she made!
And This Girl's Life

And, I can't not mention the holiday, right?  Happy Halloween!

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While You Were Sleeping

Well, while my husband was napping and I stepped into the bathroom.

Asher's defense:  "I was just trying to make a little Halloween ball."

Huh?  At least it's my favorite color, right?

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Junior Mints

Homemade Junior Mints from Taste and Tell

With Halloween right around the corner, I don't exactly need to be making candy right now.  But I saw these on Pinterest the other day, and just couldn't stop thinking about them.  Then I realized I'm making a visit to a friend from church who I haven't seen in a while,  and this would be the perfect little treat for her birthday!

I tossed all the ingredients (powdered sugar, cream cheese and mint flavor) into my Bosch mixer, but since it's not a huge amount of sugar and cream cheese it didn't mix it very well.  I did the best I could with it and then dumped everything into a gallon sized bag and smooshed it by hand.  My 2 year old helped as well.

Here the little mints have all been rolled into small balls and pressed down.  I occasionally sprayed my hands with Pam so they wouldn't get too sticky.

Then I melted down some milk chocolate chips with a tiny bit of oil to help smooth it out.  Each mint was dipped, place back on the mat and when they were all done I left them in the fridge to set up.

Here they are all packaged.  And just like regular Junior Mints they're great super cold :)  I will have to find an excuse soon to try this with orange extract instead of mint.  

(UPDATE--Makes super yummy orange mints!)

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011


One time when my husband and I were first dating we went to his sister's house for dinner and games.  Her youngest son was about 5? 6?  (I can hardly remember my age now, so don't expect me to remember someone else's age a long time ago!)

Anyway, he was playing this game with me where he'd give me a list of things and I had to guess their category.  

One went something like: "This table, my shoe, the clock."  
My guess:  "Thinks in this room?"
"No," he said.  "Miscellaneous!"

Still makes me chuckle :)

That's today's category too.  A few random tips that aren't really substantial enough to stand alone, but also aren't connected.  So here we go.

DISHES....All the plastic kids dishes (raise your hand if you have these from IKEA too!) are stored in one plastic bucket in a lower cabinet.  The kids can reach them, they don't spill out all over a shelf, and I can set it right on the counter for easy unloading from the dishwasher.

PILLOWS...To put pillowcases on really fast and make sure the corners of the pillow are actually down in the pillowcase, I turn the pillowcase inside out first.  I stick both hands in the pillowcase and grab the corners of the pillow.  Then I take one hand out, grab the pillowcase and pull it up over itself.  I then hold the top of the pillowcase, give it a little shake, and the pillow's in! 

MENU...I finally found a use for those whole-month pages in my calendar: I write out my menu plan on them.  I have my daily calendar right there so I can see if there's an evening activity that needs a quick meal or if my day is jam packed with errands and appointments so I won't be in the kitchen.  Plus I'm at least a little more likely to commit to it if I've written it down first.  And if I want a little extra motivation still, I transfer the list to my weekly chalkboard menu made from poster board--then it's visible to my husband as well! 

I guess none of these are earth-shattering, and maybe most people already do them.  I take small steps around here.  Do you have any random tips to share?  I'd love to hear them!  Feel free to leave a blog link as well.

**After posting this, I had a few requests for the Maple Salad listed in the picture above.  So I took some pictures and put the recipe up for you.  Yes, you can thank me.  And I hope you like it!**

Maple Apple Chicken Salad


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Free Box Fun

I'm trying to keep up my momentum of actually trying the fun and cool ideas I see online. 

I saw this and was pretty sure it would be a hit.

I had collected a couple of paper towel rolls when I remembered we had these in the garage.  A big box and corner protectors from the birdcage we recently purchased.

After a few minutes with some scissors and duct tape, I had this.

I had to angle the carboard pieces up a little.  Since they were just right angles, the ball wouldn't stay in them as it rolled from one level to the next (like it would if they were the rounded tube shapes)  

Yep, it's a winner.  (sorry it's sideways--I always forget I have to have my camera the right way up)

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011


"Hey, that's spelled just like escape!"

Little adventures make life exciting, right? 

They seem to be drawn to our middle daughter the last couple of days.

Yesterday, one of her shoes fell off at recess and one boy told another boy to throw it over the fence into someone's back yard.  So he did.  Luckily I was at home so when the office called it was no problem for me to hop in the car and run an extra pair of shoes to her until the missing one could be recovered.  I don't know exactly how they got it back, but I do know the culprit was there with his mom when Meagan was called back down to the office and he said sorry and gave her shoe back.

Then this morning, when we were already running a little late in getting ready for school of course, she and Asher got trapped in the girls' bedroom.  Something broke in the doorknob (even though those doors are only a year and a half old) and they couldn't turn it! The screws for the doorknob are on the inside of the door so I couldn't even take it off.  

Poor Emily was more worried about them than they were.  She even said a prayer that they'd make it out ok.

I went around to the back of the house and talked to Meagan through her window and tried to talk her through opening it, but her fingers just aren't strong enough to pinch the latch open.

Through the whole mess I was also texting my husband who's at a work conference in Chicago.  In the end he suggested prying part of the door jamb away and sliding a screwdriver in the to push the latch in.

It worked, only it snapped and this is what the door looks like now.  Nice, right?  

I then removed the whole doorknob and latch from the door so it can't happen again.

At least the kids got out.  And they weren't late to school, but I had to drive them since they missed the bus. 

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Drawer Pull Hooks

Do you ever hold off doing a project because you don't have the time or budget to do everything you want?

It's normal I think to get a little paralyzed thinking about a whole room redo.  I know I get really intimidated when I see beautiful mood boards that people have put together.  You know, where everything from paint color, a dresser and perfect pillows are picked out before a single dime is spent.  I'd love to build a room that way someday (though I may need some professional help to do it!)

I've found though that sometimes I just have to tackle one small problem that's really bothering me and do something about it.  Like the vanity in the bathroom for example.

Another problem that we needed to address in that room was the towel rod that was barely hanging on.  

It also only held two towels and there are three kids.  Hooray for  the ReStore.  I picked up a bag of these drawer pulls for $2.00, so they were 50c each.

I painted 3 of them black, 2 of them blue and 2 of them pink.
I attached them to two different pieces of scrap wood.

The 3 black ones went in the bathroom for towels. 

The other 4 went into the closet in the girls' room.  Yay--simple solution to another problem!  There's never been a good place to for them to put their coats and backpacks, and this was cheaper than buying a bunch of command hooks since I had all the supplies except the pulls.

Of course it's still on the some-day-list to really makeover these rooms, but for just $2 I'm much happier with 2 separate spaces in our house!


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Friday, October 14, 2011

Me and the Blues

I have a strange relationship with the color blue.

Let's take a look at some of the color combos that caught my eye recently from the blog Design Seeds  I put them all on one of my Pinterest board with ideas of what rooms I might like to decorate in those colors.  Notice any themes?

Laundry room


(Does that word look really funny to anyone else now?)

So, what's the problem you might say?  Well, I seem to love the color blue.  But I don't know how to use it.  I've tried decorating with blue and I struggle.  Let me give you some examples.

Blue wall in our last house (had a blue door to the basement too)

Blue bathroom in this house

Blue "art" in this house (recently painted over, so there's a blank wall again) 

And I honestly haven't loved any of them.

I feel like these lamps were a success at least.

And I think I can wear blue just fine.

 So, what are you suggestions for how to get blues into my house?  Maybe I just need to keep it off my walls is all.  Show me pictures of your blue successes!!  

(want to see all my Pin boards?  click here)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Great Idea for Helping Google Reader Followers

I saw this post the other day from Attempting Aloha and I thought it was a great idea to include a link back to your blog at the end of posts to make it easier for people to click over if they want to.

I figured it can't hurt, and it saves you the trouble of having to scroll back up through your reader to find the title of the post you want and click on it.  We'll see if it's helpful.  I know I'll be watching for it on other blogs now!

(Also, what do you think of the wording I used at the bottom?  Does it seem like I'm begging for comments?  Would you rather just see the blog name hyperlinked?) 

And now for something completely different!
Have you seen this idea floating around on Pinterest?

It's a wedding invitation that's been cut into strips and curled up in an ornament to give back to the couple for their first Christmas.  I thought it looked so cute that I had to do the same for my brother and his wife.  Plus, their invitation had such great colors.  

It won't really be a surprise I guess if they see it here first, but it's not like I came up with the idea either.  Maybe they'll end up getting several of these and get to decorate their whole first Christmas tree with them!

Anyway, I discovered that shiny ornaments are so hard to photograph when you don't know what you're doing (and I don't) but here are a couple of the decent shots I got.

Plus I added their initial and the year in vinyl.  Hopefully they like it--or 10 of them!

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