Thursday, February 28, 2013

Party of 4, Please

I've had a sign an top of the kitchen cabinets for years now. It was time for a change.  If I had a Silhouette, I would have pulled it out and whipped out some vinyl, to do this project quickly. But you know what? It wouldn't have turned out quite the same.  Don't get me wrong! A Silhouette is still on the top of my wish list!
Last week, when I was painting and touching up some furniture, I also painted that brown sign my favorite creamy white, December Starlight.  I laid the sign down on two small paint cans so I could paint it easily on the sides.

When the kiddos went to bed, I played around with some fonts on the computer and printed out my saying. I laid it out to get the placement right.  And if you're wondering, yes, that P does look like it's too far away.  I didn't notice it until the project was done...I blame it on the DayQuil.
To get the letters traced on the wood there are probably a number of ways you could do this. Here's how I did it. I traced the letters on the back side of the papers (put a piece of paper underneath or the ink will be on your table), flipped them over and set them right side up on the sign. Then I traced them on the right side. The pencil on the reverse side of the paper will transfer to the wood. In the photo below, I had already gone back and traced the letters with my Sharpie.
Then start filling them in. I didn't worry about it being perfect because I wanted to distress it later
Now the fun part. I just took my good ol' sanding block and sanded away. The result is exactly what I had in mind. Kind of rough and faded looking. Love it! And it was free! It doesn't get better than that!
Here it is hanging above the kitchen windows in our 'breakfast nook'.  I had a picture of the whole area but it's so cloudy and it just didn't quite turn out.
This project was so easy and fun that I can already see a few more of these in my future!
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Slow Cooker Barbacoa

Today it's cloudy...again...and I'm finishing up a couple of projects. One of them involves digging out my closet.  Why is my closet a black hole? Time to get it in order. 

So, knowing that I would be working on a few projects this week, I wanted to make a slow-cooker dinner last night that we can use a few different ways throughout the week.  Enter my barbacoa recipe.
Slow Cooker Barbacoa
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
6 garlic cloves
4 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cloves
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup chicken broth
3-4 lb roast, trimmed of fat
If you have time to sear the meat with a bit of olive oil in a frying pan, go for it. If not (I usually don't), skip it.
Add all ingredients, minus meat, to slow cooker. Give a quick stir. Cut your roast into 3 or 4 chunks and add to the pot. Add enough water to just cover the meat. Cook on low for 6 hours. about 20 minutes or so before you are ready to eat, shred the beef and add it back to the slow cooker.
I like to make a rice bowl with rice (add cilantro and a bit of lime juice to your pot of rice when it is cooking), seasoned black beans, barbacoa, homemade salsa, a bit of sour cream and cheese. Everyone else here makes burritos.  We will use the meat to make nachos later this week and then we will freeze the rest until we need it.

You've got to love a recipe that will take you through a few meals like this one will!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Clean It: DIY Grout Cleaner

Let's talk about something gross. The grout on my kitchen floor.

I clean. I'm a clean person. How does this happen? I am not a fan of tile flooring.
I AM a fan of finding ways to make great cleaning products myself.  Did you know that cream of tartar has a bleaching quality to it? Mix it with hot vinegar and you've got yourself a fantastic grout cleaner!
DIY Grout Cleaner
1/4 cup white vinegar, warm
2 tsp cream of tartar
Heat 2 cups of vinegar at a time in the microwave (then wipe out your microwave....2 jobs done at once!) and mix 1/4 cup vinegar and 2 tsp cream of tartar in a small dish. It really works best warm and the liquid will get dirty fast. You'll want to change it frequently.  Now have at it with a brush. I used a tooth brush because it's just the right size. I know, I know. This isn't exactly a quick job, but you won't have to do it very often.  Sometimes you just can't beat getting on your hands and knees and using a little elbow grease. 
When I started cleaning the grout, they thought it looked like a lot of fun. Of course i told them it was a blast and I quickly got them each a toothbrush and let them have fun!
It didn't last too long.

After you have scrubbed, give it a quick wipe with a towel so no one slips. Once the grout drys, you will see some white residue. It comes up easily with some clean water and a quick scrub.  When you're done, mop up. I had to mop twice. The first time left the floor with a residue.  Another round with a clean mopping pad did the trick.

Check out the difference! The kids were amazed. They said it was glowing!
Much better!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Quick Cabinet Upgrade and Baking Drawer

Have you been reading April's blog, House By Hoff? Last week she posted here about how she had removed a cabinet door to pretty up her kitchen. Hers looks great with her milk glass on the shelves and nice bright window where it should be!

I love how her milk glass collection looks on the shelves but I don't have any. Not one piece. Can you believe it?! I'm going to change that! For now, I wanted this to be a completely free project so the old mason jars it is. Good thing they are such a pretty color!
As you can see, where her window would be, mine is just a stone back splash. Boring. I need to find some way of making that space interesting. My pick would be to paint the cabinets white and add a white beaded board back splash.

For now I'll start with the cabinet.
Please excuse the dark pictures I took in the kitchen. It is in the middle of the house and doesn't face the window. I would have moved the cabinet into the other room if I could! I love ya that much!
I took the door off and lined the back of the cabinet with some pretty paper I had in the craft room. I have a thing for scrapbook paper and I'm trying to make use of the rather large stash I have in the craft room.  I just used good ol' Scotch tape to secure the paper. I want to be able to change it easily. Knowing me, this kitchen will end up going a different direction and I'll change it in a few weeks.

This cabinet used to house different things. Tea cups, cookie cutters, food coloring, candles... I either found the items a new home, tossed it, or combined it with a like item.

What did I do with all that stuff? Good question! I went through what I guess was my baking drawer (that also had other misc. things in it) and cleaned it out. I organized all my baking items and put them away.  I lined the drawer with paper from the same pack as the cupboard.
I covered a box I had in the pantry with coordinating paper to hold my food coloring and flavorings.
Sprinkles and mason jars. So cute!
Just a strip of paper and these umbrellas and picks are pretty!
Grandma's old bread pan holds our most used cookie cutters.

OK....this picture is horribly out of focus but I threw it in here so you could see how pretty the yellow polka dot paper is. Sorry if I've offended your eyes. The end.
There you go! Not so hard! Now go and make something in your kitchen prettier and come tell me about it!
After living with this cabinet for a few days, I'm already changing it.  It's cute like this, but I keep feeling like it should be for a birthday party or something. And it's not very noticable.  I want to lighten up the kitchen so I'm trying white on the shelves.  What are your thoughts? Maybe a solid color in the back? I'll post pics on Facebook when I start getting closer to what I'm looking for.  Be sure to follow along!  Click the link on the right!
linking up at

The Taylor House Post: Burlap Wreath Tutorial

Today I'm sharing a Burlap Wreath Tutorial over at  The The Taylor House. Click on over there and read about it!

See you over there!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Million Dollar Cookies

This recipe is one of my favorites. My Grandma gave me the recipe years ago and it makes me happy to read something she wrote. And to taste something she used to make. 
These came out of the oven and were disappearing quickly so I thought I'd better photograph them before they were all gone!

Million Dollar Cookies
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour (I added a bit more because it seemed quite sticky)
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla (or 1/2 tsp almond extract....I was out of vanilla)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Cream butter, shortening and sugars. Add beaten egg and vanilla. Mix remaining ingredients and add to wet mixture. Mix well. Form into small balls and press flat with a glass dipped in sugar.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

A couple of these treats are on their way to Kayla's teacher in the morning! I just used a scrap of patterned paper and stamped a sentiment on it. Rounded the corners with my punch, added some Stickles and baker's twine and off they go!
Do you have any recipes from a loved one that make you happy? 
 linking up at

DIY Foaming Hand Soap

Happy Monday morning all! I hope you had a great weekend!  I'm just so excited I can't help but share with you. Remember the Dipped Stools from last week? Well, they were featured over at Tater Tots and Jello this weekend!  Yay! I'm so thrilled to be featured along with some really great projects!  Thanks! 

Now onto something so simple.

Ok. Am I the last one to figure out that the only thing that makes foaming hand soap different is the pump. You didn't know either?!
You probably did. You're smart like that!

Well I have had my suspicions for a while now and finally gave it a try. It worked great!
I used a bit less than 1/3 cup of a regular liquid soap I had. Add it to your foaming bottle.

Next fill the rest of the bottle with water. SLOWLY! Then close it and tip back and forth easily to mix it up. Don't shake like crazy! Now give it a test. There you go!
Any home recipes you use and love? Please share them! I love making my own!


Friday, February 15, 2013

Paint Storage and Friday Joy

Yesterday I shared my Dipped Stool project.  I love how they just add something fun to the kitchen!  Today I wanted to share how I store my paint.  I have a set of cubby shelving in the laundry room. One of them (soon to be two) are devoted to paint. 

Keeping all those paint cans takes up a lot of room. Especially when there is often not a lot of paint in them.  I fill up mason jars with my paint and problem solved....and they pretty up the space at the same time!

But wait, Jess!  What if you need to go pick up another can of paint?!

 Enter washi tape.

Two strips on the lid give you just enough room to write the needed information for your favorite home improvement store employee to mix up another beautiful batch.
 So go pick up some jars and make your storage pretty!
Keeping up with
One Little Word, here is some joy from this week. These are all Instagram. Find me! prairiegirltosouthernbelle

Date night. We do not go on regular dates. We need to. It was like a light switch flipped on and we were back to us.

I love how Noah didn't care one bit that he was at Kayla's school in his pajamas. I tried to get him in clothes but it wasn't worth the battle. What does it matter in the long run!


Snuggled with the kiddos, watching Singin' in the Rain. I need to sit with them more. Just be with them.

Enjoy your weekend and some time with your family!

linking up at:
tatertots and jello
ladies holiday




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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pinterest Power Link Up Party

I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!  Today I'm co-hosting the Pinterest Power Party with The Taylor House and Living on Love and Cents. If you're interested in co-hosting look for the information later in this post and come on!  Ready to pin? Here we go!
Welcome Back to our weekly Pinterest Party! Every Thursday we will be hosting a linky party that focuses on YOU, the readers! Do you have an amazing DIY project, a frugal gift idea, or even a delicious recipe that you want to share? Well, we want to see them and share on our Pinterest Board’s too!
How do I participate?
First, Be sure you are a Pinterest Follower of your Host & Co-hosts!
Help us spread the word and share the Party button above on your blogs too!
Then link up your favorite projects below, also, pin the two before yours! Or, keep going and Pin as many as you would like!
But, wait! There’s More!
Be sure to stop back every Thursday to see the featured Pin’s from the week prior! We will be sharing the top five most viewed projects from the week prior!
If you were featured be sure to grab a badge and wear it proudly on your blog!
Would you like to co-host with us? We have openings in some of our upcoming parties for people who would like to join us! Just send an email to to find out which dates are available!
Are you ready to party and get your Pin on?
Here are the TOP FIVE most viewed projects from last week!!
Bill Tracker Printable from The Crafty Scientist.
Candy Cane Hearts from The Messy Roost.
Tootsie Pop Valentine’s From One Creative Mommy.
Tootsie Pop {Valentine--You're Super!} with Free Cutting Templates #silhouette #valentine #printable
Cheesy Green Chili Enchiladas from Memories by the Mile.
Valentine Argyle Wreath from Thrifty Crafty Girl.

Dipped Stool

Ever so slowly I'm working on our kitchen.  I want nothing more than to take a paint brush to our cabinets and paint them white, but that's a hard sell with my man.  We bought the house new (already completed) just 3 years ago. So, for now, I'm working on all the other parts of the kitchen.
These stools were tired.  They were chipped...and not the good looking kind of chippy either. They were a dark blue. Nice, but not the direction this house is going. 
First I sanded the stools with my power sander. One of the best tools! Don't skip this part! You'll be so much happier with the results if you start it off right. I painted the stools Beach (from Lowe's) and then taped the legs and painted the bottoms Daffodil (also from Lowe's). 
...please excuse the gross grout. I have a WONDERFUL homemade grout cleaner that I will be posting soon. just not a job I'm excited to start!
 I love how this turned out.  It's a fun way to bump up plain old stools! Now to move on to the table and chairs!
linking up to...
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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Quick, I Need Some Valentines!

Tuesday afternoon I found myself finally getting down to business with the kiddos valentines.  The first grade party is Thursday afternoon.  Plenty of time. The Pre-K party is ....what? Wednesday?  Ok. It just got serious.  Not only did I only have one night to start and finish, but we also had a first grade program and dinner to attend! 
My printer wasn't working.
What could I do?!
Mustaches and lips. Kids (and adults) seem to get the biggest kick out of these! And all I needed was a sucker and some paper!
Here's what I did.
I simply looked at a picture of lip and mustaches online (they are everywere aren't they?), drew a template, and cut them out.  I had paper in my stash (not stache...ha ha!..sorry).
I poked a small hole in each one.  I don't have a small hole punch and wanted to be sure the sucker sticks would fit. No one wants their mustache to slide off!  That would be a major bummer!
That's it! Dilemma solved and possibly the cutest valentines we've handed out. 
These would be cute just to have at the house when the kids get home from school!  Attach them to a popsicle stick and let the kids take some funny pictures!

 I have a drawer where these will ours will be kept! It is the disguise drawer.  It's filled with things you'd need to make a funny spy disguise. Hats, glasses, phones, watches, etc. The kids love to dig in there and come up with something funny. Then the sneak around the house.  Too funny.
Hope you all have a great Valentine's Day!  Do something to show your kiddos you love them!



Monday, February 11, 2013

Printable Valentines

So. Every year I have the best intentions of creating these super cute valentines. Every year I end up buying the same box of valentines that 4 other kids in the class will have. 

Not this year! 

Leanne, from And Away We Go,  has created these cute-as-a-button valentines and she wants to share them with you!  Print them, attach them to a goodie bag and away you go! I Love it!

Click on over and read about the project and print some out here!  Leanne and I have decided to swap posts on a regular basis, so be on the look out for some great ideas from her!

Quick Smoothie Prep

I've been trying to eat better over the past few weeks.  Green smoothies have made their way into my (almost) daily menu.  Among other things, I've noticed a boost in my energy level! I'm not dragging during the days!
Here's how I'm prepping my smoothies. 
When I come home from the store with some spinach, I get out my ingredients, measure them out into freezer bags and pop them in the freezer.  I just move one to the fridge when I get ready for bed and by morning the fruit has thawed just enough to blend well. All I have to do is add my water and pull out my favorite kitchen tool, my immersion blender. 
In the picture I have a mix of strawberries, blueberries, and cranberries. This is yummy, but the recipe below is my favorite.  The mixed berries add in raspberries and blackberries. Delicious!
Berry Boost Smoothie
1-2 cups spinach, packed
1/2 cup cranberries
1 1/2 cups mixed berries frozen
1 1/2 to 2 cups of water

Friday, February 8, 2013

Speaking of Chalkboards: Quick Wreath Change

I love making wreaths. I don't know why exactly, but I really enjoy making wreaths out of different materials. 
I posted about this wreath after Christmas.  It is simply a straw wreath with felt leaves glued around it.  You can read a bit more detail about it here.  I added a chalkboard sign so that it could easily be changed.  I don't know about you, but I love chalkboards and chalk art! I have quite a few showing up in my house.
Here's how it looks for Valentine's Day. 

Speaking of chalkboards... do you know who Rhonna Farrer is?  She makes the most beautiful chalkboard signs!  Love it!  She also has some fun stuff you can purchase and download for your Instagram photos. I have yet to try them but they are gorgeous!
It was time to change up the chalkboard in the entryway so I tried my hand at one of her signs. 
You know what? It doesn't need to be perfect!

this post is linked at tatertots and jello