Monday, April 29, 2013

Easy Rhubarb Crisp Dessert

Hey peeps! I was out of town over the weekend but wanted to make sure you head on over to The Taylor House for my man's favorite dessert recipe. Rhubarb crisp. Yum! You'll want to make it this weekend!
 
Tip: I use frozen rhubarb from the grocery store!

Man Cave Art

Did you or a man you love watch the draft this weekend?  We did.  My man is a *huge* Vikings fan!  He has the garage all set up as his 'man cave' for football season. Do you have one? Maybe yours is inside, but I highly recommend one! 
 
 A couple of years ago for his birthday I painted the garage wall right above the tv (tv is covered up with that super fancy blanket).
 
Supplies: 
overhead projector
coloring pages with team images
transparency
team paints (Home Depot has NFL team colors)
paint markers (I used a couple of black paint markers for the lettering and all the black on the helmet.  I'm not great at painting a straight line and this was easier)
pencil for tracing
 
What made this so easy was the over head projector.  I ended up renting one for about $25.  A quick search online for some team coloring pages and I was in business!  I cut the words off one page and the helmet off another and taped them onto a blank white page for the layout I wanted. The next step was to get a transparency made at the copy shop.  I probably could have made it on  my printer, but this just seemed easier. 
 
Tip: When you're ready to project your image, tape the transparency on your overhead to keep it from moving around. I had to take brakes and work on it when I hade time.  Trace it all on your wall and then start painting!
I  have to tell you...I am still surprised at how much this meant for him.  It was a pretty cheap project that didn't seem like that big of a deal to me. But he tells everyone about it. You know guys. If they talk about it,  it's because it means something to them. They don't just throw compliments around!
 
Have you used your craftiness on a project just for your man yet?  If you haven't, give it a try!  I promise you he will love it!
 
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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Idea: Crockpot Chococolate

Have you ever watched Trisha Yearwood's show on Food Network? Love it! She's funny, cute, and the recipes are all good.

Kayla and I were watching her show a couple of weeks ago (Kayla is 7 and loves to watch Trisha's show and The Pioneer Woman. It's kind of our thing. We pick something to make that week.) and we decided to make her Crockpot Candy for our annual crawfish boil. I ended up adapting it just slightly to work with what I had in the pantry.

These would also made a great teacher appreciation gift. You could make a batch and share the goodies with lots of people you appreciate!  Maybe the librarian and the gym teacher? Principal? Better yet, the janitors who help keep your school looking so great or the office staff who help out everyone. Why not give them a little treat to let them know you appreciate what they do for your child!
Crockpot Chocolate adapted from this recipe
 
2 lbs dry roasted, salted peanuts
1 pkg dark chocolate chips
1 pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 lg package white chocolate chips
 
Starting with peanuts, add all ingredients to crockpot and cook on low until chocolate is melted. Depending on size of your crockpot, time will vary. Mine is 4.5 quart so all this chocolate filled it up.  Our party was getting too close so I ended up melting the chocolate on the stove. You could use the microwave too.  Once it has melted (the chips will still stay in their shape) stir it all around.  Spoon into cupcake liners and let it set.  Don't fill too full, these will be big treats. 
 
These were yummy! I can't wait to try them again! They are the perfect combination of salty and sweet.
 
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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Goin' Down to the Crawdad Hole

Every spring we host a crawfish boil at our house.  We invite about 7 or 8 families and have fun cooking and catching up while the kids play outside.
We have fun having everyone over, but a big fan of crawfish I am not. I'm always surprised at all the kids who just dig right in! It's fun to watch. We grill hot dogs and chicken and each family brings a dish to share.  This year I made desserts. I'll be sharing a couple of those recipes this week.
While I was cleaning and getting ready I thought my mantle needed some help.  I had picked up 2 bags of split peas with intent on gluing them on a wreath another day (I STILL need to change my front door wreath). A quick fix would be to fill up this glass container, which probably has a name that I just don't know. I DO know that it is cute. However, two bags of split peas weren't going to fill it.
 
Solution: Fill the center with a trimmed paper towel roll.  I tore the remaining paper towels off the roll, set them out as napkins, and trimmed the roll to size.  I lightly stuffed a paper towel in the top of the roll to cover the opening and then poured the peas around it. It worked!
Obviously you would keep pouring the peas in until the roll was covered, making sure you couldn't see any of the filler.  I didn't take an after picture. Sorry.
 
I'll see you soon with a yummy recipe for crockpot chocolate!


 
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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Best Green Smoothie. Ever.

Ok. I made a green smoothie that was slightly adapted from a recipe posted on Instagram by Simple Green Smoothies. It has become my favorite! It is so refreshing and will be great for summer.  

While I was drinking it I kept telling the kids how good it was.  They think I'm a little silly about things like that. Hey, I like food, ok?! And I REALLY like food when it's healthy and tastes delicious at the same time!  Sometimes that's not easy to do!

Green Tea and Peach Smoothie
2 cups spinach
2 cups freshly brewed (and cooled) green tea
1 frozen banana
2 1/2 cups frozen peaches
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
(no lemons are in this recipe....they were just photobombing)
I assembled my ingredients before I made my green tea and it was just enough time to thaw the fruit enough for my immersion blender to work its magic. Do you have one? I love mine!

The original recipe called for fresh ginger but I didn't have that so I made it easy and opened my spice drawer. Cinnamon sounded good so I threw that in also. Turns out, it was great!

The Green Tea I used is called Harney and Sons Organic Green Iced Tea. I picked mine up at Barnes and Noble in the Starbucks shop.  Know what? I like you so I'll tell you this.  I bought three tins of iced tea last summer ONLY because the tins are so darned cute. That, and I had a coupon.  Turns out I love the stuff!

This one is my favorite!

Go ahead and make yourself this smoothie. I'm already planning a trip to Costco so I can stock enough frozen peaches. 

Delish!


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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spring Table and Stovetop Popcorn

Spring is here! Spring is here! 
We are so excited for the warm sunshine, green grass, colorful flowers...
I decided to spruce up the inside a bit.

Here it is. I made this tray for the laundry room. I loved it there, but I think I love it on the table even more. It's a tray from Target that I painted my go-to shade of white and covered with fabric. I'm sure you've seen all the chevron fabric from Hobby Lobby. *swoon* 
The photo book is one I made last year with our summer Instagram photos. I always feel like I have to do something really neat with the photos. But...that doesn't always get done. Plopping them into a digital photo book looks great and gets your photos off you computer and into your hands. It's oh so easy and I never get tired of watching and listening to my littles as they look through the memories.
Do you make popcorn the 'old fashioned' way? Whenever we make popcorn I make it on the stove top. It's not as fast as microwave, but you know exactly what's in it and it tastes so much better! Try it!
Stove top Popcorn
oil (I use canola)
popcorn
butter to taste, melted
salt to taste
Add 3-4 tablespoons of oil to a pot that has a lid. I just eyeball it. You want enough oil so that you can swirl it around and cover the bottom but not have puddles. Now add your popcorn! A little more than enough to cover the bottom should work, but keep a bowl nearby in case you pop more than your pan can hold. Now turn the heat to about medium high. On my stove it's an 8. Let it sit with the lid on. When you hear it start popping, start shaking. I just side it back and forth on the burner. If you let it sit, it will burn. (if you are worried about scratching your stove top you can pick it up and shake it, but I don't have trouble.) When the popping slows to every few seconds pour it in a bowl. Add some melted butter and salt to taste, shaking after each. Now go have some family time!
One more tulip photo.

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Favorite Things

Here are my favorite things from the week! I am finding joy (my word for 2013) in all these.

1. Warm weather and happy kids. We cranked up the sprinklers the other afternoon and had a blast! I love seeing their faces and heating their squeals as they run through the water. Nothing but smiles!

2. Secret notes. I wrote on Kayla's banana before I put it in her backpack for snack. It is so fun to find little ways to let her know I'm thinking of her while she's at school.

3. Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day in
Honeysuckle. Love it.

4. Flowers. There is something so fresh and happy about flowers in the spring.

Have a great weekend!







Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Super Whitening Laundry Mix

Hey guys! Just wanted to let you know that I'm over at The Taylor House sharing a super laundry recipe! Time to do a little spring cleaning!
 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Dipped Spoons

Sorry things have been kind of slow on the blog.  We thought we might be putting our dog down last week and it was pretty rough around here. He is home now and seems to be ok.  He has bone spurs on several of his vertebrae and they are causing a lot of pain.  We have an amazing vet and I trust him to help us make any decisions we need to. 
 
Other than that, there have been a few fun things going on around here and I'm ready to share them!
 
The other day I painted my spoons. And you know what? I love them! 
I ran to Lowe's and picked up a bunch of paint samples. I plan to use them for lots of little projects around the house. These colors make me happy!
I painted the handles and then stuck each one in a glass so they could dry without bumping into the other ones.
I know there is a food safe shellac that you can use to protect the paint, but I'm going to see how this holds up.  I don't ever let them soak and usually wash them right away.  (usually) 
I love these spoons!
Why not make the things and spaces you use every day pretty?
 
I'm having fun bringing more color into our home! I'll be back to share some more pops of color and a couple of recipes with you!  Not to mention some spring cleaning ideas!
 
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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Playroom Dresser

Our 'dining room' isn't your typical dining room. In fact, it isn't a dining room at all. When we moved in we decided to make it the play room. We aren't formal people at all and would only use the room twice a year. Our kids are here every day. And we kind of like them.
 
Since the playroom is in the living area of our house...meaning it's out there for everyone to see when they stop by...keeping it organized is a must.  There's no closing the door on the mess. In fact, there is no door. And it's the first thing you see when you come in the front door.  Bam! There it is. Kitchen set, Legos, paper, pencils. All of it. 
 
One way we keep everything organized for the kids (and me) is this repurposed dresser.  I looked at shelves, but I wanted this to be totally kid accessible and manageable. Want to take a closer look?  

I painted the dresser my go-to creamy white. It's called December Starlight from Lowe's. I removed the bottom drawers, because they weren't sliding well, and added baskets.  Don't tell anyone but they are sitting on foam core board. Shh!  The baskets hold trains, Lincoln Logs, Mr. Potato Head pieces, and felt food.
 
On top I have these items:
1. Bucket to hold small activity pads and paper
2. Covered cans to hold pens, colored pencils, and skinny markers
3. Drawers from The Container Store to hold unfinished pieces of art or whatever the kids are working on. When it's done I either frame it, hang it on the fridge or put it in the to-be-scrapbooked pile...unless it is one of those things you aren't going to keep but you can't throw it away when you know there is a possibility they might find it. In that case it sits on the counter for an opportune time like when I'm changing the trash bag. (then the bag goes directly to the outside garbage can so they don't see their 'artwork' in the trash bag....that has never happened here...ok, yes it has and it wasn't very fun) 
 
Here's a look inside the drawers.






I have a post over at The Taylor House that talks about the paper sorters. Love them hanging up!
 
Here's a closer look.
I'll share more play room pictures as I make progress. I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever feel like any room in the house is totally done.  Do you ever feel like that? Will that day come?  Have a super weekend!
 
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Our Favorite Homemade Play Dough

One of our favorite things to do is play with play dough. We make our own and we love this recipe.
 
Last year for Noah's birthday party we had a play dough station.  I made a huge batch and the kids LOVED it.
 
There's just something so fun about a huge ball of play dough. Endless possibilities! 

Homemade Play Dough
(slightly adapted from Paula Deen's recipe found in My First Cook Book)
 
4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1/3 cup (8 tbsp) cream of tartar
food coloring
4 cups water
4 tbsp vegetable oil
glitter (optional)

Combine flour, salt and cream of tartar in bowl and stir. Combine water, oil and food coloring in pot. Cook over medium heat, adding dry ingredients and stirring to combine. After about 3 minutes it will start coming together. Once it is a big ball, turn it out onto was paper.  Careful, it's hot!  Knead until the color is worked through. When it is cool you can store it in a plastic bag, pushing all the air out.
 
We love to add glitter. Sometimes it's the snow, sometimes we're just having fun.  I gave the kids a tube of glitter and said they could use the whole thing... they were so happy they did a little jig!
 
 
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Monday, April 1, 2013

Microwave S'mores

I hope you all had a great Easter!  We celebrated with family in Nashville and had a great time.  When we get together, we love to have a bonfire and make S'mores.  The weather had other plans.  Oh well. But you know what? I still snuck a S'more in.  I wanted to try making one in the microwave, and you know what? It worked and was so easy!  And using some different chocolate really made it a fun treat.
All I did was...
 
 Place one large marshmallow on a graham cracker square
 
 Pop it in the microwave for 12-15 seconds. WATCH it! It will get big and you don't want sticky marshmallow all over your microwave.
 
Add your chocolate (We used York Peppermint Patties) and the top graham cracker.
 
Enjoy a warm, gooey S'more anytime!
 
 
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