Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sorry About the Mess, But We Live Here

I saw my friend, Erin pinned this the other day.  I saw a similar quote once on a blog and a lady went off on how messy houses were disgusting and people needed to clean their homes.  I do not think that is what those quotes mean.  It doesn't mean BE A HOARDER.  It means... if you are in the middle of folding a pile of laundry on the couch and your baby is crying... you are going to go pick your baby up and leave the laundry.  Or if you have dishes to do in the sink and your friend calls and wants to meet you for coffee, you are going to leave the dishes and go.  Because we all need time with our family and friends much more than a spotless house.

Source: via Erin on Pinterest

I set out to create some printables of my own using the quote in some different color schemes.  You can download them for {FREE} below for personal use only.  They print best as 8x10 prints.

blue  |   green |   red  |   tan

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Randoms.. Well Randoms From the Week

Wednesday night I made chicken parmigana for dinner and redeemed myself after my chicken cordon blue fiasco last night. 

I took Madison and a friend to the movies Wednesday to see The Vow.  I loved it.  I teared up a few times, but fully expected The Notebook like sobs... but that didn't happen.  There was also a great preview for a movie insprired by a Nicholas Sparks book starring Zac Efron that I know I will want to see.

I keep getting more hours at work.  Someone just quit, so I am going up to 40 hours for a few weeks until we get new people hired and trained.  Gosh... I hope that happens fast and they are good and stay for awhile.  I think 32 hours suits me best.

Thursday evening we went to BJ's (wholesale club) and stocked up! I wasn't too happy with the total purchase price, but I think we have enough paper towels, toilet paper, chicken, eggs, K-cups for the Keurig,  milk, etc... to last us for awhile.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Today I am sharing some of the best things I have found on Pinterest lately.  I love to "pin" and do it usually several times a day.  Feel free to follow my boards that may interest you {here}.  If you are a pinner, leave a link for me to follow you.  I am always looking for more "pin"spiration.
Homemade French Bread - I cannot wait to give this a try.  It looks easy enough.

A birthday party printable.. I love the colors.  This would be fun to display next to the presents or cake.

Asian Flank Steak Skewers... I always order these when we get Chinese... they are my favorite.  I cannot wait to try them at home.

Coffee Cake Muffins... I have the ingredients on hand.  I need to try these.

I love this fun gallery wall.  I have been gathering pieces to make mine.  I need to get things framed and put up. I love that alphabet paper in the frame below.

Homemade Tagalongs.  Madison can put away from Tagalongs.  I need to try to make the homemade version.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Homemade Soft Pretzels Recipe

My daughter is taking a cooking class at school.  A few weeks ago they made soft pretzels.  She brought the recipe home and has been asking to make them.  I bought all of the ingredients, only to read the recipe's directions on Sunday afternoon and then realizing this dough had to rise overnight.  We were ready to bake and eat pretzels, so I scoured Pinterest and came across this recipe from Shutterbeam and combined the two to make the most fabulous tasting soft pretzels...ever.  We made some with salt and some with cinnamon sugar.

This recipe makes about 8 soft pretzels.

Ingredients -

1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/3 teaspoons table salt

1 package active dry yeast (1/4 oz.)

4 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Pam cooking spray for the pan

10 cups water

2/3 cup baking soda

1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Pretzel Toppings:

cinnamon sugar (1/8 cup sugar + 3 teaspoons cinnamon)

Kosher salt

unsalted butter (about 1/4 of a stick; melted)

Directions -

Combine the warm water, sugar and kosher salt in a measuring cup and sprinkle the yeast on top.

Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.

Add the yeast mixture and melted butter into the flour mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer.

Using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined.

Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then spray it lightly with cooking spray.

Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size. (I don't think mine quite doubled... because we keep our house pretty cool, but this did not affect the outcome).

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper (you MUST use parchment paper) and spray the paper with cooking spray and set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in a large pot.

In the meantime, spray your work service with a small amount of cooking spray and then turn the dough out onto work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces.

Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel.

Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula or tongs (that is what I used)

Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture

Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes.

Transfer to a cooling rack.  Then once cool enough to handle brush your pretzels with the melted butter and then either sprinkle the salt or cinnamon sugar mixture on top.

Before they were put in the baking soda/water bath

 Madison made hers into a braided twist.

out of the oven and ready for the toppings

the inside of a cinnamon sugar one

Monday, February 20, 2012

Miscellany Monday

I am linking up for miscellany monday today over at lowercase letters.


{1} No Baby Furniture For Us

On Saturday we drove to Cape Cod for the day.  After having lunch we stumbled upon an unfinished furniture store, where we proceeded to buy a pricey dining room table and four chairs.  We also picked out a custom stain/paint for them.  It will be ready in about a month.  On the way home... I started to cry.  Dammit... we should have been out today buying baby furniture not a dining room table.  I want a crib... not a dining room table.

{2} Working on a Holiday

Today is a holiday. Chris is off of work.  Madison is work at school.  I have a 9 hour work day ahead of me.  I MUST start remembering to ask off of work on holidays.

{3} Kelle Hampton's Book

I love Kelle Hampton's blog. She wrote a book.  I pre-ordered it last week... along with 25 pregnancy tests and a kit to frost cupcakes because mine is broken and has missing parts from Amazon.  It was probably my weirdest order from them ever. 

{4} Soft Pretzels

Per Madison's request we made homeamde soft pretzels yesterday afternon.  They were so good.  We made some with salt and butter and some with cinnamon sugar.  She made them in her cooking class at school a few weeks ago and has been asking to make them at home.  They weren't ready until after 6 PM so they basically became dinner.  I will be sharing the recipe tomorrow.

{5} I Won Something

Bright Modern Circus Greeting Cards
There is a great etsy shop, Two Poodle Press, that I have ordered from before.  She has some great designs, they are high quality, and affordably priced. Every Tuesday on Facebook she has a giveaway for the first person to comment with their email under the item up for grabs.  This past Tuesday I won these fabulous notecards and they arrived on Saturday.  So check out her Facebook  and keep your eye out for her Tuesday giveaways. 

Two Poodle Press has no idea who I am...other than a crazy Facebooker who has won many giveaways and an appreciative customer.  She has no idea I am even mentioning her on my blog.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Frames + Scrapbook Paper = DIY Wall Art

How I Did It-

I have only been able to find once piece of art for our living room that both my husband and I liked and that went with our living room (it is the numbers canvas in the above photo). So, I decided to make my own wall art.
I have been on the hunt for months for scrapbook paper that matched the fabrics in our living room.  It wasn't until last week when I finally settled on two pieces I loved.  I wanted the square look, but really this project can be done with any mat opening 12x12 or smaller. 

I simply purchased the materials and then framed the scrapbook paper as I would a photo.

I love how these turned out.

Purchasing the Supplies -

My frames are 20x20 with 11.5x11.5 openings and are from Ikea for $19.99.  Mine are black but they are also available in white or natural wood.  They can also be purchased online from Ikea here.

This paper I used was purchased at either Michaels or AC Moore (I do not remember) and can be found online here for less than 50 cents per 12x12 sheet.

The other paper was purchased at AC Moore within the last week or so.  I couldn't find it online. 

Total Cost = $41.48

2 sheets of scrapbook paper $1.50
2 square Ikea frames $39.98

What I Love About It -

  • It matches the other colors in our room.
  • It looks fabulous hanging on our green wall.
  • I can always change out the paper if I change the colors in my living room.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Night I Failed at Making Dinner

I consider myself to be a great cook.  I really do.  Well... tonight proved otherwise.  My husband even asked me tonight at the dinner table where his wife was.  He even went so far to say that I "MJ'ed" the dinner.  For those of you who do not know... MJ is my mom... and well she isn't known for her cooking skills. 

I made chicken cordon blue.  It was awful.  Like I had one bite and almost puked and then I could barely eat anything else.  I have made chicken cordon blue before and it was excellent...but I tried some different things tonight and well it was just awful.

Luckily I also made my macaroni and cheese and so we didn't starve as well as some corn.  But after the one bite of the crappy chicken, I just couldn't eat anything else.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I am linking up today for What I'm Loving Wednesday... for no other reason than today is a good day and I am happy (not pregnant... just happy). Shocking... the happy part...I know, so I felt like sharing things I love would be more fitting than my usual SO WHAT rant...

I am LOVING that my  husband ordered these for me for Valentine's Day.  This is exactly what my wedding bouquet looking like.  He took Madison one day after school to the florist by our house, showed them pictures from our wedding, and asked them to copy it.  MAJOR points for my husband.  I am not a flower loving girl, but I loved my wedding bouquet and I love these.

I am LOVING the fun cookies I made yesterday for my husband.  I usually shy away from cut out cookies, but these were fun to make.  My frosting skills could improve a LOT, but they were fun...and tasty.

I am LOVING this fajita sauce.  I picked it up at Target last weekend.  Today when I went back to Target I got two more packs.  Seriously... buy it and make chicken fajitas out of it.

I am LOVING that I am off of work today.  I caught up on my shows on my DVR (Hello... Teen Mom 2 season finale and Real Housewives of Orange County), headed to Target, then to Panera, and then for an afternoon of getting caught up on crafts and other house projects.

I am LOVING that I have been keeping up...for the most part with my February photo challenge.  As you can see here... some days are missing and need to be filled in, but I will get to those soon.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

This Weekend...

~ Friday evening we went out for our Valentine's Day dinner... with our 12 year old.  We don't wan to leave her home alone and we don't know a baby sitter.  We usually end up taking her everywhere with us... which is fine. I had a few mixed drinks (I don't remember the last time I drank)... then promptly fell asleep on the couch at 7:30 PM.

~ Saturday morning we woke up to snow... it wasn't really all that bad.  Madison and I headed to Panera (our favorite) for lunch, then to Target, and AC Moore.  We decided to forgo the movie... but plan to go next weekend.

~ I finally made it to Ikea and got the black square frames I have been wanting.  I have a super easy and cheap DIY art project for the living room I am hoping to share later this week.

~ After Ikea we found a Target and went for a 2nd trip this weekend.  I have never seen one like this.  You parked underneath and took an escalator up to it.  When you leave, you put your cart on the escalator to go back down.  Madison loved this.  I bought curtains for my living room at Target, brought them home, made Chris hang them, and HATE them.  I will be returning them this week.

~ I made white chocolate dipped treats for Madison to hand out at school and packaged them up using labels I ordered for super cheap from Tiny Prints in December.  I love how they turned out.  I included an Oreo, two pretzels, and a Dove Promise in each one.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Fun FREE Add On to Your Valentine's Gift Giving

Yesterday Madison and I went to the Dollar Tree and found these Valentine's Day "gift"cards. 

Now I could have easily spent a few dollars and bought these... but they didn't all apply to us. We are not dancers... so a night on the town dancing would not reply to our relationship.  So I came home, got on Picnik, and whipped up three sets of my own "gift" cards that I knew would appeal to my husband. 

{Here they are, printed, cut, and ready to go}

I uploaded them to Walgreens and this morning I picked them up.  I ordered two of each one.  I cut them in half and stuck them in his card.  Easy peasy...creative...and personalized.   I think he will love these FREE gifts. If you are just exchanging cards... a few of these would be great to throw in as well.

You can download these for FREE.

{3} Polka Dots 

I just ask you use them for personal use only and do not alter or resell them... although really feel free to use the idea of them to create your own more personalized versions in Picnik.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thursday Randoms

1) Yesterday I was featured over on Happy Go Lucky. I shared this fun recipe for Pineapple Coconut Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting.  They are super yummy...and I think taste best cold...and with fruits and veggies inside... are a perfect breakfast treat.

2) Madison and I have plans to go see The Vow on Saturday morning.  I cannot wait.  We have been looking forward to seeing it since we saw the preview.  We will probably throw in a lunch out and a trip to Target to round out our fun girls day.

3) I designed these fun Valentine's for my sweet nephew, Owen.  Here is a quick photo my sister sent after she attached the chocolates.  I got the idea from another blog and I feel terrible that I cannot now find that... I went through my starred blogs in my Reader and I cannot find it (just know this is not my original idea and as soon as I find the original I will give credit), created it in Picnik, and uploaded it to Costco so my sister could pick them up all the way across the country in Las Vegas.  I am sure Owen's kindergarten buddies will love these.

3) Madison has her first "boyfriend".  She is 12... so I am not sure really what kind of relationship this is as they only text one another and see each other at school.  She was sharing her news with her grandmother on the phone and confessed to her that at school they refer to them as "MANDREW", like Madison + Andrew = MANDREW... I mean who do they think they are? Brad and Angelina?  He seems like a nice kid from what she says, but my biggest fear is she will get hurt... I know she is excited and happy and so I don't want to undermine this 12 year old "love", but I still have this big fear he will break her little 12 year old heart... and that scares me.

4) I love love love my iPhone.  I usually read all of the blogs I follow through my Google Reader on my phone and when I come across a recipe, a picture, a quote, etc... I want to remember I use the feature on my phone to take a snapshot of it so I can come back to it.  It is super convenient.  Once I check out the sites or write down the recipes, then I just delete the shot I took. Here are some of the things I have taken a recent shot of -

A site to purchase art someone discussed on a blog

I need to remember this

Wine someone recommended I want to pick up to try

A makeup board I want to make for Madison

A case Madison mentioned she wanted for her iPad...once she gets it back.  She took it to school on Monday without permission and has lost it for a week.

5) I ordered this Living Social deal (which is still available) for $30 worth of Fannie May candies for only $15 for my husband for Valentine's Day.  I ordered an assortment of candies that I got to hand pick.