Tuesday, September 18, 2012

pallet bookshelves

 While on one of my recent visits to pinterest I found a lot of fun projects to do with pallets.  Yes, nasty, old pallets.  I fell in love with the idea of chopping them up and making bookshelves.  I was talking to my sister and SIL about this and we were talking about how to get a hold of some pallets.  Well, turns out my brother can get some.  Hurray!
So sweet Matt got me some beautiful (actually really dirty and old ones, but I saw the potential!) pallets and away I went.  I was able to get 3 shelves per pallet.  I have to say though, there is NO saving the slats of wood you take off to use as the bottoms.  The wood is so old and splintered and the nails are so old, rusted, and so far down that I don't know how people say they save them.  I had some strips of MDF left over from another project that I put on the bottoms.
I also didn't have to stain them or anything.  After giving them a good sand I loved the natural colors and oils that came through.
I made some cute littler ones for my little girl's room since I know she feels jipped that she didn't have any books in her room.  I also cleaned out and white washed an old wash bucket I've had to put all her little plushes in.  She is a big time stuffed animal lover and we've been needing a solution for them.  Done! :) 

 No, she did not pose for this picture.  I just happened to be able to snag a shot of her enjoying her new space.  She is feeling pretty big in her new room with no guard rails on her bed!
 Next it was on to the boy's room.  They have had two big bookshelves of books in their room.  Too many.  They love books and reading, but with that may books in their room there were always books everywhere.  I love this wall of shelves much better.  It doesn't take up a lot of space, and it limits the amount of books we have to clean up.
I was worried about the kids not being able to reach the top shelves, but then saw one of my boys climb up the shelves to the top.  Good thing I now know my work is sturdy!

 We moved this antique recliner (a family heirloom) that we recovered into their room to be their reading chair and they just love it.  They have been spending a lot of time up in their room rediscovering their books again.

Monday, July 23, 2012

homemade chicken noodle soup

I have never made soup before.  I am not a huge soup fan, so I never saw the need to make mine own.  Well, I finally decided to give it a try and I am so glad I did.  I was YUMMY!
This soup was easy and tasty.

Chicken and Noodle Soup5 cups of chicken broth (boxed or can is fine)
One 10.75 oz can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup onions, chopped fine
1/2 cup celery, chopped fine
1/2 cup carrots, chopped fine
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
One 15 oz can of whole kernel corn, drained
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup Egg noodles
2 cups cooked chicken chopped or 2 cans canned cooked chicken

Add everything but the noodles and cooked chicken to the crock pot on Low for 5-6 hours, the last hour turn on High, and add noodles and chicken. Remember, if you do this in the morning, and don’t have a timer on your crock pot, use a lamp timer, they work wonderful.

ranch chicken in the crock pot

This recipe ...
 Pinned Image
2 butterball turkey bacon strips, cooked and shredded
1 tsp minced garlic
1 package ranch dressing mix
1 10.75 oz can condensed cream of chicken soup (98% fat free)
1 cup fat-free sour cream
16 oz. chicken breasts, frozen or defrosted/raw
8 oz. pasta (I used rigatoni), cooked

Combine the first five ingredients. Place frozen or defrosted/raw chicken in slowcooker sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and pour sauce over the top (do NOT include water like the can mentions). Cook on high for 3.5 hours. Shred chicken with two forks. Cook pasta per package instructions on stove. Serve chicken over pasta.

...was good, but WAY too strong.  Me saying a ranch flavor is too stong is a first for me.  Next time I try this it will be with half (or less) of the ranch seasoning.  Other than that it was a good one.
P.S.  I used regular bacon.  If you're going to have bacon...have bacon! ;)

tomato and mozzarella pasta

Love mozzarella like me?  Then you'll love this recipe.  I am a huge fan of casseroles.  I love a yummy sloppy mess on my plate.  And if it's stringy from cheese all the better!  We loved trying this one.  It's a keeper.

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2-14 oz. cans diced Italian plum tomatoes
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 lb. pasta (tubes)
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, cubed
2/3 c. parmesan

Heat oil in skillet. Add garlic and cook over medium high heat, 1 min. Add tomatoes and oregano and simmer rapidly, stirring occasionally until thickened, 15 min. Add S&P. Meanwhile, cook pasta. Toss pasta with sauce. Place half of pasta in an oiled 9×13” dish. Cover with half parmesan and half mozzarella. Top with remaining pasta, then parmesan and mozzarella. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes.

more s'mores please

Nothing quite as perfect for a summer treat to take to a get together are s'more themed goodies.  Thank goodness for all the talented people out there who are coming up with alternative was to have a "s'more"
Here are the best two I have found in my searches:

Yes please!!
I am not a s'more fan...meaning I hate the mess of eating them, but I love the taste of them.  These s'more treats are amazing.  Took them to a family BBQ for all the fellow dislikers of a s'more mess and we gobbled them up!

You simply make them like you were making rice crispy treats, but instead of rice crispies you use golden grahams.  (I have to admit I had to have a bowl of golden grahams before making these because it had been so long since I had had them!)
Mix in a cup or so of semi-sweet chocolate chips and let set.

And now for the BEST RECIPE EVER.... S'more cups
 S'more Cups
These little babies are SOOOOO dangerous and delicious and easy.  Click here for the recipe and directions.  You'll be glad you did.

picnic pasta salad

Another great recipe I've found on my search to expand my cooking skills...
I made a few changes to suit our taste buds.  I didn't add mushrooms and instead of cucumbers I added zucchini.  Made it delicious!  I will also in the future add more noodles to make the dressing less tart.
1 package (16 oz) bow-tie (farfalle) pasta
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 cup Italian dressing
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (3 oz)
5 plum (Roma) tomatoes, coarsely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 large cucumber, coarsely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 medium red onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 can (2 1/4 oz) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 1 Cook and drain pasta as directed on package. Rinse with cold water; drain.
  • 2 In large bowl, mix tomato sauce, dressing, basil and oregano. Add pasta and remaining ingredients; toss. Cover; refrigerate at least 2 hours until chilled but no longer than 48 hours.

parmesan chicken

GREAT recipe!
When you make something and your husband says something like, "your chicken tastes like restaurant chicken" you know it's a good recipe.

Mix together in a bowl:
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Cover a baking sheet with foil and Cook chicken 4-5 on high broiler on top rack.  Turn over and cook another 3-4 minutes.  Cover with mixture and cook another 2-3 minutes.

I have never cook with my broiler before and man is it easy.  Loved it.  Quick and delicious.  If you want a more true Parmesan flavor you can leave our the lemon.  It's great both ways. 

6 minute caramels

I found this recipe and HOLY COW is is delicious! 

1/4 C butter
1/2 C white sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C corn syrup
1/2 C sweetened condensed milk

Microwave and stir every 2 minutes.  Pour into a greased glass 9x13 pan.  Let set.  Cut and wrap in wax paper.  Store in an air tight container.

6 minutes! That's dangerous.
I do have to admit that the cutting and wrapping part of it is a little tedious, but still well worth it.
Just a word to the wise: do not double.  It doesn't set up as well.
(and corn syrup works better than karo)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

rock stories

I was inspired by this driftwood art.  It was so fun and colorful.  But since I don't have any driftwood around I decided to make my art on rocks for my kids to play with in their sand box.  We made a few different "stories" that we are going to paint with our cousins at a little family get together that is coming up.
Here's our fairy tale rocks.  I used my inspiration from the driftwood art.
Here's the story of the three little pigs.  I loved this art work I saw here.
 And my kids wanted a pet shop, so here it is.
I think they are so cute and can't wait until the kids paint them up.  They are going to be so cute.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

a cup a day...

...keeps the dishwasher empty!I've seen so many cute ideas out there for how to have a place in the kitchen so that kids use only 1 cup a day.  I've loved them all, but wasn't sure how I wanted to do this myself....until I went through that pile of great antique boxes from my mother-in-law.
I found this beauty and she was perfect for the task (the words on it couldn't be more perfect either!) :). 
My kids are great at choosing a cup each morning and then keeping it in their box.  This is also helping us be better at drinking out of cups and not just water bottles and sippies!
These cups are life savers.  They are so cute and fun.  The kids get excited about choosing a different one each day.  They were in a huge bin (or can be found in the party section) at WalMart and were $.87 each.  We bought a bunch.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

daddy's day

We had a nice quiet father's day this year.  It was so nice.  My husband woke up to some cute homemade gifts that his kids were so proud of.  I got these cute bag ideas from here and the cute card from here.

He got a great homemade "back rub" shirt from the kids.  We drew some roads on it for their monster trucks to drive around on to massage his back.  They included some of their favorite destinations on there like our house, the lake, the park, WalMart, Grandma's house, the treasure museum, the train yard, Disneyland...  It was fun to make and they did great art work
They also gave him some "pop its" and told him that he's the best "pops" ever!

I then interviewed each of them and they filled out this questionaire about their dad.  We got some cute responses that will be fun to look back on.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

laundry room

I have been wanting to figure out a way to make my laundry room look a little cuter.  It seems to be the place I just dump and stash and hide things.
 I "went shopping" at my in-laws and found these amazing wooden boxes.  They are so great!   A little stinky and a little dirty, but awesome!  True treasures.

The newspaper lining them was dated January 2, 1950!  What treasures!  The advertisements in them were so fun to see!
So after a little cleaning (okay, a lot) they were good to go.  I love how they look. 
I still need to label my detergent jars and I want to build a table top to go over my machines, but everything around here happens in baby steps.  So probably in another few years that will be done too! :)