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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Snail Shell Remodel



It feels like every time I post lately, I'm apologizing for how long its been since my last post! This time I have an even better excuse! We were in Israel and Jordan for 2 weeks. It was amazing, and life changing. I'm sure I will post about all that soon but today I have a fun little project.

When we were gone my kids stayed with my amazing parents! They deserve a medal! While they were there my youngest went to the lake with my dad and picked out these snail shells for me. Sorry buddy but they were pretty ugly! Because they were from him and he was so excited to give them to me I really wanted to find a way to keep them. So I decided on a little remodel!


Ahhhh! much better!

This was a fun and easy project and I will show you what I did, plus some ideas for showing these little beauty's off!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Laundry Time Saving Ideas

An Update:

Before I share with you an amazing way to cut laundry  time down to about an hour per week, I have to explain my recent absence. I had some major issues with my blog! For starters I had changed my email address quite a while ago and thought I had updated it in all the right places on blogger. Nope. My domain name ended up expiring without me being notified and you couldn't come here! I felt like my arm had been cut off! 
It took a week of emailing up the chain at Google to get the problem sorted out. I was so relieved but a week later when I was at my mom's house, my mom tried to pull up my blog to show my aunt something and got redirected. I thought that it must have been just on her computer but when I got home and tried to access my blog on my IPad, I too got redirected. I could have cried!
It has taken weeks of research and help from friends to rectify what appeared to be a blogjacking, but I'm so thankful to be back!

A Disclaimer:

 Despite the frustration it has also been a good time of reflection. I don't ever want my blog to be my identity. I also don't want it to be a way for me to show off my talents or anything I have. My goal is to share ideas for your home and your family that make things more organized, easier, and saves money. We all want a 'homey home' that reflects who we are and gives our family a place of safety and security. I hope you find ideas for that here! Thank you for following along, and sharing this journey with me!



What you really came for:



Of all of the home chore responsibilities, the one that by far takes the longest is laundry! It seriously takes me hours each week to wash, dry, fold and put away laundry for my family of 6. I spend time every day doing this! As much as I love my family, and feel its a God given privilege to serve them this way, I'm all for a short cut!
After a particularly frustrating weekend where I even stayed home from church to fold the 12 load mountain in my living room, I knew things had to change! I started doing research online and found some great ideas. I incorporated several of them to totally streamline the laundry process and literally cut HOURS out of my weekly laundry doing schedule! I feel like a new woman! 

Let me first say that this system is not perfect yet but it is loads better {no pun intended!} This may not be the system for you but hopefully it will give you ideas for how you can streamline your own laundry process. 

Before we get into the nuts and bolts you need to know that my kids are 5, 8, 9, & 11.
You also have to give up any idea of perfection. It took me a while, but I've finally arrived! And I try to buy mostly wash and wear clothing. We do iron on Sunday before church just what we are wearing for that day. {Oh, and my amazing hubby irons his own clothes each morning before work}.


Here's what we do:

Each kiddo has their own laundry basket and are responsible to bring their load down to the laundry room when its full, or when I ask.

I wash and dry their clothes.

As they come out of the dryer I take about 3 minutes per load to inside any out that need it and sort back into their baskets.

After 5-7 mixed loads their baskets are usually full {about once a week} and I have them take their own basket, "fold" it and put their clothes in their drawers. This is where I had to relax. I was finding that even after I had folded their clothing neatly it all became a jumbled mess after a day or two in their drawers. They know what item goes in what drawer and as long as they make it there I'm happy.

I fold and put away my husbands clothes, my own, and the towels and sheets.

This systems literally saves me hours each week! It also gives my kids ownership and teaches them responsibility. They even are beginning to give more thought about what gets thrown in the laundry because they know they will have to fold it and put it away again. 



If you need some more laundry time saving ideas try some of these:


  • Color code your kids towels. That way everyone knows whose towel is who's. You use a towel when you are clean so these only need washing 1-2 times per week. Give them each a hook in the bathroom or their bedroom to keep this towel off the floor and ready for its next use.
  • Even really young kids can learn to strip their own sheets off the bed, or pick up laundry off the floor. When my kids were able to walk we started showing them how to pick up, they thought it was great fun!
  • Unless you spill breakfast on them, jammies can be worn for several nights in a row before washing. Get your kids in the habit of putting them under the pillow when they take them off in the morning.
  • Help create laundry ownership by allowing your kids to decorate the outside of their laundry basket or put color coded ribbons on the handles.
  • Only sort what you have to. I basically do two types of loads. Darks, and lights. Dark towels, and shirts get washed with dark jeans. Light sheets get washed with socks, and gray T's. 

I would love to hear any other time saving ideas you have!

Thanks for stopping by! Its good to be back! :)









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Too Much Time

Monday, February 17, 2014

Pinterest Recipe Hits and Misses



I love searching Pinterest for great recipes. Unfortunately you can't trust what the description says all the time; "The best brownies of all time", sadly is not always true. 

I have tried many different recipes and am always amazed and excited when I land on a true winner. A while ago I shared this post about some of my faves so far, but I included only the good ones. Today I thought I would also include what I didn't like, you know, sound the horn so to speak on ones you may want to avoid. 

This first one is so good that I can't believe I've lived without it!

Swig Sugar Cookies: Hit!


To start with, this one was my all time favorite! These cookies I am sure are solely responsible for the extra 5 pounds I'm currently sporting. They are so good! Mandi from Vintage Revivals shared them {she has a great blog, if you haven't visited, check it out!} The only thing that I discovered after making them a few times is that they don't call for any vanilla. They are super good without but I like to add it at least to the frosting. 




Glazed Donut Muffins: The Jury is still out


Next are these glazed donut muffins. My kids love donuts {in fact, if you ask 2 of them what their favorite food is they will say "donuts" without hesitation} so I thought they'd go wild about these. Being a muffin, they are certainly much denser than a donut. The glaze is good but it gets sticky after a while. So all in all, the taste was good but unfortunately this one won't make it into the recipe box. 



Chocolate chocolate white chocolate chip cookies: Hit


Now what can't the Pioneer Woman make? There are many things she makes that I love but this was a new discovery and it has made the recipe box! These Chocolate chocolate white chocolate chip cookies are yummy! {And if you think they might have chocolate in them, you're right!} ;)




Homemade Marinara Sauce: Hit


I wanted to make my own spaghetti sauce. I had some large canning jars that I knew would be perfect for the job. I did a lot of pinning and researching of those pins and came up with this super recipe. I doubled it and got four jars of sauce out of it. The sauce is so soooo good. The house smells amazing while you're making it. I added maybe a half a cup of red wine just to thin it a bit and it adds a lot of depth to the sauce. The great thing about this sauce is that you can freeze it.





Yummy Chicken: Hit {with variation}

I'm all about easy. At least when it comes to meals. So I was all over this chicken recipe.
The recipe calls for Mayo. Now if you know me at all you will know that I have a strong aversion to anything mayo, so instead I used sour cream. Everyone liked this dish. They didn't love it. But getting everyone to like something is still quite an accomplishment in this house and worthy of the recipe box! Another great thing about this recipe is that I almost always have these ingredients on hand. That makes this recipe a hit!



Homemade Taco Seasoning: Hit


This recipe came from a person on pinterest not a website, but it originally was from Rachel Ray, Im guessing from her magazine. This is definitely a hit. This is a super easy way to make your own taco seasoning. My only criticism is that my husband thinks its too garlicky. I love it! The great thing about it is you can customize it over time based on your family's tastes. I add 1T  per pound of hamburger and about 1/4 cup of water. 

            This is just full of flavor. Simply spices! 1 T chili powder, 1 T ground cumin, 1 T garlic powder, 1 T onion powder, 1/4–½ T crushed red pepper





Caramel Stuffed Pumpkin Cookies: Miss

These cookies looked amazing. So I made them with high expectations. I can't lie and say they weren't good, they were; but only when they first came out of the oven. As soon as they cooled the caramel became rock hard; as in break your teeth hard. I suppose you could heat them up again the microwave but I don't want to bother. If you are a coffee drinker they might be good dunked. 



Mmmmmm. All this food makes me want to cook! I hope you try of few of these. Let me know how they turn out for you!


Monday, January 27, 2014

Kitchen Remodel Stage 57



When you have a tight budget, costly renovations have to come in stages.

Three years ago we started our kitchen reno.
Today, we are one more step closer to being "done".

It may be a slight exaggeration to say that this is the 57th stage, but it feels a bit that way. In all reality here are the steps.

1) Redo flooring on the main level {this included the kitchen}
2) Add beadboard backsplash in kitchen and add shelving under counter.
3) New kitchen faucets
4) Begin upgrading kitchen appliances
5) Paint kitchen cabinets
6) Upgrade window hardware
7) Finish upgrading kitchen appliances

7.....57, it all feels the same! :)

So here we are at #7.

If you want to see the dramatic before, check out this post here.



This stage began with the malfunction of the dishwasher purchased during stage 4. Almost 3 years ago.
We bought a Fridgidaire. I bought it because it was pretty. Very lame! Its downfall began when my 4 year old fell and landed on the open door....a couple of times. The door then opened all the way to the floor and if you weren't careful with how you loaded it, it would leak. So when the error code came on and I called the company I knew this was the beginning of the end. {Despite the issues Fridgidaire has good customer service!} We were told it was either the vent unit or the electrical panel. When we called a repairman he said, "its almost never the electrical panel". In order to not be wasteful {and I have a really handy hubby} we decided to buy a new vent unit and with the help of Google, replace it ourselves. Ya, that didn't work. At this point we were out the price of the part. If we proceeded with this DW we would have to pay for a service call, diagnostic, parts and labor and that total could be at or near the cost of a new one. Because of the other issues we were having with the old one already we bit the bullet and bought a new one.



We had been waiting to purchase the new stove and above stove microwave. This was important because we have a small kitchen already and we need all the space we can get! We decided to get the rest of the appliances now because of the discount we could get.


We went with Samsung.

We purchased the Samsung refrigerator almost 3 years ago and if an appliance can change your life, this one has! If you have to buy in phases, start here. I am sure I still hear an angelic choir each time I open the doors!


The microwave we had before was in that corner where the mixer is now. Its funny how that small change led to the switching around of my cabinets. My baking items were to the left of the stove but the measuring cups and my mixer were to the right.


Now its feeling more functional and organized!





Love!






Now the big question you may be asking is, is it done? Well, I am very thankful for what I have and am happy with it for now, but the last phase of this project is the counter top. It is laminate and has been very durable but it is turning green in places where the sun has shone on it for the past 14 years. Who knows when that will happen. It certainly isn't high on the priority list.

Thanks for stopping by!







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Between naps on the porch

Monday, January 20, 2014

Grandma's Peanut Butter Cookies



There are a bajillion peanut butter cookies out there. So what makes this one so special?

Well, besides the fact that this is my grandma's recipe {and don't all grandma's make them the best}, these cookies are the chewy-est, most tender, and super yummiest, I've ever had. {How do ya like them adjectives?!}

I don't like a crispy peanut butter cookie. You want them tender. 

If you haven't had a tender PB cookie you are so missing out. But don't despair because I'm going to share this recipe with you today!




Here's the basic recipe:

1 cup of shortening
1 cup of peanut butter
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of brown sugar
2 eggs {beaten}
1 Tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups of flour





Mix your shortening, and peanut butter.
Add eggs and sugars and combine well.
Mix in flour and soda till combined.



Drop from spoon on an ungreased baking sheet. {I like air bake pans}. Press lightly with a fork to make that signature "X" shape after dipping your fork in white sugar.






Bake @ 325 degrees for about 15-17 minutes.
They are done when they don't have that sheen on the top, are set and the edges are just barely about to brown. Let them cool a few minutes on the pan then transfer to a cooling rack.



You must serve them with milk!









Enjoy!


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Harbor Cottage



I am so excited to be sharing something with you today!

My new friend Shauna has this beautiful cottage that she and her hubby remodeled.

What I love the most about it is that it isn't overdone. Its not pretentious. Its a place that you can walk into and immediately feel at home.
Not everything is new. In fact most of it isn't. Some of the key items came from craigslist. {Seriously, I want to be a craigslist stalker after seeing some of what they "found".}

My favorite room is the kitchen.
They saved money in key ways like getting granite that looks like marble and recycling items such as the pantry door.




Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Valentine's Wreath Ideas



This past weekend I went on a retreat with an amazing group of ladies from my church. We stayed at a beautiful cottage in a harbor town in norther Michigan. So Pretty! {I promise I will share pics of this amazing place soon.}

We laughed, we talked, and we even got crafty!

For the weekend craft we all made yarn Valentine wreaths. I went in with a specific style that the ladies could customize by using different colors. In the end they all did something different and the results were beautiful!

If you've never made a yarn wreath before they are an easy project and are a great way to add color to your front door. They all start with a foam base {that are even cheaper online than in the stores}, yarn and felt for embellishment. A hot glue gun keeps everything secure.





The original "template"was the argyle heart model. Here Shauna added some of these cute felt flowers.

Isn't Sherry cute? She claimed she is not a crafter but she found her inner craft diva with this cute wreath {and it even matches her shirt}!


Here's how they turned out:









So fun! I definitely recommend doing this with friends.

If you want to make one of these but don't know how, check out this tutorial here.

And to make the felt flowers you can follow this tutorial here.

Come on back this weekend and I will show you this amazing cottage! :)

Thanks for stopping by!


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