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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Best Brownies Recipe

Today is a yummy one!

Everyone needs great basic brownie recipe. Its a staple, kind of like having flour or sugar on hand.

And this recipe doesn't disappoint. Its simple, easy and perfect every time!

The great thing about a basic brownie recipe is that you can customize it to your liking. If you want nuts, add nuts. If want to add candy bars, chop em up and throw em in!

We like chocolate chips on top!

These brownies are also perfect with a big scoop of ice cream. {Of course what isn't good with ice cream?}

So if you want to mix some up, here's what you'll need:

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Then grease a 9x13 pan.

Here's what you'll do:

Mix together 2 cups of sugar and 2/3 cups of baking cocoa
Melt 2/3 cup of butter and mix it in with your sugar and cocoa. Real butter makes a big difference, if you have some this is what you will want to use.
Next add your eggs. The original recipe calls for 4 eggs but I prefer 3. 3 eggs makes the brownies less
cake-y and more fudgey/chewy. Mix well.
Then add:
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour
and mix until smooth and well combined.

Pour into your greased pan and add your chocolate chips on top. {I like them on top because you can more evenly distribute them without over doing the chocolate}

Bake for 25 minutes, cool and serve!

They are so good! They beat a box any day! Oh, and you will certainly need a large glass of milk!

Enjoy! Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Making it work~keeping it cute!

I might as well call this "Command Center Update #57". 

If you follow my blog at all, its a space you've seen, well, a few times. {But who's counting?}

Whenever I come up with something new that works, I am so excited to share it with you!

So that's what this is, a 'something new' post that makes my life easier, and some fun new products from a talented artist that I want to share!

You're getting your money's worth today! ;)  {And if you are thinking "wait, I have to pay for this info?", then no, this is your lucky day!} :)

This is the busiest little corner in my kitchen.

Its where I blog, pay bills, store school papers, track kids reading time, remember who has what job this week, keep track of "chore marks", schedule my life, listen to music, keep paint chips and fabric samples, etc. I'm sure I could go on, but I don't want to lose you.

I'm always looking for ways to stay on top of it all! {Oh, and be cute, lets not forget  the cute!}


Well, it all just came together!

These metal bins from IKEA are great for keeping my life simpler and organized. And if you noticed I said metal, you will realize just how this makes them more versatile. Magnets, my friends. Did you know you can buy them on a role that sticks on one side and you can cut them? Oh, yes!

In our house my kids each have a dinner chore {besides other weekly chores}. Their dinner chores though are the only jobs that rotate, and can I tell you what a pain its been trying to remember who has what job on what week? Well, here's where it gets magical, I made a job card for them, laminated it and added a magnet to the back! Ta da! 

{Its a label stuck to a piece of wrapping paper}

Then, I made some check marks and laminated them, also adding magnets to the back. 

If you remember from my chore mark post, the purpose of the chore mark system is that if my kids don't pick up after themselves {on the main floor~where I have to see it} they earn a mark. Three earned marks in a week translates into 1 hour worth of chores that they have to do for mom! {I love this system!} Sadly they are getting better at it and I don't often have the cleaning help.

So, on the side of the bins I can tally their check marks.

Here comes some of the cute.

Notice that little owl, and the magnetized photo corners?

They are by a talented artist named Carol Roeda.

She has a few stores and a great website and she sells a amazing selection of really cute magnets, boards and ways to tell your own personal story in a unique way.
{Let me tell you, her magnets are way stronger than any you will buy on a roll} 

I love these photo corners especially because they are so versatile. You could use them to more neatly display photos on your fridge, hang cards or used on one of the metal boards that Carol sells.

I love the system she has for telling your story. 

You start with a base, add some embellishments then add your own pictures.

Later in the week I have more of her things that I want to share with you, but today is just a peek. 

If you are super impatient you can check out her website here, but come back later for a chance to save on any of your purchases with a special coupon code.

Thank you for indulging me in another command center post. {I can't promise it will be the last!}

Stop back later in the week for a chance to save on Carol's products!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pantry Update

My pantry, lately, has become a bit of an eyesore. Its tired, worn and super messy!

I took some time this weekend to thoroughly clean it out. I am ashamed to say I came away with a trash bag full of empty boxes, expired food and stale crackers. {Its one thing to get the kids to put things away, quite another to get the boxes closed securely!}

I even found an empty juice pouch....really?!

Once I got it all cleaned out I decided that it needed a bit of a refurbish. One that time and money could handle!

Each of the shelf edges were wearing through the cheapy finish on them.

 I decided to take some decorative tape, {washi type} to finish off the edges. {I think mine is Scotch brand~more inexpensive}

All I did to prep the edges was to clean them well and let them dry. The tape adheres securely.

As a side note, I love using open baskets to empty out those packages into. All the snacks are together and are handy. I even use a basket in my fridge for all those sticks of butter.

The edges look more finished and hopefully distract you from the poor finish on the inside of the cabinet!

Copper approves!

I even added some tape to frame out my chalkboards.

Will pretty tape help you keep your pantry organized? Probably not! Will it look cute anyways, definitely! 

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Color Inspiration: Black

Yes black. I suppose it could be argued that its not really a color, but I believe it is the presence of all color. Using black in your decor helps to ground a space. Its like the mascara for your room. Put a room together without black and if not done well it can look a bit flat. Sometimes just adding a bit a black can give a space some extra oomph. Overdone, it feels dark, heave and moody. Black comes in various shades and it can be less overwhelming in some charcoal tones. 

My favorite use of black is in small doses. If you aren't sure of where your loyalties lie with black, check out this inspiration and draw your own conclusions.

This is another great use of black. Everything else pops on this backdrop.

This charcoal is a muted down version of black and very chic.

I'm sure by now you know how I love a striped ceiling!

If you haven't read the blog Life in Grace, you are in for a treat. Check out the rest of her daughter's bedroom.

This is drama. I love how the wooden table helps to keep this space from feeling too gothic.

See how the greenery pops with the black and white decor. Any color introduced to this scheme will have that effect.

The use of black here provides a lot of drama but not in a heavy way.

Now this last one is by far my favorite. Light and airy, but well grounded. That's what black does. 

So what's your favorite use of black?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Homemade Scrubbies

My Grandmother is ingenius! She is crafty, creative and at 90 has more energy than I will ever hope to have! She has enough money to live very comfortably but has made the choice to live well below her means and make the most of what she has. I am always humbled and inspired whenever I get to see her. {Which isn't that often as she lives several states away}. 

When I saw this book in her bathroom, I had to chuckle, because this is so her:

"1000 ways to make everything you have last longer"

I love it! And I need to aspire to be more like this!

So when she showed me this project, I knew I had to share it with you. This was first made by my aunt and is a great way to reuse something you already have.

This scrubby for dishes is made out of a wedding veil, or tulle. Cool, huh?

Because I didn't want to sacrifice my wedding veil I went to Hobby Lobby and found tulle on sale for .89 cents a yard. I bought I yard which is about enough for 2-3 scrubbies. 

My grandma's is the white one and it lays fat beautifully. Mine, I hate to say, looks like an ineffective condom. I will testify however that it does do the scrubbing job quite nicely.

If you want to make one, I will try to help.

These scrubbies were made using a one inch strip of the tulle and a crochet hook. Yes, you are going to crochet them. If you don't know how to crochet it is really quite simple and there are tons of tutorials out there. I was able to use a standard size hook.

When my first attempt turned out a bit cone shaped I contacted my aunt Linn and these were her instructions:

"In your first crochet loop, crochet 8 stitches to make the first circle. For the next circle row, crochet twice in each stitch. Next row crochet twice in every other stitch, once in between. Continue that way for a row or two and then reduce to crochet twice every third stitch. The object is to get a flat circle and you can adjust the stitches however you need to to get it to lay flat. {It won't}."

Good luck! I am still trying to perfect mine. They work great, just as well as any other scrubby you might buy, and I love that this is something that you can make from something you might already have!

{My Gram and me}

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Best Homemade Pizza

We are a pizza loving family!

And I grew up in one of those families too!

My dad was the pizza maker at our house and one night a week he would make his "famous" pizza. From my dad I learned the finer points of seasoning the crust, and although I don't make pizza exactly like he did, I still owe the yummyness all to him! :)

My dad always used frozen bread dough. This works well but I have found that the frozen pizza dough at our local grocery store is a little better.

If you want to make homemade pizza, here's what you'll need:

What I have here is for two pizzas:

1 jar of your favorite sauce
2 pizza dough {thawed}
2 ball of whole mozzarella 
Parmesan cheese
Garlic powder
several tablespoons of margarine or butter

Here's what I do!

+First, lightly spray your pans with a non-stick spray. 
+Preheat your oven. {Follow your directions on the dough package, mine says 450.}
+Spread your dough in your pan. I usually stretch it out with my hands first then when its pretty big I will put it in the pan and work it out to the edges.

+Melt your margarine and brush it on the edges of the crust.
+Sprinkle parmesan cheese and garlic powder to taste around the edges of the dough.

+Spread your pizza sauce on your pizza dough to taste. If you like a lot put a lot, if you like a little, use only a little.

Now comes the best part, the whole mozzarella! This seriously is what makes this pizza! I am telling you once you try it, you will never go back to that processed shredded stuff!

Now comes the part that is all you. Add your favorite toppings.

I have cheese lovers at my house so we usually do one with just cheese. If I have some whole grated parmesan I add some of this. We also like a bit of garlic so I add a dash more to the top. Tonight we had some peppers and my hubby likes those so we made one half just for him.

Bake them until they look done. The crust will be full and lightly browned and the cheese will be all melty and yummy {about 10 minutes}.

If you haven't used whole mozzarella before, a word from the wise: Let your pizza sit for about 5 minutes before serving; otherwise you will lose all of your cheese. It needs to firm up a bit.

Another tip:
If you are making more than one pizza at a time, cook each one alone. This allows the heat to circulate better and your crust will be done all the way through. Cooking them both together leads to a doughy center.

What is so great about making your own pizza?

Its your own!
If you like a sweeter sauce add a little sugar.
If you like your cheese a little brown, cook it longer.
If you like a cheesier/spicier crust add more.
And kids love to help!

By buying the frozen dough it really is a quick supper to make {provided you remember to get the dough out before you leave for work in the morning!}

I hope you enjoy one of our family's favorites!

Thanks for stopping by!

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