December 22, 2011

Kitchen Organization: Create a Magnetic Corkboard

So I decided the magnetic side of our fridge was getting way too cluttered.  It was covered with clips full of coupons, holiday photos, random keepsake magnets, and the essential magnetic notepad (or three…).

Yikes...

Some kind of organization solution was in order.

I decided attaching some of this junk to the inside of the adjacent cabinet door was the best solution, so I found a cheap corkboard at HobLob and stuck it up on the inside of the cabinet door with the adhesive squares that come with it.

Then I started pinning stuff to it….and realized I really like having my coupon stacks in a CLIP and not stuck under a thumb tack.  I need the convenience of being able to flip through the coupons and then stick them back up and go on my merry way.  Stuck under a thumb tack….wasn’t doing it.

But lo and behold….thumb tacks (the standard, boring silver kind) are magnetic!  So I pushed them into the corkboard here and there, and then I just stuck my handy Oxo magnetic clips to the tacks. 

Ok, so “here and there” really means “carefully measured and spaced so they look nice”.  Whatev.  More tacks means more options anyway.

Magnetic corkboardMagnetic clips

Suddenly, the ol’ corkboard became a double duty MAGNETIC corkboard.

SOO much better!  I still have my clips of coupons, but now they’re hidden inside the cabinet door, magnetized to thumb tacks.

I can put my coupons here....or there!

Since not everything makes sense in a clip, I included a few push pins (the kind that don’t kill your nails trying to get them out of the cork).

Push pins for posterity

The fridge still looks cluttered, though it’s much better.  Now it’s mostly just pictures of friends. (With magnets over their faces, for ….temporary decoration!)

Much better

And I suppose that kind of clutter is tolerable. Smile

For another kitchen organization / under-sink organization idea, try using Command hooks for a cabinet door basket

P.S.  Pushing the pushpins into the cork (and measuring their spacing…if you’re a Type A freakazoid like me) before you hang it on your cabinet would be easier than pushing them in after the fact – just a helpful hint!

 

Linked up to: Fireflies & Jellybeans, House of Hepworths

December 16, 2011

Right Now

I saw Sara do this and it looked fun.  I’m gonna throw some random adorable baby pictures in here too.  Just for fun, cause I can’t get enough of her.

Right now I am  . . .

Watching: Income Property.  I’m aimlessly watching Scott build a basement daycare for a couple with newborn twins while testing out some stocking stuffers.  Those babies make me want to go pick up my baby and snuggle her.  But I won’t.  Because she’s napping, and naps are gold…

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Eating: Nothing, but I’m thinking about heating up some coffee from this morning.

Drinking: Maybe that reheated coffee soon?

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Wearing: A white long sleeve V-neck t-shirt.  A long, gray, chunky knit cardigan.  Jeans that I wish were a little skinnier to fit in my boots better.  Christmas socks with penguins on them Smile

Avoiding: Wrapping some gifts.  Getting laundry out of the dryer.  I could probably vacuum/swiff/put clutter away too.  Dairy.  Which stinks, because I’m a dairy fiend.  Milk, cheese, EGG NOG….le sigh. None for me for a while because the munchkin seems to be sensitive to it.

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Feeling: Good, but still a little tired during the day.  Avery now has pretty regular 3-4 hour intervals between nighttime meals.  It seems every new change in the nighttime routine makes me tired for a couple days, even if it’s *more* sleep. 

Missing: My dad.  I think my dad was made to be a grandpa, and he would’ve loved having a grandbaby to dote on.  He looked like Santa and at Christmastime he’d ride around in a Santa suit on his red Harley motorcycle just to see the expressions of all the kids he passed on the road.

Thankful: For a great life, a beautiful, amazing, adorable baby, a handsome, talented, faithful husband who loves me, and a family who values family.

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Weather: Cold and clear.

Needing: To eat less sugar and drink more water.  I have a terrible sweet tooth.  To do the chores I’m avoiding.

Thinking about: Christmas gifts still to procure, a little project for Avery’s room sitting in pieces on the kitchen table, the weekend.

Dreaming:  Of staying home with Avery full time so I don’t miss anything. 

Loving: Avery and our first Christmas season with her.  The joy she brings us is immeasurable.  Just looking at her makes my heart swell.  

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What about you?
What are you doing right now?

December 15, 2011

Holiday Craft: Burlap and Glass

Burlap "wrapped" glass with bow

I’m digging burlap these days, so I’ve been looking for places to use it.

For a little texture combined with sparkle, I decided to put burlap bows on tall glass hurricanes.  But try tying a bow around a glass cylinder….it doesn’t stay in place for long.

Burlap wrapped cylinder

Plus, I wanted more than a bow – I wanted them to look like Christmas packages.

So I used packing tape to stick the burlap to the glass.  It’s clear, after all!

Supplies

I just cut some narrow “ribbons” out of burlap and used the tape to stick it to the glass.

It was quick and easy enough to do while sitting on the floor with Avery (all my projects for a while will be this quick and easy! For better or for worse?)

My assistant...and my child!

Then I finished it up by Gorilla gluing a burlap bow on the front.

Burlap “wrapped” glass – super quick and easy! 

Burlap wrapped glass hurricanes with bow

Throw some filler in the cylinders or a pillar candle, and you’re off to the races with a rustic (and easy, cheap, and FABULOUS) new holiday decoration, if I do say so myself.

Thanks for stopping by!

Linked up to:

Chic on a Shoestring, The Shabby Nest, One Artsy Mama, Tatertots & Jello, The Thrifty Home, House of Hepworths, Fireflies & Jellybeans

December 14, 2011

Thumb Tacks + Nail Polish = Much Better

Another quick little nursery item I’ve been staring at and pondering was the clear push pins I used to hang up the flag pennants.  (Uh, and the threads I never trimmed off the end of the pennants…)

Clear push pins

I thought I was doing pretty well to use clear push pins….but they were still really visible – even from a distance.

And it was bugging me. 

I’m not sure how easy black thumb tacks are to find, but I didn’t really want yet another box of tacks (how many does one household need?  We have at least 2 sets already…). 

So I got to thinking how I could just make a couple of tacks black. (Also, I wanted black thumb tacks instead of push pins, since they’re flat.)

Black thumb tacks

Nail polish!

As trendy as I am (not), I didn’t have black nail polish sitting around so I bought a cheap bottle of it.

Black thumb tacks 2

Verdict?  It works great – disguising thumb tacks has never been easier.  Now I can move on to dwelling on some other minor nursery detail Smile

And now I can breathe!

Thanks for stopping by!  A holiday crafty décor post is coming soon!

December 9, 2011

Nursery Project: Hamper Liner

Well, Hello there!

I’ve been so busy with our new baby girl that you haven’t seen me around these blog parts in a while.  She’s now SIX WEEKS OLD (holey buckets), and I’m gradually gaining more time to do my own thing.

Like laundry.  And swiffing the cat hair off the floor.  And putting on deodorant.

Oh yeah, and the occasional project and blog post. 

Good thing, because as I sit in the nursery feeding Avery multiple times a day (and night – don’t forget those SUPER FUN 3 am feedings!) I’ve had a chance to look around and see a few things that need some attention.

First up:  the hamper.  It needed a hamper liner so we can just gather up the liner when it’s full and haul the load down to the washer – leaving the chunky white plastic hamper upstairs and avoiding an Easter egg hunt for random baby socks that escaped from the pile on the way down.

My first brilliant idea was to use an old pillow case.

Hamper Liner Fail

That didn’t work out very well.

Take 2…

Remember my idea to add some plum to the nursery if we had a girl?  Well, I had an old plum colored curtain panel stashed away.  I cut it up, sewed the pieces back together in a sort of square-bottomed sack, and threaded a bit of elastic and some cord (stitched together) through the old rod pocket. 

Hamper liner from curtain panel

Voila!  A hamper liner from a curtain panel.

Homemade hamper liner

Now it lines the hamper, stays up around the edge, and makes for a quick little laundry bag that goes right in with the load.  Oh yeah, and adds some PLUM color to the nursery.  Boo-ya.

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Also, notice the panda bear night light?  It was made for Avery by her grandpa.  It’s even cuter at night!

November 8, 2011

And Baby Makes 3!

On Saturday, October 29th, after one heck of a whirlwind delivery, we welcomed our first child into the world! 

It was a wonderful moment of tearful laughter amidst total shock of the delivery experience and HOLY COW THIS BABY IS OURS!  AND IT’S A GIRL!  AND SHE’S AMAZING AND PERFECT AND ADORABLE!

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Miss Avery Elizabeth was 7 pounds, 8 ounces, and 19 3/4 inches long.

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She also showed us her impatient side!

Expecting the normal first-time labor of several hours up to 15+ hours, I wasn’t too concerned when contractions finally started early that morning.  We were told not to head to our (insurance-approved) hospital until contractions were 3-5 minutes apart for an hour…so I expected to be home for at least a few more hours before anything really got going.

…the only problem was the contractions went from 10 minutes apart to 3 minutes apart within 90 minutes.  After only 2 hours, I felt the sudden urge to push. We weren’t even out of the house yet!  We were caught completely off guard because it was SO unlike anything anyone had told us.  Call me a wuss, but I was truly afraid I’d be delivering at home, and I wasn’t mentally prepared for that. 

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Instead, I barely made it into the car and Nick raced us to the emergency room at the local hospital (luckily only 10 minutes away.)  Avery was born 8 minutes after we were admitted, less than 3 hours after the first contraction.

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The delivery was a wild ride, to say the least.  Next baby, you might find us camped out in the hospital parking lot a week in advance of the due date!

But now, a week and a half later, we’re doing great.  I’m feeling good, Avery is healthy, happy, and gaining weight, and Nick and I have had some wonderful days at home together learning how to take care of our new baby girl.

Posting may be a little sporadic in the coming couple weeks as I adjust to having a baby and meeting all of her needs, but I’m hoping maternity leave will give me at least some opportunities for blogging.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a warm, squirmy, snuggly week Smile

October 24, 2011

And more waiting…

We’re a week away from this baby’s scheduled due date, and I’m already getting a good dose of instruction in patience. 

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Most of my clothes don’t fit anymore, even the maternity ones.

My back makes a really gross crunching sound with almost every step.

The couch has become the most comfortable (and boring) place to be.

Motivation to leave the house is at an all-time low.

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And we’re generally getting pretty good at waiting.

And I’m getting plenty of opportunities to stare at various areas around the house and come up with project ideas….the natural consequence of boredom!

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Did I mention we’re scheduled to get a winter storm this week?  Baby will probably decide to make his/her entrance that day and we’ll get to finagle the hour-long drive to the hospital in the snow.

That’s the word from Murphy, at least.

Meanwhile, to do *something*  (ANYTHING), and get out of the house yesterday, we took a walk and played with our new camera.

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We’re getting a little better at using our camera, although I’m not sure a bad picture could be taken this time of year regardless of the camera!  Nick took most of these pictures – and at least one was even taken as we were still driving.

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Thought you’d like them, you know, in lieu of anything more interesting….like a baby.  Or a project reveal.  Or a really big project reveal…..like a baby?  The last 10% of a project is always the hardest to complete, after all. 

Any day now… Smile

October 21, 2011

Butternut Squash Custard Bake

I posted this recipe last fall.

But I just made it again, and it knocks my (and hubby’s) socks off, so it deserves another mention.

Squash Bake 1

Just to be clear….this dish is kind of like a veggie dessert.  It’s not quite as dessert-y as pumpkin pie, but it’s definitely crossing into the gray area between a sweet side dish and an all-out fall dessert. 

And that’s (partially) why it’s so awesome! 

I have no idea what to call this.  The original recipe calls it “Butternut Squash Casserole”, (blech!) but I think that’s a misnomer because I’ve never had a casserole that tastes so much like dessert.  (I also recently made a “yellow squash casserole”, and since we were expecting something as good as this recipe, that version was just about inedible.)

So I’m going to call it….Butternut Squash Custard Bake instead. 

Ready?

First, you’ll roast the squash – the original recipe roasts it differently, but I think my way is easier:

Grab yourself a butternut squash.  They’re pretty big, whitish-colored squashes in the veggie department.image

Slice it lengthwise down the middle.

Scoop the little bit of seeds out.

Put the halves face down on a rimmed baking sheet (flat side down – because we all know where the squash’s face is, right?)

Bake it at 375 for an hour.

When it’s done, let it cool (or not – I’m too impatient), and use a spoon to scoop out the cooked squash from the hard rind. Throw out the rind.

Then you’ll make the filling:

Put the cooked squash in a blender. 

Add:  1/2 C white sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1.5 C milk

Dash of vanilla and salt

3 eggs

2 Tbsp flour

1/4 C melted margarine

Blend it all nice and smooth.

Transfer your mixture to a 9x13 pan and bake it at 425 for 45 minutes.

And finally, you’ll make the topping:

While it’s baking,

Mix 1/2 C melted margarine with 1/2 C brown sugar and half a box of vanilla wafers (crushed up please).

After 45 minutes, take it out of the oven and add the topping.

Put it back in the oven at the same temp until the crumb topping is sufficiently brown/crispy, 5-10 minutes. 

Squash Bake 2

Watch your family members appear from the various nooks and crannies asking what that amazing smell is, and try not to burn yourself dishing it up before it’s cool!

Now excuse me while I go dish some up for breakfast…

Sig2

October 13, 2011

A Scandinavian Table Prayer

Scandinavian / Norwegian Table Prayer

A lovely reader emailed me recently about the Norwegian table prayer sitting on the buffet in our dining room.  Since this isn’t the first time I’ve gotten questions on that prayer, I thought I’d just do a little post about it. 

My mom’s side of the family is from a heavily Scandinavian part of the country, and although they’ve got some Swedish in them, they seem to identify most with their Norwegian roots.  But, you know….Norwegian, Swedish….it all boils down to Scandinavian!

“Welkommen” signs next to front doors, exclamations of “uff da”, and the occasional mention of lefse or the joke about lutefisk are not unusual when the family gets together.  (If you haven’t heard about lutefisk, it’s herring pickled in lye, and it seems to be one of those things that you either love or can’t stand the sight of!)

Have I mentioned that I actually find lefse in the grocery store these days!??  Mmmm.  We only buy it around Christmas, but yum. Good stuff.  (Potato tortillas covered in butter and sugar – how could you possibly go wrong?)

Scandinavian Table Prayer

Apparently, my grandma understands Norwegian, and I believe her parents spoke it fluently.  One of these days, when Rosetta Stone starts offering Norwegian, I might actually try to learn some myself!  (hint hint Rosetta Stone!)

Not too long ago, a large group of extended family even traveled to Norway to see the “homestead” from which our ancestors came oh….five generations ago (or so.)

So.  Now that you’re sufficiently dozing off….back to the prayer.  It’s a rather large frame, so it’s tough to get the whole prayer in focus (it extends the entire length of our buffet!) Also, I can’t take credit for the translation.  It’s written on the back of the frame, and I’ve heard it from family members often enough to have it memorized.

Scandinavian Table Prayer 2

It reads:

I Jesu navn går vi til bords
å spise, drikke på ditt ord.
Deg, Gud til ære, oss til gavn,
Så får vi mat i Jesu navn.

Amen.

And in English, the translation is:

In Jesus' name to the table we go
To eat and drink according to His word.
To God the honor, us the gain,
So we have food in Jesus' name.
Amen.

As for where I got it, it was a wedding gift from an aunt, and I think one of her neighbors actually made it.  Sorry I can’t point you to a specific source for it, but I’m sure if you must have one, they’re probably out there if you google around.

Happy Thursday!

Sig2

October 11, 2011

A Halloween Treat

Peanut butter ball bats

With Baby’s arrival anticipated for the day after Halloween, our Halloween plans are pretty much nil this year. 

No annual Halloween party.

No costumes (even though painting my belly like a basketball and wearing a jersey would be SO fun!)

No plans for the trick-or-treaters.  Sorry.  We’re probably going to be one of the boring, dark, undecorated, uninviting houses this year. 

No legitimate reason to make any fun Halloween treats.

Awww…..

But wait!  It’s football season!

Football game afternoons with friends are a great excuse for treats, dips, and other goodies, so why not make some Halloween fun a little early???

Bat peanut butter balls 1

The hubby and I got to brainstorming what kind of cute, easy little treats we could take to a football shindig this past Sunday. 

Lately, I’ve been making and eating peanut butter balls as a “high protein snack” recommended by the doc….and those round little PB balls are a pretty good shape to make into a lot of different things….

Like ….bats?

Peanut butter ball bats 2

We just needed some “bat wings”,  a way to darken the bats…and some “eyes” and “fangs”…

Chocolate to the rescue!!!

Hershey’s chocolate rectangles cut on the diagonal made great bat wings!

Rolling the balls in cocoa powder made them darker brown… (and wasn’t too bitter.)

And some white icing and sprinkles made excellent bat faces!

Bat peanut butter balls 3

Despite being pretty darn cute…..these “vampire bats” were also tasty little critters, and they were polished off in no time.

I guess you can’t go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter!

(I used my go-to peanut butter ball recipe, and I think any recipe would work just as well.  But if you really want mine, let me know and I’ll post it.)

 

Linked up to:

Blue Cricket Design, The Thrifty Home, House of Hepworths, the Shabby Creek Cottage

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