i should be mopping the floor: 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Rain Gutter Bookshelves

I have found a bunch of ideas for kids' bookshelves, but none have really seemed as easy and inexpensive as the rain gutter bookshelves that are blowing up my Pinterest boards! LOVE 'em.

It couldn't have been any easier. We used THIS tutorial. We cut the 10' gutter in half (turn it over to cut, don't attempt to cut from top to bottom). We didn't actually sand the edges since we were using the end caps (BTW, be sure to grab separate LEFT and RIGHT end caps).

Attach the gutter brackets to the wall (we used three for a five foot shelf). Make sure to get one or two of them into a stud. Then simply slide the gutter into the brackets. 

Then fill them up! LOVE that my kiddos can see the front of the books...makes them pick them up more!

The one on the top bunk was a lot easier without all the bending-crouching-installation!

I love seeing the photos of the gutter shelves with several in a row! So fun!
This is an easy project that can be done in an hour or two. LOVE!

Partying here: Delightful Order, Savvy Southern Style, The Thrifty Home, Blue Cricket Design, Somewhat Simple, The Shabby Creek Cottage, Katie's Nesting Spot, Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home, Ta-Da Tuesday, Fingerprints on the Fridge, Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now, Homemaker in Heels, Between Naps on the Porch

Kitchen Countertops Part One (more like a preview!)

{Part One of Two Posts}

   Featured At Serenity Now

This is by no means a reveal post...you can find the reveal HERE. Just wanted to get a few photos up (mainly because we're antsy and in the middle of a major drying-time, trying to wait for the next step). But, we are in the beginning stages of redoing our kitchen (this will actually be the second redo since we moved here...wowzers, we're nuts). 

BUT IT IS A VERY WORDY POST! HERE'S WHY: I have been researching countertops for months and a friend told me about this new Rustoleum Countertop Transformations. It frustrated me that I couldn't find a whole lot of blogs with too much info (or photos) on them. I did find several that were in fact FANTASTIC. When it's all said & done, I plan to go find those links and stick 'em up here. But, I am hoping the next two blog posts (this one and the actual reveal. . .hoping it will be up by the weekend) will be a bit more extensive into the process this is. So far, we absolutely LOVE it. My husband kind of has an instant eye-roll that kicks in when I start thinking of DIY projects that I run across on blogs. His mantra is that it's never as easy as it looks on the site (and 9 times out of 10 he's right...hello, bathroom project). However, this product is definitely proving to be the exception. It is easy. The one thing they don't tell you is how messy it is. Holy moly, we have decorative chips coming out of our ears (literally). The instructions say you can use a dust pan and sweeper if you don't have a shop vac. We actually already have the shop vac and wouldn't recommend doing this without it. All that to say...hoping this helps others out there make an informed decision on their countertop redo!


I've been researching counters for awhile now. We had a man come out and give us an estimate for granite and quartz. It would have been over $3,000...which is just more than we want to put into counters in this particular house. Plus that's for the 2cm (the cheapest, skimpiest cut) and our current counters already sit at 4 cm and have a lip over the cabinets. If you've been through a kitchen remodel, you probably know where I'm going with this. We'd have to rework the way the counters would sit on the cabinets, etc. etc. And while we plan to refinish/paint the cabinetry, it may be a few months (like the next time the hubs is off of work...say spring break or even July). If we had gone for the 4 cm in a stone, we were looking at way over $4,000 (like closer to 5). Plus we have an existing tile backsplash that we actually want to keep (it may not be the most current, but, baby it cleans like a dream and is super durable)! The granite man was explaining the process of cutting the tile and grout to fit in the new counters and all I kept hearing was "ca-ching, ca-ching". 

This is one of our before shots taken from the sink side of the kitchen over to the stove area.

And this is the product we bought. We actually purchased it in the "desert sand" color to match our existing backsplash. It is $250 at Lowe's. It includes *almost* everything you need, with the exception of drop cloths, paint tape, paint trays, 2 paint brushes and 2 paint rollers. We had a lot of this on hand already. If I were you, I wouldn't use your good Purdy paint brushes for this one. The adhesive will ruin them. Just get synthetic since chances are you'll be tossing them. 

Make sure to cover your lower cabinets with plastic. My husband can be a bit of a "Hurried Harry" when it comes to prep work, but even he admitted later that this is worth the time you put into it. We also covered the floor with paint cloths...although that was debatable. Those chips go everywhere. We ended up dumping what we could off of the paint cloths onto the floor to use the shop vac on them.

Applying the adhesive. Lay it on THICK! Be especially mindful of the seams. We've had to do some touch ups today on a few seams that we could still see.

The decorative chip dispenser...WAY FUN! Seriously, pile them on. We have a whole TWO bags of chips leftover. (Granted, this kit was for 50 square feet of space and ours isn't quite that much...but still...use all the chips you can).

The chips then have to sit overnight (at least 12 hours). Then it's shop vac time. Start sucking away.

And use the scraper to knock down any chips sticking up.

This is where we are at so far! We are also sanding down with the diamond sanding block that was in the kit. We are currently waiting on the touch ups to dry so we can pour on the glossy top coat. Seriously can't wait for it to be done! We're living on take-out right now (and probably will be while it cures!)

Can't wait to post the finished product! I'll hopefully get it up within a week!
If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I'll try to address them within the comments area so others may see them, too! ;)

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Partying Here: Savvy Southern Style, Works for me Wednesday, The Thrifty Home, Blue Cricket Design, Domestically Speaking, Someday Crafts, We did it Wednesday, DIY Thrifty Thursday, Delightful Order, Somewhat Simple, The Shabby Creek Cottage, Katie's Nesting Spot, Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home, Ta-Da Tuesday, Weekend Bloggy Hopping at Serenity Now, Homemaker in Heels

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Crock Pot Girls' Reader Recipes...Need to PIN These Recipes

I adore those CrockPot girls on Facebook. And I frequent (and cook from) their web site a lot. I use my slow cooker 2-4 times a week. By far, it's one of my hardest working appliances.

But, I also LOVE the reader posted recipes on Facebook. And it makes me so sad that I can't post them to Pinterest. So, I thought I'd start an ongoing post with some of the recipes that readers have left on their Facebook page. It will be WAY easier for me (and you, if you'd like) to access my favorites....and add to them when another FAVE pops up.

Cranberry Apple Pork Loin Roast 1 (3 to 4 lb. ) boneless pork loin roast
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can whole cranberry sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup apple juice
2 apples, cored, peeled and coarsely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Place roast in slow cooker; rub all over with the minced garlic. Add remaining ingredients and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours
Mix all ingredients in crockpot …
1 clove minced garlic
1lb 13oz can peeled pureed tomatoes
1 can (6oz) tomato paste
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 ½ cup shredded italian cheese
½ cup onion
¼ cup celery

In a medium bowl mix …
2lbs ground beef
shredded italian cheese
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp pepper
1 ½ tsp salt
4 eggs
1 cup italian bread crumbs
Make balls and place in pot with sauce. Cook on low 8 hrs or high 5 hrs. Makes great meatball 
sandwiches, lasagna, spaghetti, etc ….
Chicken & Dumplings Recipe 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used 2 very large ones)
2 tablespoons butter
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can chicken broth
1 onion diced
1 tablespoon dried parsley
4 grands flaky refrigerator biscuits

Place chicken in crock pot. Add the butter, cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, onions, and parsley.
Cook on high for 4-6 hours.

After cooking time has elapsed, take a fork and break up the chicken into pieces.

Now, cut biscuits into 9 pieces. Stir into hot chicken and continue to cook for 30 minutes. (Turn crock pot back on)

Serve hot! Add more chicken broth as necessary.

2 Tbsp Real Bacon Bits (I use 1/2 bag or jar)
1 tsp minced garlic (can use powder)
1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 cup Sour Cream
4-5 Boneless Chicken Breasts (skinless) (I poke holes in them with fork)

1. Combine first 5 ingredients.
2. Spray crock pot with Pam & put chicken breast in crock pot.
3. Pour ingredients over the chicken breast.
4. Cook 3-4 hours on HIGH until done.
I add spinach at the end as well.

Easy Pork Chops in CrockPot
4 whole thick bone in pork chops (I opted for boneless Thick chops)
1 pk onion soup mix
1 1/2 cp chicken broth
1 10.5 oz Cr of Chicken soup
1 pkt pork gravy mix
Cooked on low for eight hours. I prepared with steamed broccoli and mashed sweet potatoes!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Super Mario Brothers Party

Our big guy turned SEVEN!
We donned our chocolate mustaches, made a little pizza in Luigi's Pizza Kitchen and rescued Yoshi's eggs from the Goombas! All in all, a fun time indeed!

I've never planned a party on the smaller scale...but, I may be a convert! We invited three of our closest buddies (and our little brother, of course) and partied it up with birthday fun & games, a Mario tournament and our first sleepover. A great time was had by all. And mom didn't feel totally overwhelmed!

I made the racetrack cake featured on Family Fun and "converted" it into a Mario Kart cake. I chose to not do the sprinkles for the grass and just used green icing with my grass tip. I also left off the Mike & Ikes. Because I just can't stand the things! ; )

I made chocolate mustaches with a mold I found on Amazon.
Here's my parents as the Mario Brothers! ; )

And our sweet little buddy!

We put together a pizza-making station that was a hit!

At Luigi's....make the pizza pies!

Busy chefs!

I used hard-boiled eggs and colored them with spots with a blue sharpie. We did a spoon race and "saved Yoshi's eggs" from the Goombas (the mean mushrooms in Super Mario Brothers), that my dad was pelting at the boys!
This was a great time-filler while the pizzas baked. And an easy and enjoyable party game!

Enjoying our hard labor! Pizza time!

Blowing out the candles!

Opening sweet & thoughtful presents.

Our take home prizes were the Mario & Luigi hats (I made these from plain hats & felt that I cut into the letters) and more mustaches.

The highlight of the night: Mario Kart Tournament!
To save money, we simply borrowed a bunch of extra Wii stuff (extra WiiMotes, wheels, etc.) from a friend. I was actually thinking of purchasing it all and realized it would have been almost $200 for all that stuff! Silly!

And....they actually slept! The birthday boy was the first to conk out!

Happy Birthday, Benjamin!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

In Our Lunch Boxes: Week 5

We've got a birthday boy this week!
I made mini sandwiches with cookie cutters & various cheese cut-outs. I used mini-pepperonis for the tops of both the hat & cup cake. Grapes & a berry muffin.

Pizza People!! Used sandwich rounds to create pizza with leftover ingredients from an evening meal.

A horse is a horse, of course, of course. 
Ham & cheese sandwich, grapes, pretzels, berry muffin.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

In Our Lunch Boxes: Week 4

More Bento fun....happy to report my boys have been bringing home empty boxes and full tummies! Loving the Bento life! ; )
One of the boys' faves have been the sammich roll-ups. SO EASY. 
Just flatten out your bread with a rolling pin, add topping and roll!
Also included: car egg, grapes & cantaloupe stars.

Ham & cheese sammich roll-ups!
Also included: Wheat Thins Stix, carrots, cantaloupe stars and apples.
(I unwrap the apples in the a.m. when I throw the ice pack in.)

Wellllll.....the raw broccoli went over about like an elephant pole-vaulting.
But the corn dog muffins....success! I've posted the recipe here for those.
Also included cheese cubes (thanks, Sandy!), grapes, strawberries & granola.

The Angry Birds Bento!! I gave same details here.
Also included: egg star, fruit salad, broccoli (somebody take that stuff away from me), carrots, cucumbers & a strawberry muffin.

Happy Bento-Making!

Monday, September 12, 2011

We are Nerds for Angry Birds


Made the boys Angry Birds for their Bento boxes tomorrow. 
Hoping for mass hysteria when they open the lids!

I've seen these in several places on the web, but none have too much info on how to construct. 

1. I took the Babybel and used a paring knife to cut a semi-circle from the bottom part of the red wax (I made sure to cut off the pull-tab, so it wouldn't interfere with the design). 
2. I used the wrong side of a cake decorating tip (use what ya got!) to cut out the larger eye circles from provolone slices.
3. I freehanded the beak with a paring knife and cheddar slice.
4. I used a large cake decorating tip to cut the inner eye parts (that sounds quite medical), from cucumber peel.
5. I freehanded the eye brows with a paring knife out of cucumber peel.
6. I used the leftover wax to create the head feathers.
7. Everything is "glued" together with dabs of cream cheese. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

In Our Lunch Boxes: Week 3

Another "Angry Monster"...my little guy saw brother's Bento last week and requested one of these. He's never eaten an entire PB&J until today...success!! Also included: string cheese, chocolate chip muffin, grape & apple kabobs.

Found a new container on clearance at Tar-Jay! This has a frozen ice mold that fits in its lid. Love it. He also had a little thermos of the previous night's mac & cheese. 

My big guy has gotten to where he loves the sandwich rounds. I made him a ham & cheese (it's cut in half and stacked). Also included: egg in fish mold, carrots, chips & tomatoes.

More of the freezer-recipe pizza muffins that we made last week.
{You can find the recipe here}
They are so YUM.
Grapes, Wheat Thins Stix & peach applesauce.

Another ham & cheese on sandwich round (stacked), chocolate chip muffin, Wheat Thins Stix, raisins, cheese circles (tucked in next to the muffin), apples & grapes.

Have a great week!

What's for lunch Wednesday?