Monday, April 25, 2011

I'm gonna wash that dog right outta my car!

So last week I paid the hard earned monies to have a person come and clean my car. Before I had a big ol' dog if someone told me they did this I would have thought this was a colossal waste of money, and also though they were lazy. I mean it's a car, not a palace, how long could it take to pick up a few old french fries from under the seat, wipe out the cup holders and vacuum up some dirt. Big whoop!

Then I got a dog. A fluffy, furry, 70lb ball of shedding and often stinky damp fur.

Do not let the pretty face fool you. Holly here is no pretty little lady. No. She swims in the river, or is content to roll in any puddle that is slightly damp, in other words... mud. When we take her to have her cleaned (or tackle it ourselves) her first instinct is to run directly to the nearest pile of dirt and roll in it. For real. Little boys dream...  that's for sure.

So after one long winter hauling around my girl holly in the back of the SUV that thing was starting to smell like a kennel. A kennel full of damp muddy dogs. So I threw my hands in the air and said "that's it! I'm calling someone! This car is disgusting!" - A few hours later, I got back an SUV with nearly zero dog fur in it.... and it smelled like strawberry Pez... bonus! I am never letting that dog in here again!!

Poor Holly... she would be so sad. So, plan B - get a cargo cover to keep the hair manageable and the stink washable!
But some of these things go for over $50. It's a freaking blanket secured to the car!!

HOLY CRAP. It's a blanket secured to the car!!!

SO I went and got a blanket for $5 that is ugly as ugly can be... because I really wasn't sure it would work... and draped it across the back of the seat and over the flooring of the cargo. Taking note of the spots where I could secure the blanket, and marking it in the spots I planned to add a scrap piece of ribbon.

Then I sewed the ribbons scraps on... I mean no one is going to see the underside of this thing... and it's for the dog to rub it's dirty feet on. Let's keep things real here, old shoelaces would be acceptable here.

I also marked on either side of the headrests because I figured I could either attach a long piece of ribbon, or a Velcro loop, or elastic to loop over the top of it and keep the back of the blanket fully covering the upholstery in the back...  Because... miss manners also drools all over the side of the seat. Yuck.

In the end, after about an hour or marking tie placement, running around finding scraps of ribbon, and sewing the ribbon and elastic in place I had this:

Gotta love that vote of confidence right? This is why I do this people... this is why I blog...  you guys might actually care! ha! Stinker...
Anyhow you can see that there are about 6 ties on there, and you can't see- but two elastic loops at the top to hold the blanket up around the headrests. The only thing left to do was tie in the back of the SUV and see what the critics thought.

Seems to do the trick... in fact....

This could keep my back seat cleaner too... heh heh... bugger. Note how UNIMPRESSED the dog is?  When he got in she knew her chances of a car ride were over. Or, she is also wondering what is up with the... cow? camouflage? whatever that is print going on back there. Maybe she felt all ninja... like we can't see her back there now. *snicker*.
But I digress - $5 cargo cover! Yay!

Friday, April 22, 2011

I promise I am still working on that craft room. I feel like with all the non-reveal posts about it you guys are going to be expecting serious fancy pants work. Nope. I'm just slow... easily distracted... indecisive.. oh, and cheap.

Speaking of cheap and the craft room, let me show you my silly little pen, paint brush, screwdriver holders. Hmm, could use another coat of paint. Oh well. Can you guess what it is?

It's an old Pringles can. I just cut it in half and made simple little designs on them with puff paint.

By the way, don't touch the puffy paint before it dries... what a mess. Not that I would do such a thing, I'm very precise... careful...

UGH. Right.

Anyhow let that crap dry and then add a quick coat of primer. I don't know if it's necessary, or worth it, but I wasn't sure of paint would adhere to the puffy paint, and I knew it would scratch off the metal can easily. So I hit them with a quick spray before I set to painting them.

I'm pretty happy with how they turned out - for the most part. Ok. I hate the metal can. It looks like a can painted pink - and I cut my finger on the lip... so that needs to be addressed, or recycled. But otherwise I think maybe a coat of sealer over the old pringles can and I have something that is not so precious that I am going to be sad if it gets marker or paint all over it.

Plus if I get bored with it, I just have to eat share a can of Pringles. Win-win.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I came across this cute idea to make little nests out of chow mien noodles and marshmallows on Our Adventures in Home Improvement the other day. Unfortunately it stuck in my head, and the next thing I knew I was smushing the sticky goodness into muffin tins to make 24 of them for the Small Misters kindergarten class.

I am not sure if there is a trick to keep from burning your fingers off, but they are pretty adorable, right?

I'm so glad I am just dropping them off and not sticking around to witness them all eat the eggs and toss the nest... or to see the sugar hit 24 tiny bodies at the same time. *snicker*

I think my kid made that cute little bunny treat holder in the background... I'm not sure. It came home in his schoolbag and I said "Did you make this? It's so cute!" and he said "I know! pshew pewpew" and continued on fighting evil or imaginary bad guys of some sort. Boys. Total head scratcher.

The recipe (which I doubled to make 24 nests) is very simple:
4 cups chow mien noodles
1/4 cup butter
2 cups mini marshmallows
I also added a tiny splash of vanilla.

Melt the butter and marshmallows over medium heat until melted, stir in the chow mien noodles - muster the courage to handle hot marshmallow and stuff it into the muffin tins so it (hopefully) looks like a nest.

Spring on...

Last weekend it was so lovely that I took my new fancy dual temp glue gun outside to craft.

Let's have a moment for the glue gun... and say goodbye to burned fingers!

I can now glue my brains out without melting foam. Wait...  you know what mean. The low temp means foam won't melt... not that it is in my brains. Probably a debatable topic...

Moving on...

So you know those foam balls that go on sale around the holidays that you buy a bag of, but use... maybe 3. Take one of those and have your self an egg carving party.

Or.... don't risk slicing your fingers off, and just buy a freaking egg shaped piece of foam. Easy Peasy. Why do I do these things? Oh... I'm cheap. Right.

So then you take a bunch or two of crappy dollar store flowers and pop all the flowers off.

But first, take out your heavy duty scissors and try to cut them off.... *snicker* I mean really? What am I thinking sometimes? Dollar store flowers? High quality stuff, the flowers aren't just going to pop right off...

So then you take your flowers and poke them into the foam egg with a little blob of fancy new low temp glue from the fancy new glue gun.

YAY for getting my craft on outside! Don't worry, I was reminded I lived in the tundra by the next weekend, when it snowed. There is really nothing like scratching mosquito bites while watching the snow blow around... makes me feel... oh... Canadian.

Anyhow - cute right?

Not my mucky dog path of a back yard... the cheap flowered egg... thing. So what can you do with this thing?
Place settings - just set them on an egg cup...

Or.... mimosa glass if you are like me and despise eggs. Blech.  Eggs. Grody. However, booze for breakfast, that I am all over.

Or you could shove a skewer up its bottom and topiary that egg.

Oh and yes - the bottom of my flowery egg has leaves on it. Which worked out OK.... considering I totally ran out of flowers. Shh... our secret.

Three cheers for the dual temp glue gun, and no burned fingers!

I was just saying to a friend today that this might be a sign of age, there are certain things that get me cranked up now that never would have made me blink 10 years ago. The price of gas, snow in April, cheese on sale, and adding to that list dual temp glue guns. Yay! Glue guns. Snow? Opposite of yay. Boo.
Go make some flowered eggs people, give them to your kids teachers... and if they turned out crappy say your kid made them. Ha...

Monday, April 18, 2011

387 miles for paper...

Okay, not really.  Back to THAT in a bit.

Kelly here!  Thank you, Amy for that very flattering intro.  I am so glad someone enjoys my messing around with all things crafty, because usually my husband just wants to know when my paint brushes by the sink will be dry & ready to be put out of sight & out of mind.  Husbands are fun, huh??

I kid.  I kid.

Mother Nature is seriously off her meds here in Minnesota.  Snow?  Freezing temps?  Rain?  Sleet?  Uhhhh...Easter is like Sunday, right?  Easter is why I have a cute little project to share...stay tuned and see below.  Until then, I have yet to pack away the winter coats.  On Friday, I was standing with my oldest boy, waiting for the bus and he looked up and me and said "You do realize it's freezing out here, right?" But, there I stood in my hoodie and flats with no socks.  I am in denial.  So, oldest boy and I went inside and swapped his adorable spring jacket for his winter one...and gloves...and a hat.  I, however, remained in my ensemble refusing to face reality.  The one thing I DO enjoy about this time of year is there is no pressure for my yard to be "spring ready."  That will soon change when it's time for flowers and a garden and all things pretty.  But, because we still have the *slight* chance of snow, the yard remains looking like it went head to head with winter and winter won.  So, when we do get days in the 60's and 70's, I get to just park my rear outside in the sunshine with a book and yell at the kids from my little sunny spot.  I swear, if I am good at anything, I am good at soaking up sun and keeping my crew in check simply with my voice.  

I kid.  I kid.   (Not really) 

Okay, Easter.  I have yet to buy anything for baskets because I am married to a guy that can knock back a 6-pack of those peanut butter eggs in about 3 hours.  So, I'm "that mom" on Easter eve looking for the basket-filler-items.  Not because I forgot...Noooo...but because I simply can't keep the candy in the house.  I do enjoy decorating for spring.  Aside from the looming snow, INSIDE my house is very spring-y.  Outside...NotSoMuch.  My mom found the cutest little Easter egg lights for my windows.  I want to keep them up until the 4th of July simply because they are so adorable.  Last year she also gave me a box of Easter decor from my chidhood.  I love seeing things I once saw my mom display in her home now in my home.  One of my favorites was this bunny...

Cute and simple, huh?  I love simple.  But, his (her? I somehow assume all bunnies are "he") paint was looking rough and he no longer wanted to sit up like he was crafted to do.  I pictured much more for this bunny.  He needed an update.

387 miles later I landed at the Hobby Lobby in Bismarck, North Dakota.  Okay, I was really there to see some awesome friends and family on my husband's side.  That is the real reason we load up the minivan and head west with the three kids.  We sing songs, tell stories and point out all the beautiful scenery.

I kid.  I kid.

The kids play their electronic games and mother of the year here went out for her birthday the night before and made the 6 hour trip with a hangover.  But, nights like that are few and far between and really, my pounding head (covered by a hood and sunglasses for 380 miles of the trip) didn't matter compared to birthday celebration I had with my friends. 

Back to the bunny...enough about my hangover, right?  Hobby Lobby is what my dreams are made of.  Have a spare $100...well, you can transform an entire room.  The best part, my mother-in-law picks a hotel overlooking this grand location.  Screw the lights of Vegas or the Grand Bismarck, ND I have a full view of the Hobby Lobby.  At night I can close the shades and whisper "Goodnight my dear children Hobby Lobby.  Sweet Dreams.  I will see you in the morning." 

Okay, the paper.  They seriously have the best selection of paper in the whole US of A.  Which is where I found the paper to cover my bunny boy.


He's adorable, right??  I just pulled his limbs off & traced them.  I cut about a 1/4 inch inside my trace lines and used a little Modge Podge to adhere it all.  I used a little glue to keep his legs in place so he can now sit up and enjoy the view.  Overall, I already had the Modge Podge and glue and I spent $1 on the paper.  Woot!  My mom already told me she wants him back.  Ha!  So yea, all that rambling from me and you got to see a rabbit covered in paper. 

But really, Happy Easter everyone!  I hope your weather beats ours!!  I'm excited to see what Amy has to share this week.  As always, thanks for stopping by!

This week!

Well Easter is ready to jump up and bite some arse this week! So this is just a quick Monday post from me to tell you about some posts I have in store for you.

A cheapo dollar store craft... the ends up as an egg. I know - oooh aaah.

A cute little dessert for the kiddos in small misters class.

If time permits I am going to set up my new printer and try my hand at printing directly on fabric. With my new printer. But I am sort of chicken. So we shall see.

I also went to an awesome home show this weekend and met some amazing people. I hope to feature them coming up shortly too. Ah-May-Zing.

Best of all, Miss Kelly just sent me an email with some awesome spruced up Easter/ spring decor. I am hoping she is bringing it here to share. It is adorable. I love when Kelly posts here, she has the best ideas and the motivation to finish that crap and then show us how awesome she is. Kelly needs an "About me" page, right?!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Do you know what today is?

Even though the title suggests I gave the Big Mister crap for forgetting some silly non-milestone date... not so!

In fact... it's a big deal...

It's National Grilled Cheese Day!

So to the busy cooks out there I share this news with a "yes!" and a fist pump a la Kevin McCallister... or as my child calls him "Home Alone". The answer to the daily question of "What should we have for supper, tonight?" is:
Grilled Cheese!

You are welcome.

Whether you like it classic with the good old plastic envelope cheese on Wonderbread... or you've stepped it up to include things like french bread, brie, roasted peppers.... mmmm.... today is the day you can put the casserole dish away and bust out the butter.

I happen to think a grilled cheese sandwich would go great with that vegetable soup I posted yesterday!

Here is a recipe from BHG that looks amazing... feta on a grilled cheese? Yes please!

Farmers Market Grilled Cheese - via Better Homes and Gardens.

So enjoy! 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring Soup

Spring is here - I think. (I hope?) I know most of us in this region have been anxiously awaiting the day when we could haul out the patio furniture and stand outside to barbeque, while the kids run around the backyard... and not be annoyed by the snow puddles we track in after. But trust me, this soup is like spring in a bowl. Who are we kidding? It's not too warm for soup... yet.

I came across this recipe by Jamie Oliver in the latest Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I knew I had to make it... the ingredients are fresh, and easily accessible. Plus with the air warming, and planting vegetables coming to mind - it seems like a great recipe to have in your arsenal for using up the weeks end of vegetables. I think in the magazine Jamie Oliver has called it "Garden Veg Soup".  I also have to add, that I made some minor variations to the recipe, based on what I had on hand... that is the beauty of soup... it's not finicky.

Let's get to it - the ingredients (some minor variations to the Jamie original).

1 TBSP Olive Oil
2 slices of smoked bacon, finely chopped
2 small Leeks - finely chopped
3 medium celery stalks - finely chopped
1 cup of chopped carrots (about one large carrot, or a big handful of baby carrots)
3 small shallots - finely chopped (or a medium red onion)
1 small zucchini - finely chopped
2 small cloves of garlic - finely chopped

1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 cup of cauliflower florets - chopped
1 can chickpeas - rinsed and drained

2 - 15oz cans of diced plum tomatoes
1 box of vegetable broth
1/2 tsp oregano
1 bay leaf

1/4 cup barley *
1/2 cup rice *
* Any small pasta will do - I prefer barley in my soup - so I added it in plus a little white rice.

A large handful of curly kale - washed and chopped - remove stalks. (About a cup... it's like spinach - and really cooks down.)

So here we go!
In a large stockpot splash in the olive oil and toss in the bacon and cook it slowly until it's light golden brown (hint, use scissors to cut it up nice and small... then put those bad boys in the dishwasher.) Mmmm... bacon. OK sidebar... any soup that calls for it starting in bacon is good news in my book.

Once that bacon is all golden and yummy add in the chopped leeks, celery, carrots, shallots, zucchini and garlic to that pot and let it cook down a little bit - about 15 minutes. You are not browning it, just letting it soften.

Now, look at all the veggies:

It's kind of a lot of chopping. So - here's the deal - this can be a weeknight dinner IF you cut these babies up the night before so they are ready to get tossed in once the bacon is browned. While the bacon is browning and these springy delicious veggies are cooking down you can cut up the potato and cauliflower, and open up the can of chickpeas. By the way, I used frozen cauliflower - because it was what I had.
In the spirit of fairness - lets give a minute to the less attractive part of the recipe...

I know. Woot. But they taste good - so stick them in the pot with the pretty ones. They should be bright and lovely by now.

See? Bright and lovely. Next up, open those cans of diced tomatoes and toss them right into the pot....

What the? Whole plum tomatoes? Ah crap.
Hold please...

So toss the chopped plum tomatoes into the pot and add in the vegetable broth, the oregano and the bay leaf.
But since I had to root out the mini food processor... let's think about  this. If there are any veggies your kids (or husband) give the hairy eyeball too - this would be the ticket to including them in a sneakier kind of way.

Look at that! Bring it to a boil. Now stop looking at it - put the cover on, lower the heat to a simmer... and hang out for 30mins - or until the potatoes are cooked through. Meanwhile, you can wash and chop the kale...  Toss in the barley if you are using it... barley takes a while.

Looks like tons right? It's not. You can barely see it in the soup.

So ten minutes before you are ready to eat throw in the chopped kale, and the quick rice, or the pasta... also add in additional water if the soup seems to thick to you.  I ended up adding about 2 cups of water. (You could also use more broth... your call).  Oh - and fish out the bay leaf. Season it up with some fresh black pepper and Jamie suggests you set the table with Parmesan cheese so people can add it if they like.

So good. Super healthy... Spring in a bowl. Seriously though - this would be lovely served at a baby shower or something similar. It's hearty but the freshness of it makes it a very nice light option. It's a really pretty soup.
Can soup be pretty?? Hmmm. I'm going with yes.