Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: Dishes Into Garden Art

Happy Thursday everyone!  Here is the second rendition of my Thrifty Thursday series.   I'm excited about it, are you? Last fall after one of my daughter's soccer games we had stopped at this very small community center and checked out a bazaar.   They had your typical handmade items, but there was one thing that totally struck me as a great gift.   

This yard art. 

 I thought to myself, "I can totally make these for Christmas gifts."

And that is exactly what I did.   The girls and I went to our nearest thrift store, which happens to be Goodwill, and we ransacked the plates, bowls, votive holders, everything.   We placed them together in the cart, trying to match up and come up with the absolute best combinations possible.


We made a variety of garden art, along with my BFF, making some for her family.  Which her family just loved them.  They raved and raved about how they just loved the garden art.

My family, on the other hand, I'm not so sure what they thought.  My mom and sister live out of state, so I had to give them theirs in pieces and explain it to them over the phone and how to set it up.  Hopefully nothing was lost in translation there.  My mother-in-law loves all things unique and for the yard and The Mister's auntie, she loved her's an is impatiently waiting for spring to arrive so she can put it in her memorial garden.

To make the garden art below, here is what I had for supplies first.

 Supplies:

1 large plate

1 small plate
1 bowl
1 votive holder
2  copper bell holder's (1/2 inch)
1 re-bar (needs to fit snugly inside your 1/2 copper pipe) about 4 feet long
1 copper piping (1/2 inch) about 3-4 feet long
1 tube of CLEAR adhesive   


Make sure you clean all the plates and bowls.


Play around with your layouts.   I had bought enough for 5 gifts, that I was playing around with them and realized I didn't like some of the combo's so I just switched them around.


I used a silicon clear adhesive. 

Put a small line on adhesive along the small plate, to adhere it to the large plate.
Do the same for the bowl and the votive holder (if that is what you are using)




Let this sit overnight and make sure that it is fully adhered together.

Here comes the fun part.  I've done the hard work for you.  These 1/2" Copper Bell Hanger, is only at Lowe's.  I found it in the plumbing/piping section.  I've looked at a ton of other hardware and home improvement stores and nobody knew what I was talking about, except for the guys at Lowe's; which of course I would have never found them without the help of my cousin.  You can also buy them online at Amazon, here
Make sure that when you line them up, they are straight, that is how your copper pipe is going to attach to the plate.



Let it sit overnight until it is good and secure.   There is a lot of weight being held up by those two babies, we don't want them falling off.

And, voila!,  your finished product!
*The rebar is to be hammered into the ground about 1 foot and then the copper piping will slide right over it.  That way your yard ornament doesn't have to be hammered into the ground and can sit flush with the ground.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Out with the Old and In with the New

So far, this week, has just been one. of. those. weeks.  I'm already to have it be done, but at the same time, I have soooo much to do and wish I could gain some extra days!   I still need to finish up Baby Girl's room.  When I last left you, my To-Do List was still pretty long.   I have yet to tackle any of that since last week.
We've had a little bit of a hiccup when we got home from the coast this weekend.  Our oven was no longer working for us. Now, before we jumped right into a new range purchase, we did check to see if maybe it was just the element that wasn't working, but much to no avail, it wasn't the element.   We do a lot of home cooking, so not having a functioning oven/stove top range was NOT something we could live with.  But at the same time we were not 100% ready to be purchasing a new appliance in the kitchen, because we still want to completely redo our kitchen.

Both The Mister and I talked about what we wanted.  

·        Double ovens with a separate range?  
·        One oven with a warming tray?  
·        Convection?  
·        Needed to be able to continue canning

We also talked about how we use our oven what we didn't like about it currently. 
  •  We can't cook more than one item at a time without one of the items burning.
  • We were always storing our cookie sheets, trays, and pans in the stove, since we are limited in our kitchen storage.
  • I hate cleaning the drip pans from the stove top
We checked out the smooth top ranges vs. coil burners (we have electric in our  house) and we realized that we can't do our canning with a smooth top range because they don't hold the temperature for a long, steady, period of time, like the coil burners or gas would.

When it came down to it, there were only a few options out there to choose from that would work for our family and what we decided on had to be American made.  We are all about supporting this country we live in.

So Monday night, after work, we headed to our local appliance store in our little town.  We've purchased our dishwasher, washer/dryer units, freezer in the garage, and our fridge/freezer combo from them.  We love their customer service and love that we are supporting a small business.  Our salesman, really listened to us and what we wanted, what we needed, and how much we would be using our new oven and directed us to this beauty.  

The Frigidaire Galleria
We have been happy with all of our other Frigidaire appliances, so it seemed fitting that this was Frigidaire as well.

This is a convection oven, along with a regular bake oven, and an induction glass top range. 

What is induction cooking?  How does it work?  Here is a great article that explains induction cooking very well.

We can look at this both ways; unfortunately & fortunately, I do have to buy new pots and pans.  However, our old pots and pans already have a new good home, which is in our trailer.  We did receive a $199 rebate towards a new set of pots and pans with the purchase of our new range.  Which is very helpful.

We were able to take the range home the exact same day.   Let me tell you, that was a whole lotta fun.  If you ever want to see how strong your marriage really is, then I highly suggest you try to move an extremely heavy appliance with your spouse (one strong, one very weak) and move it up 2 flights of stairs (the front porch, and then the entryway stairs), oh, and lets do this in the middle of reading/homework time for the kids, some of them are showering, some of them were getting ready for bed, other’s really all of the kids, were just flat out not listening and far more intrigued and busy with getting in the way of mommy and daddy which only added to the frustration level we were experiencing.  Good times at the Mix household....good times , for a Monday night, which is already one of our busy nights.
I just have to say, I am super lucky and beyond thankful that I have such a handy hubby.  While we measured, more than 3 times, our current stove and the counter-tops vs. the new stove, which is the same measurement by the way, the new stove was not exactly fitting like a glove.  I am also very thankful that we had not yet remodeled the kitchen AND that I was not in love with my baby blue formica counter-tops.   Because when the saws-all came out to be used and to CUT MY COUNTERS I was not heartbroken to lose a little bit of the counter-tops.  However, it has only increased my want for a new kitchen by 1 trillion percent now.  But I digress. 
So after removing the old built in oven, measuring and making room for the new stand alone oven.  We are up and functioning again.   Isn't she pretty?  We officially have all stainless-steel appliances now!
Now, who wants some fresh baked chocolate chip cookies?  I can hardly wait to taste the first batch!!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Meal Plan Monday: 2/24/2014

Happy Monday everyone!   Did you have a great weekend?   The Mister and I were able to slip away for a couple of nights to the coast for the annual Newport Seafood and Wine festival.   It was an adults only getaway and much needed for us.   We don't have date nights all that often so anytime we can get together, just the two of us, we savor every moment of it.

When we had arrived at home yesterday, a little tired and worn out, I had really wanted our lasagna, which I had in the freezer and ready to be cooked.  However, unfortunately, I found out the hard way, that our oven decided that it was no longer going to cook.   So, that's what our week is going to be focused on…shopping for a new oven.

So with that said, here is our weekly menu.   It's going to be 100% crock-pot meals and/or the grill, since that's how we are cooking everything these days.  

Monday: Rotisserie Chicken with grilled veggie skewers (yellow and green zucchini’s, onion chunks, mushrooms, grape tomatoes)
Tuesday:  Crock-pot: Honey Garlic Chicken
Wednesday:  Grill:  Teriyaki Chicken with steamed veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, red cabbage, cabbage, and carrots)
Thursday: Crock-potChicken Veggie Pita Sandwiches
Friday: Turkey Meatloaf with mashed cauliflower
Saturday:   Cheat Meal: Pizza night (we have a special birthday this weekend for a special girl)  J
Sunday:  Grill:  Salmon with green salad and garlic bread

Have a great week everyone!  Off to do my oven research.   What kind of oven/stove top do you have?  Electric?  Gas?  Convection?  Would love to hear your thoughts and input.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Come On Lets Go and Play


"Do you wanna build a snowman?
Come on lets go and play"


Who else has some Frozen loving kids humming that tune around their house?   What a great movie!  Well done, Disney, well done.
 As soon as the first snowflake fell, nearly two weeks ago, I had a young lady running around singing this song.  It was pretty cute.   The excitement was pretty high at our house, since the last time we had any significant snowfall was the Winter of 2008-2009, which is faaar too long for any kiddo, and quite frankly, this mom to wait.  We love the snow.
The furry kids having a blast together

From our front window

View from our back-side yard

The kids had a blast.
The girls

Neighbor boys with Bubba on the end



Then the ice came.

Then the rain came.  :(

We had a fun few days before our snow received a 'warm hug' and went away.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Painting in Gradient Colors

Guess who has their computer up and running?!?   THIS GIRL!!!  I can finally show you everything I've been working on!

This was one of those projects that seems really simple and easy when you think of them, but then only become a long drawn out project.  I have to admit, it was harder than I thought that it would be.  I, personally, think it's because I am my own worst critic, and boy did I keep criticizing myself over and over again.  I really wanted this to look perfect for my little lady.


When I started Operation Room Makeover for my young lady, her room looked like this.  

For the last 9 years it has looked like that.  It's so hard to believe that she was only 2, still in a crib a night, my belly was swollen with a sweet baby boy, she had these bright blond baby curls, and with this being our first home, I allowed her to pick out her colors when we painted her room.
She loved the colors 'pewrple' and 'yea-wow'.  So we went with it.  My very good friend and her husband spent hours lining up those strips on her walls.

Here are some before photos:




She's now growing up and becoming a young lady, with big beautiful eyes, and again I have let her pick out the colors for her room.  I like to let the kids pick out their own colors because I want them to have some input in how their room is going to be. After all, it is their room and a place for them to be able to retreat too.  It should say a little something about their style and personality.  And had I picked it out, I'm sure I would have picked a nice coral/pink color and we are currently in a no pink phase!  So that would have been a major no-no.

As a reminder, here is our vision:

Originally we were going to do some planking on her walls, but then we decided that we loved the look of the ombre or gradient walls.
There are a few different tutorials on how to paint an ombre or gradient wall out on the web.  I used this very basic one.  However, I changed it up a bit.  I add one additional supply.   Paint conditioner.   Mixing this into the paint allowed me to be able to paint a chunk of the wall and go back and blend the two colors together.

Supplies:


1 gallon of your lightest color (you will do 2 coats of paint in that entire color)

1 quart of your light to medium color
1 quart of your medium color
1 quart of your darkest color
a bottle of paint conditioner (optional)

Paint trays (a few of them)

Paint rollers
1 paint brush (this will be for blending and you will use it dry)

Step 1:  Paint your walls the lightest color first.   Do the two recommended coats, or until your previous wall color is covered completely.

Step 2:  Section your wall off into thirds, or fourths, if you have 4 colors like I did.


Step 3:  I started at the bottom of the wall and worked my way up.  So, my next color was the darkest color.  I mixed the paint conditioner into it with a 2:1 ratio.

Step 4:  Get another paint tray set up, with the next lightest color, and mixed with the paint conditioner ratio.  **Since we now working from the bottom to the top, you are going to have your colors go from darkest to lightest.
I did these in 1-2 foot sections.   I would paint the dark color and then immediately paint the next color, above the dark, and then blend the two colors together in a "x" fashion, with my dry paint brush, until I got them blended the way I wanted.

This absolutely was the most time consuming process.   Once I got on a roll, it moved pretty quickly.  It was finding the groove that was difficult.  So, speaking of difficulty; does anyone else get the constant, "Mommy??  Can I have a snack?"   "Mommy, can I go outside and play?"   "Mommy..."  Even when they just left the room that Daddy is in, to interrupt with these questions.  Why does it always seem to happen when I am knee deep in a project too?  


I digress, back to the walls.

You can see the section on the right there is wet, so I did the "x" sweeping motion on the bottom to blend the two colors together

Step 5:  Do a 2nd layer of paint color (which is #3 total), and then do the same thing in step 4, with paint color #4, your second to last of the lightest colors.  Remember, your lightest color is your base color.   And continue to blend with the same "x" movement all the way around the room.


Step 6:  Copy step #5, only with the last two colors.  Your base and second lightest color.

Step 7:  Sit back and admire your hard work.   You've earned a pat on the back.

This sounds a lot more difficult than it really was.  I promise.  It was the best way that I found that the paint would blend together with the dry brush.  The paint conditioner helped make it easier to blend the two colors together without the paint drying too quickly.

While her room is far from being completed, the biggest part of her room is now done! 


Here is a list of all the things that I still have left to do in her room:
  • new electrical outlets
  • new light switch
  • wood treatment around the window
  • wood treatment around the closet
  • sand the wood treatments
  • paint all the wood treatments
  • new sliding closet doors
  • new bedroom door
  • wood molding around the room
  • sand and repaint the bed
  • sand and repaint the dresser
  • paint the ceiling
  • decorate!
I would say that I'm about 20% done.  Or so it feels like it!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Meal Plan Monday: 2/17/2014

Hey there everyone!   Our family was blessed with a 3-day weekend.  We NAILED IT! in the relaxation department, but yet, very productive at the same time.  I hope all of you were able to enjoy an extra day and relax too.  
I almost missed getting this post up since I was thrown off my game for my schedule. 
I am hoping that I will get my computer back up and running this week, so I can update you on some progress that I've been making in the tween's bedroom.  It's coming together quite nicely; plus I have another project I've snuck into the mix while working on Baby Girl's room.

Last week, when The Mister and I did our grocery shopping, I was blown away by our total bill.   It was way over my weekly budget, and to be honest, I hadn't remembered my manufacture coupons, luckily I did remember my $10 off $50 spent.  At any rate, when I look back at what we had bought, we had snagged some really good deals; some buy one get one free, along with some meats that were marked down to an unbeatable price.  When that happens, I stock up on those items.   So this weeks total bill was $100 less than last week, because we are able to incorporate some of those meals that have been in the freezer all week.

Monday:  Salmon w/ asparagus -- and most of the kids don't like asparagus, so we had green beans for them, along with some leftover quinoa.

TuesdayCrockpot:  Chicken In Wine

Wednesday:  Pork Loin w/ Applesauce and cauliflower

Thursday:  Taco Ring

Friday:  Crab Cakes and French fries

Saturday:  Dinner with Friends

Sunday:  Lasagna w/ garlic bread, green beans, green salad

I hope you have a great week!  Happy cooking!

Friday, February 14, 2014

One...Two...Three...Four, Momma Loves Four

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!   It seemed only right to express my love to my top four loves.   The Mister is in a ball park all of his own.  :)  He stole my heart long ago, and then it started with one.
Then grew to two.
Before we knew it there were three.

Surprise, and boy I do mean SURPRISE there is four!!!  4!  Four beautiful babies.
Four little humans that my hubby and I were ARE getting the pleasure to raise, to hold, love and nourish, to mold into amazing human beings.
We have quite the baby fever going around in our circle right now.

My cousin is expecting their first baby any moment now, my sister is expecting her first baby this spring, our good friends & neighbor's are expecting their first baby in less than a month....all little girl's too!

Then, we just found out my husband's cousin is expecting their 3rd baby in the summer (I am predicting a 3rd boy to their brood, although a girl would be great for both of them, but I still think boy), plus I have a coworker that is expecting their first baby any day now, as well.

So needless to say, I have babies on the brain.   And just to clarify for all my family members....no we are not having anymore.  I will be enjoying all these new little ones as much as I can.

My point of this post is, love those babies.
Hold them.  You can never hold them enough.  Ever. 
  Spoil them with your love.
Cherish them.
Remember how sweet they are when they are sleeping.
How little those tiny fingers and toes are.
Play games with them.
Look at the world through their eyes, where everything is new, beautiful, and wonderment.
Take pictures.
Lots of them.
You will never have too many photos of your little ones.
They are only little once.

My parents always told me it went fast.  Boy they weren't kidding.  It goes by faster than anyone could ever imagine.  Blink of an eye lightening speed.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

System Issues...Memory Issues

So, I had all these great things planned to show you this week.  


  • Our snow day(s) from this last weekend.
  • The progress on Baby Girl's room and her new gradient wall colors.
  • Some garden art I made for some loved ones at Christmas, with a tutorial on my Thrify Thursday.
  • A new Fabulous Food Friday.

But, I've changed my password on my computer (using a different computer right now, obviously) and well, ALL my photos.  All, my everything, is ON the other computer.

So, I apologize, until I figure out how to unlock and remember my password, I'm on hold.

However, come by tomorrow and see about my Valentine's Love.  

Happy Valentine's Day all!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Meal Plan Monday: 2/10/14

Hey, hey!!  Happy Monday to you all!  Did you have a great weekend?  I know that a lot of us were snowed in and loving it.  Some of you were getting a little stir crazy, but I was soaking up the time with my family and getting some chores finished.   
We had a winter storm move in Thursday afternoon and leave us with about 8 inches of snow in some areas, and up to 18 inches of snow in other areas. Then this same lovely storm brought us some freezing rain overnight, which was not so much fun, or safe, for any driving the next day.   It didn't bother me the least bit though, I was getting some much needed projects tackled around the house.

We were able to get out yesterday and do our weekly grocery shopping, which I was nervous about.  My best friend was telling me how picked over the local grocery store was and how the store didn't even have any milk, so I was expecting to only be able to get a few things, and was pleasantly surprised when I was able to do our full weeks worth of shopping.   

Don't forget to use your $10 off $50 at Safeway this week, it expires tomorrow.

Monday: Crockpot: Pineapple Chicken

Tuesday: Crockpot: Pork Carnitas

Wednesday: Crockpot: Greek Style Flank Steak w/ Fat Free Tzatziki 

Thursday: Crockpot: Oriental Chicken 

Friday: Crockpot: Pesto Ranch Chicken Thighs 

Saturday: Cheat Meal

Sunday: Chicken Caesar Salad w/ asparagus

This week is full of crockpot meals because we have a few busy nights and I also have a few projects that I would like to finish up and share with all of you.  So the less time I spend cooking the more time I spend crafting.  :)

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Meal Plan Monday: Week 5 - 2/3/14

Happy Monday!  Happy February!  Can you believe that?  It’s already February!  January just passed me by. Well, I hope all of you have a fabulous weekend.  We were very productive in getting some paint on the walls and some other fun projects done around the house.  Which, hopefully, I’ll be able to post about those sometime this week.

I'm back at it and planning our weekly meal plans.  It honestly, helps keep my family on track.  In the two months that I didn’t do the meal planning, it felt like I was running to the grocery store every single night on my way home from work.  Having a menu/meal plan really helps me get the week in order as well and to know which nights are our busiest and what needs to be in the crock-pot. 

With The Mister and I being on a little bit of a specialized meal plan, this menu may be heavy on the chicken for some you, but you can always alternate either fish or a red meat into it for your own family.  Like with our chicken tacos, you could have regular beef tacos.

So with that said, here is what we will be eating this week.

Monday:   Crock-pot:  Lemon Garlic Chicken w/ roasted cauliflower

Tuesday:  Crock-pot:  Chicken Tacos (kids), Chicken Taco Salad (The Mister & I)


Thursday:  Tilapia w/ asparagus and a green salad

Friday:  Crock-pot: Honey Garlic Chicken w/ steamed brussel sprouts

Saturday:   Cheat Meal = Date night

Sunday:   Salmon w/ sauté zucchini and yellow squash and green salad


I would love to know what some of your favorite go-to weeknight dinner meals are.  Do you make weekly meal plans? 


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