Saturday, April 28, 2012

New Toys!

I bought a few new cooking toys in an effort to make healthier choices for my family.


Flat Whisk:  
I needed a silicone whisk for my new cookware and I needed a flat one for gravy.  The Pioneer Woman uses hers all the time.  I could not find one at my usual shopping grounds so I purchased this here.

Apple Corer:  
I already have an apple corer and slicer, but I needed this one to make these goodies.

Norpro Ice Pop Makers:  
I first saw these on Lisa Leakes's blog and her review was enough for me to submit my order.  I love reusable products.  They are a lot bigger than you think too. I am so excited to try these out.

Wilton Mini Donut Pan:
 Special breakfast treats on the weekend would usually consist of either Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls or powdered mini donuts.  I decided that making donuts would be better than buying and I grabbed this pan today at Meijer for $4.99. Half off! I did a happy dance in the aisle.  Tomorrow morning we are going to try this recipe.

Friday, April 27, 2012


This week Matt and I added new mulch to the yard. Last year we removed the faded, moldy, red mulch and replaced with black mulch.  This time we purchased the mulch by the cubic yard rather than bags from the local big box store and saved oodles of money and less work ripping the bags open! We removed two bushes and will replace them with... something. The next big outdoor project is painting all of the trim and the garage door. I want to stay as close to the original color so I will be browsing paint colors soon.  

My peas have sprouted! I am so excited! The weather has been so cool the past couple of weeks that it is taking longer for my seeds to sprout.

I may have mentioned earlier that I am taking two courses to renew my teaching license.  I am on the final assignment for the first course and I have given myself a deadline of April 30th.  I better get a move on.  After I complete this paper I have an entire course that I have to get finished in 6 weeks!!! So I have had to cut back on projects, but I have a couple in queue that I am so pumped up about!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cooking with Whole Wheat

This past weekend I cooked several recipes from this book that I found at the library using whole wheat white flour to see how my family would adjust to change.

Friday afternoon we made popcorn on the stove top.  I followed the instructions on the popping corn bag and used coconut oil rather than the standard canola. I was amazed at how easy it was to pop and in just a few minutes we had fluffy popcorn.  We melted butter and added a little kosher salt and my kids agreed that this popcorn was better than microwave!  I was also surprised to find coconut oil at Meijer for only .20 an ounce and the King Arthur flour for less than than the Meijer brand.

Saturday morning I made the Blue Ribbon Pancakes and although they were not as fluffy as the Krusteaz pancakes my kids gobbled these up!  They melted in your mouth. I was too busy stuffing them in my mouth to take a picture!

We like cornbread and my usual go to is the blue box Jiffy.  I made mine following the recipe on the back of the corn meal bag and substituted 2/3 of the flour with whole wheat.  My family could not even tell the difference.  Bye, bye Jiffy.

Next on the menu was a chocolate cake and frosting for Matt's birthday... from scratch.  I have never made a cake without the help of Betty Crocker so I was a little nervous.  I used the Secret Agent Chocolate Cake and the Old-Fashioned Vanilla Frosting recipe.  We all agreed that the cake was good.  In my opinion better than boxed, but my husband thought that it was "dense".  

Sunday evening I made the Mega Mac 'n' Cheese.  This version of the classic uses whole wheat macaroni, shredded cheeses, and heavy cream.  My kids are used to the enriched white macaroni and half a package of Velveeta. This is one of Luke's favorite meals and when he tried the Mega Mac 'n' Cheese he said. "I do not like this. I want the yellow macaroni and cheese".  Matt laughed.  Madeline who tends to be pickier ate it up.  We thought that we would add a little more cheese and bake it next time as the cook book suggests for a crunchier version.  Matt definitely agreed that this had a lot of potential and that is encouraging because I knew that giving up Velveeta would be hard for some family members.

Friday, April 20, 2012

DIY Shoe Bench

The shoe bench is finished!  We used this Ana White plan and just moved the bottom shelf to the middle to accommodate more shoes.

This project only cost us $25 because we had some wood, the stain and poly on hand.  My husband modified the plans slightly. He added cleats for more stabilization and we used screws that we counter sunk rather than nails.  And when I say we, I mean "he".

 I printed off this cute print and placed it in a shadow box frame... I hope this is not too girly for the garage!

The garage is to my liking now and it is time to move on to other projects.  I would like to paint the laundry room next, but we also have several outdoor projects that we need to tackle so we will see who wins. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I'm Wyatt and I Know It...

For some reason that is going through my head so I thought I would just go for it.  This week is college week at Wyatt's school.  Tuesday they wore sunglasses because "their future is bright".  Wyatt is into all these weird poses. The second one he is Spiderman because he is wearing Spiderman sun glasses.

Today is career day.  Wyatt wants to be a police officer (doesn't every 7 year old boy).  Luckily we have an old costume and I printed local IMPD badges for the shirt and hat using label paper.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Curb Side Finds

I have picked up a new hobby and one that my husband does not approve of.  I drive through my neighborhood on trash day and see what there is for the taking.  A couple of weeks ago I scored this for Madeline.  It was in perfect condition! How could he not see the value in this?

Today I grabbed this rolling storage cart.  I had been thinking about getting one, but the high price did not appeal to me. Free speaks to me though.  I think Madeline was a little embarrassed when I jumped out of the car in my pjs and grabbed the cart and begged me not to "steal" it from our neighbors.  I explained the whole reduce, reuse, recycle mentality and how I was participating.  I really do not need more storage for laundry items, but I think that I can repurpose this.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Two of My Favorite Things

Two things that I am digging this week is this book by The Tipsy Baker.  I read 3/4ths of the book last night.  Witty and real.  I think I may need some chickens...

And this song by Jamie Grace.  If this can't get you singing in the car, then I do not know what will.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Matt made my bench for the garage yesterday!  We still have to fill the holes and stain, but I am loving it already.

The grids are on the garden beds, but it is still not time to plant.  It was 38 degrees this morning when I dropped Wyatt off at school.  I have to pull the grass that is growing and add another bag of soil.

Why am I showing you this picture?  Well, every time I have family over this is what my buckets look like when they leave.  I am not sure if it Amanda or Michael, but next time I am going to keep my eye on them!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter 2012

Happy Easter!

We had an interesting Easter this year because Madeline was too sick to attend church this morning and Matt had to work.  I am happy to report that her 103.9 temp is down a little and she is perkier.  Friday we dyed eggs and reviewed our Resurrection Eggs.  Saturday morning we had Resurrection Rolls and later that afternoon was the egg hunt.  

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Easter Dress Sneak Peek

Well, I am just going to let you all know know that I did not make a dress for myself.  I looked at fabric a couple of times and nothing spoke to me.  I am still going to make a dress and you will be the first to know.  I am taking two online courses and that is really cramping my style, but I did make Madeline and her doll matching Easter dresses.  I fell in love with this April Cornell fabric and she liked it too. I had to steer her away from the pastel bunny and egg fabric.

Here is Addie's dress. I love this pattern and this can be made in under two hours.  Probably one hour if you did not have any distractions.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Hoop Happiness

We ordered a portable basketball goal last week and it took a little less than a week to arrive, but it felt like an eternity because Wyatt inquired about it every day.  It took two adults an hour to assemble and the minute after we set it up it started to rain, but that did not stop the kids from enjoying their new toy.  I think that this goal is going to be well worth the money!

Madeline getting ready to shoot...

And she SCORES!

P.S.  And speaking of hoop happiness. Here is a shot-out to Matt who won the bracket at his work. You go baby!


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