Monday, November 30, 2015

Baking Through the Alphabet: The Letter M

I'm briefly skipping over L because with Thanksgiving, we've gotten a little behind in our baking (because we were baking pies instead!).


The Letter M:

Letter M Meal:

  • Mini Meatloaf
  • Mangos
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Milk
  • Mint

While my daughter wanted to try making macaroons, and we plan to do that over the Christmas break, we needed a quick grab-and-go breakfast when we had guests last week, so she learned to make mini-muffins.

They turned out beautifully, don't you think? (pictured below)

I used a recipe, for the third time, which I found on the internet.  It's really similar to one my mother used about once a week when I was a child...and it's really tasty! You can find it by clicking here.

Letter M Musicals: (* = ones that are , in my opinion, decent or fun to watch; ** = kid friendly; *** = the one we watched for our alphabet musical)

  • The Music Man***
  • Mary Poppins **
  • My Fair Lady **
  • Muppet Movies**
  • Make Mine Music**
  • Melody Time**
  • Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh**
  • Meet Me in St. Louis*     

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Whatever Wednesday: Pilgrims From a Fence

Take a look at this adorable pilgrim couple, and their gigantic pumpkin, made from old wooden fence panels!  These panels are vintage and come from before pressure-treated wood came in, so they're nice and worn and rustic looking.

Don't you think it could be made from pieces of a pallet?  I think that could work really well! 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Furniture Friday: Bar Stools by a Chalk Paint Rookie

I am so excited to share with you these bars stools that my friend Donna gave to me!  They had some wear and some need for a bit of clean up, but other than that, they were in good shape.

If you read any of my furniture posts, you'll know that cherry stain just isn't my favorite.  I can't even explain my almost-loathing of cherry stain, but that's just how it is.

Just in case I wasn't sure what this was, it came with a label. 

These had a nice cherry stain on them and, though I'm not a fan, I thought about just keeping it and only changing out the vinyl (it had holes in some places).  But upon further inspection, I found that one stool had a huge chunk taken out of it near the middle of the seat back.  So, paint it has to be.

I've never tried chalk paint (*gasp*!!  I know, I know...I behind the times - but I just have been fine with my spray paint and latex and I thought the wax on top would be a hassle.)

Ok, so...I've never used chalk paint and I thought these stools would be the perfect project to try it on.

I didn't care for having to hand paint with a paint brush - there were so many nooks and crannies on those stools!  Spray paint or a spray gun would have been so much more time effective!  

But I did like the ease at which it went on, the roughness of the initial paint and then the smoothness after the wax was applied.  The wax step wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and only took as long as the painting.  I think painting each chair took me 1 1/2 hours of actual work time (1/2 hour each coat).

I love how they turned out though!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Whatever Wednesday: Picture Quilt - A Beautiful, Sentimental Christmas Gift

My aunt and some cousins actually made these quilts, but I just love them!! My only involvement was to get portraits of my kids and my nieces and nephews and send them in.

My grandmother is 91 and it is important to her to see her progenitors, so this was a perfect gift for her!

I found this amazing tutorial on how to make one. The way they put theirs together is much more complicated than this one of my grandmothers, but it has some great ways to print the photos without having it done at UPS or Kinkos or an office supply store - potentially saving you money.   Photo Quilt

Monday, November 16, 2015

Baking Through the Alphabet: The Letter K

The Letter K

Our K Menu

  • Kebobs
  • Kiwi
  • Kefir
  • Kale salad (forgot to take a picture, but I use Dole pre-made Kale salads because I'm still not used to the taste of Kale.)

Baking Through the Alphabet: Krapfen (German Doughnuts)

 These took some time to make.  First of all, we halved the recipe (because we are eating a lot of baked goods and I didn't think we needed tons of donuts laying around all day.  We all know who would eat the majority of them!  Me!)  So, when you halve a recipe that calls for 3 eggs, I suppose I could have just used the egg yolk or just the egg white, but I wasn't sure, so I used ground flax seed to make half an egg.  And then used one real egg as well.  

Another item that took some time was putting the milk and vanilla on to boil.  When I need to boil water I just walk away from it and let it do it's thing until I hear the water boiling (this is probably why I'm not a great cook).  But not so with milk, you need to stand there and watch it and stir it constantly so that it won't burn.  
But then all the fun parts: 

Kneading the dough.  This was my daughter's first time to knead it by herself.  I didn't help with any of it.  "It's kind of fun, Mom.  It's almost like playing with playdough!".  Yes, yes it is.

 And cutting them out.

 The kids both had fun frying them but when our fire alarms went off they weren't too pleased (each alarm in the house is connected to one another, so nobody gets out of hearing it).  At least we know they work!!

The movie musical we chose for the letter K was The King and I.  This is one of my favorite musicals so I wanted my kids to have a chance to see it and enjoy it too.  When I was child watching this show, I loved the song, "I Whistle a Happy Tune".  I had a paper route then and had to go house to house to obtain money for the subscription.  There was a house that I had to go to that was a little creepy and I remember after watching the movie, that as I walked up the drive to that house I thought of that song.  It really gave me courage and the ability to be cheerful about Creepy House.

Another good one is Kiss Me Kate.  

Friday, November 13, 2015

Furniture Fridays: An Old Metal Bed

 Ok, so this bed was cute when I first found it but it was covered in rust and had been sitting in the person's shed for who knows how long!  It was missing a wheel (which, with the age of the bed, wheels of the correct size are really difficult to find) and had peeling flower designs on it.
Right?  Cute!  But...not so much for a 13 year old boy.  

But I loved it because it was perfect for my teen son's new room!  Or it would be after I painted it.

Painting rusty metal does take a bit of prep work.  

You can sand blast it, apparently that's the best way to prepare it, but I don't have a sand blaster, nor do I currently have access to one, so here's what worked for our project:

  1. Sand the surface down. Start with 80 grit and then follow up with 120.  
  2. Clean the surface.  I just used a tack cloth. 
  3. Then spray with a rust-protector spray paint.  

 How it looks today.  He wanted dark walnut, antique brass, and the teal-y blue for his accent colors.  So, antique brass it is! 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Whatever Wednesday: How I Made Championship Royals gear for Four (for the price of just one shirt at the store)

Currently we are on a very tight budget!  So when the Royals won the world series two Sundays ago and an amazingly fantastic parade was scheduled for last Tuesday, I knew my family and I would love to be wearing some special gear in support of the momentous occasion! 

As I looked for shirts I was crestfallen to find that the least expensive shirt I could find was $24!  That would have been nearly $100 for my little family to get championship shirts.  Plus, the lines to purchase clothing and hats were outrageous! 

Have you ever used freezer paper to make stencils?  It is easy and awesome!  In the past, I've used the freezer paper from the fish we buy (you know, the "make it do, or do without" mentality). But all my fishy freezer paper was gone. 
(FYI, they do wrap the fish in plastic wrap, and then in the freezer paper, so it's not contaminated with fishy smell and it still worked great!) 


As soon as the kiddos were out of school Monday, we drove on over to Michael's to get three shirts and some craft paint. 

We had to go to our local grocery store for the freezer paper (which turned out to be almost $4 cheaper than it was at Wal-Mart). 


  • Print off lettering from your computer at the size you desire for your shirts
  • Print off any pictures that you may want on the design as well
  • Trace the letters from the paper to the freezer paper by putting the shiny side down and tracing on the paper-y side
  • Cut out the inside of the letters (not the outside, I did this twice and had to start over)
  • Using your iron, place the freezer paper onto the shirt
  • Roll or dab your paint over the letters or picture
  • While the paint is still wet, carefully peel off the freezer paper
  • Let dry over night

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Alphabet Challenge: The Letter J

The Letter J:

The Letter J Meal:

  • Jambalaya
  • Jasmine Rice
  • Jello
  • Juice 
We couldn't decide between baking a Jelly-roll or baking Jello Cookies.  In the end my daughter thought the Jello Cookies looked more fun and we went with them...and I'm so glad that we did!! 

They were really fun to make; and easy!  Fun because you can even use it as playdough before you roll it to bake it.  Even though my kids are older, they had a good time playing with the dough for a bit. 

I found the recipe from Jamielyn at I Heart Naptime.  Her cookies turned out cuter than ours (we cooked them a little too long, so err on the side of under-baked).  Here's her site with the recipe and her cute picture:

The Movie Musical we chose to watch was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  I hadn't even seen it before!  While we were on the waiting list at the library for it, we actually found it on television with Donnie Osmond as Joseph!  That was fortuitous! 

 But there is also The Jungle Book of course!  My kids hadn't seen this one either (I know, parenting fail.)  So...we watched this one too! 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Make a Mix Monday: Mixes For Cold and Flu Season

I've been searching for mixes to give or have on hand when I find out someone is sick, or even to use when my whole household is sick which would cut down on cook-time.

Here are some great mixes that I've found:

Chicken Noodle Soup:

Chicken Noodle Soup Mix in a Jar  - from

This one is good except that the carrots and celery and chicken aren't already prepared.  I suppose I could think ahead and put some cut-up carrots and celery in the freezer...

But here is another one with all the ingredients except the chicken (plus more meal-in-a-jar recipes - scroll down to see the chicken noodle soup recipe).

Soup Mixes in a Jar - Getty

Basic Cold and Flu Tea:

Cold and Flu Tea with Elderberries  - from

This looks amazingly tasty!  A-N-D...elderberries are "used for [their] antioxidant activity to lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995". (

 For more mixes, like Ginger Root Tea and Peppermint tea, check out this site:  30 homemade natural cold and flue remedies

Friday, November 6, 2015

Furniture Fridays: Ways to dress up your dresser

I'm really struggling to try to decorate this house!  My daughter's room is especially tricky (mostly because every suggestion I make she shrugs her shoulders to - but I guess when you're not a "child" but not a teen either, it's hard.  You don't want kid stuff in there, but you kind of want it for the memories but you don't know what teens have in their rooms.  This, at least, is what I'm telling myself about her responses to my questions. 

We had a break through today though, when a seasoned mother/grandmother suggested to me, that since my daughter enjoys nature and wants a lot of natural elements in her room, to take her outside and pick things from nature to put on her walls.   We did it as soon as she got home from school, and she had a blast choosing red and orange and yellow leaves, showing me how she'd arrange them. Then I showed her how to press them between wax paper and leaves of a book. 

BUT the struggle is real with just about everything else in her room!  I've been looking to spruce up her dresser and stumbled across these ideas: 

Foil Dresser - my sister-in-law did this one. 

Portrait Dresser - I love this concept because I enjoy family history and genealogy a lot.


Sheet Music Dresser - Also loving this music dresser!  If only we had have thought of this in my childhood home!  There were five of us kids, each on a different instrument, or two: a trumpet, a coronet, a mellophone, a French horn, a flute, a violin, a cello, a clarinet, and drums.  We also all played the piano at varying abilities and the music for all of those instruments was all over the place!


Lace Dresser

Words Dresser - This is fantastic!  It is titles and words from Beatles songs!!  But it would also be fun to have favorite quotes from a book  or the lyrics from another favorite song - the possibilities are endless!


But the one I'm in love with for my daughter's room is this bird and branch,
Nature Inspired Dresser - it is lovely, don't you think? Now I just need to get her on board!