Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas!

 

So here I sit. One day left of work before break.  (An unpaid break mind you. Catch 22. Yes I love the time off, but the paycheck at the end of January is going to majorly sting!)  5 days before Christmas.  Am I done shopping for gifts? Nope. Am I done planning gifts for people? Not so much. 

I’ve realized that I’m a horrible gift giver.  If I had a nice amount of cash, it would be easy to lavish gifts upon people. But on a super tight budget, it’s really hard to find something that’s not cheesy, and something that’s meaningful.  Also, for someone who thrives on being a “planner”, I’ve SO waited until the last minute to do all of this! What the heck? 

 

Here is the progression of the Christmas tree…

Carnage of the boxes.  I decided to transfer all of my decorations and such from cardboard boxes, into plastic tubs. 

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Here’s the naked tree with just the lights.  It is pre-lit, but of course there are 2 strands out. One at the top, and one at the bottom, so I have to add some strands to it.

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Here she is all done up. It looks lopsided, but it’s not. The cat thinks he has ultimate rule of the Christmas tree skirt, and therefore runs at warp speed across the room, and jumps onto the skirt skidding it across the ground. Turd. For some reason he also likes to vomit on this tree skirt as well. Thanks, Sox. Let’s show a picture of the guilty party as well:

 

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I tried my hand at making sugar cookies for a cookie exchange we had at my church.  The cookies turned out fantastic, and looked amazing. But to do the six that I took a picture of, it took me a ridiculous amount of time. We’re talking like 5 hours start to finish including refrigerator time for the homemade dough. Here is the recipe I used  for the dough:

http://www.marthastewart.com/275176/sugar-cookie-recipes/@center/276956/cookie-recipes

And the frosting I got off of this amazing site:

http://www.sweetsugarbelle.com/2011/04/royal-icing-101-or-all-roads-lead-to-rome/

Here is a photo of my frosting:

It was so thick, I could shake it, and it wouldn’t fall off the beater. To loosen it for frosting the cookie, you just add a little water.

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Here is what the cookies looked like.  I’ll try them again when I’ve got a whole day with nothing else to do but make them.

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To finish up, last time I mentioned  about my labels on the bins and how I wanted to fancy it up. Well here are the labels I made for the Christmas bins. I like them so much, I’m thinking about doing this for every bin in the house and garage! Obsess much?  I think not!

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Have a fantastic Christmas all 3 of my blog followers everyone!

Lisa

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Catching up……..

Have the last two months really passed by?  How did that happen??  It seems like yesterday that it was Halloween, and I was getting ready for parent-teacher conferences. 

Let’s go back in time and re-cap what’s been going on.

Ready…..

BTTF 1

Set…….

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GO!!

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October-

Things at my work started heating up with the prep for conferences and ratings that were due. We also had to make sure we were documenting notes about the children.  We had a LOT of deadlines to meet, and it was overwhelming.  But all of us made it through.

Jeremy got some part time work at Rachel’s Challenge doing  IT things. We are hoping and praying that he will be asked on full time soon. But if not we’ll keep the faith that something fantastic will come.  What a great place to work, though! They have the BEST employee morale boosting events that I’ve EVER heard of!  Since he’s been there, they have had gift cards to Starbucks for the employees, costume contest, pumpkin decorating contest, pot luck, Thanksgiving lunch out to a restaurant, and so much more.

Here is Jeremy’s pumpkin.  We used a drill and went old school with the design. He couldn’t really cut well because his back was  tweaked that weekend.

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And finally…

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He didn’t win.

There were pumpkins with way more character there, but it was fun to use the drill!  (And his work even supplied the pumpkin!)

Thus ends October.   

Enter November:

November was nice and busy with church commitments and business at work.  Thanksgiving was lovely, and a whole week off was AWESOME!!!  (Wish I got paid for the whole week though.)  While prepping for Christmas set up, I found this in one of my boxes:

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Hetty had made this sign a looooong time ago when we were still fascinated by New Kids On The Block. This was a nickname we had for them. Can’t even believe I found this!  Just for old time’s sake, here is one of my favorite songs by them.  Just the beginning notes of it take me back to 1989.

Horrible quality….hello 80’s. :)

Okay. On we go.  The day after Thanksgiving we always go to the Littleton Tree lighting ceremony, and I start to set up my Christmas decorations.  (I say start to, because it took me about a week and a half to finish, and we still have the humongous train sitting in their boxes in my living room.)  I had a couple of projects in mind for Christmas. One being a Christmas tree made out of  a tomato cage. I actually made 2 of them with lights.  I also wanted to re-label my Christmas boxes with something cuter than this:

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I’m going to do a full on December/Christmas post soon.  Stay tuned. 

Happy December! 

Lisa

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Home Sweet Home….

 

 

It’s been pretty fun getting the house ready for fall. I’ve had a couple of projects in the works, and I have finally finished the big one.  Here are a couple photos of  the process:

I had seen a picture of this type of 3 tiered decoration for the porch on pinterest, and decided to make my own variation of it.

I got 3 different sizes of planters from Wal-Mart, letter stickers from Archivers (43% off coupon, baby!!!), and luckily I had adhesive spray on hand for this project. 

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First I added a little ribbon around the smallest planter using a glue gun to make the bumps.

I then added the stickers spelling out “home sweet home”. 

*sigh* If only it was that easy. See, there’s a little thing called stickers-won’t-stick-to-plastic, so I had to get creative to make the buggers stick!  Luckily I had that adhesive I talked about, sprayed it across the front of the planter, and very messily add the letters.  Yep. My fingers were very sticky afterwards.  When I decided to add the numbers of our address at the bottom, apparently I didn’t think about measuring it, so it’s completely not centered! Bugger! 

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to put fall plants in the planters, or add fall d├ęcor to it.  Unfortunately my bank account decided for me, so I used some decorations I already had for now. Who’s frugal? This girl!  Ha-ha!

Here is the finished product after adding the cutie scarecrows:IMAG0535

I may add some little sprigs of fall foliage I have to the planters too….we’ll see.

Until next time!

Lisa

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fall adventures!!!

 

Yesterday Jeremy and I went up on a drive in the mountains through Guanella pass.  We met 6 years ago yesterday, and we like to re-trace our steps through the pass, and then have dinner at Tommyknockers in Idaho Springs.  It was the perfect day to look at the aspen trees!  The weather was great, and there was no traffic!  I would urge you all to go on a Monday afternoon to beat the crowds to view the aspens! It was awesome!

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We even found a huge waterfall that we hadn’t ever seen before. That prompted a little backwoods hike so we could find the perfect spot for pictures.

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Today it is overcast, chilly, and moist.  I LOVE it!!!  I’ve got the candles going, and my soft pajama bottoms on.  Time to unwind from the day….

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Tis’ the season for pinterest crafting….

 

Everyone should know by now my affinity for all things Christmas. I could listen to Christmas music every day. All. Year. Long. It’s only September, and I am itching to get into my Christmas boxes. I mentioned to Jeremy that since it is in fact September, it gives me the right to start my decorating process for fall time. Right?  Last Christmas was tough for me.  We were having serious trouble with unemployment, and we had literally  zero money to spend on gifts for people. I didn’t even have money to make gifts to give people.  It sucked. Now, I know that gift giving isn’t what it’s all about, but I like to give to people when I can.  This year though, I have high hopes.  I’ve started planning for Christmas early instead of waiting until the last minute. I’m sure this little bundle of holiday fun would have helped me last year in a big way.

I now present to you, the Christmas planning binder-

 

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I bought a red binder from Wal-Mart, a fun pack of Christmas scrapbooking paper from Archiver’s with a 43% off coupon, and made sure I had my double sided craft tape handy. For the cover I chose 3 pages whose colors matched in a quirky way, cut and pasted them together to make the background, then I added the Christmas and Joy stickers. I finished off the look with the Christmas tree. All of these stickers came with the scrapbook kit.

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I cropped the pages to 10”x 11” so they would stick out a little bit from the binder when I hole punch them. I wanted to be able to see the page tabs sticking out of the binder for easier access. For the tabs, I cut the extra paper into rectangles, wrote the section name, and then laminated it on my creative laminating machine. I then used really good quality packaging tape to tape them onto the pages.

 

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For the tabs, I cut the extra paper into rectangles, wrote the section name, and then laminated it on my creative laminating machine. I used really good quality packaging tape to tape them onto the pages.

I searched on Pinterest to find pages to go with each section, and really they are SO easy to make on your own computer that you can make your own.

The sections I made are:

*Memories/Traditions

*Recipes

*Card distribution list

*Calendar

*Gift planner

*Wish lists

*Ideas and cut-outs

*Receipts

Viola! The finished product-

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The tabs look a little crooked, but it’s just because I have the binder standing on its side.

On a side note….I’m still working on taking good pictures. At least with these I’ve posted, I actually used a real camera and not my cell phone. We’re getting a newer digital camera soon, so hopefully that will help with quality.

Now for your viewing pleasure…..a Christmas song and video by my second favorite guy, Michael Buble.

Love!

Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Honey Do……

 

On a regular basis, I have to remind, and remind, and remind, Jeremy to do something. I can’t place the blame on him though, because I should know by now that if I want something done, I must write it down, or email it to him.  This whole debacle got me thinking that I need to have something that is bright and in sight for him to see. Thus comes another use for the umpteen thousand pieces of scrapbooking paper I have upstairs in the craft room.

Disclaimer-I do know that umpteen thousand is not a real number.  Just thought I’d defuse that bomb before it explodes.

So.  I got a cheap-o wood frame from the Dollar Tree, some paint from Hobby Lobby, and got a piece of manly man paper from my paper selection to make an erasable Honey Do list.

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I painted the frame a nice green color with a foam applicator, and cut the paper to size so it fits in the frame.

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The glass allows me to write on it with a dry erase marker, and command strips allow me to hang it on the wall without a nail.

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My next venture is a menu planner. I’ve seen a bunch of them on Pinterest that I like, but I’m still deciding which one I want to put the effort into.  I’m also working on envelopes made from double sided scrapbooking paper.  I’m going to use them to put money in so we can adopt the Dave Ramsey budget strategy.  I figured if I’m going to do it the Dave way, I can’t use plain white ugly envelopes. I have to “princess” it up a bit. 

 


Now for your viewing pleasure, wet Sox.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Trying it out….

 

There are a lot of things on Pinterest that I’ve seen that I have wanted to try to see if it actually works.   I’ll demo one here today.

Waffle Iron Hash Brown.

Here is the original picture

I have a circular waffle iron, but I thought that I’d try it anyways.

Here is the iron:

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The hash browns and cooking spray I used :

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I added some to the iron:

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I let it cook for what seemed to be two hours about 10 minutes. Different waffle irons take different amounts of time. I like my hash browns crispy, but that would have taken a lifetime a while when we were super ready for breakfast. Obviously you’d alter cooking times depending if you like your hash browns crispy or soft.

Here’s what the finished product looks like:

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I gave Jeremy the first batch, and on mine I added an egg to it.  THAT was awesome! It cooked in no time at all!

With the egg:

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The final verdict: It takes way too long.  I like to add EVOO to hash browns while they are cooking and I didn’t want to do that in my waffle iron. Why? Well because I didn’t want my next batch of waffles to have olive oil in them. Do you know how hard it is to clean a waffle iron?  I should have snapped a shot of the disaster this stuff left over! It’s going to be hard enough to get the spray out of the nooks and crannies. The egg cooking in it was fantastic! That is one thing I will take from this, and it was my own idea to add it! I didn’t see that one on pinterest, so I’ll claim it as my own. Hah!


I learned a great tip from a friend at church recently. She doesn’t belong to pinterest (even though I told her she should totally post this idea!!)  and is adamant about staying clear from it, so I told her I was going to share it on my blog.

Cutting green peppers has new meaning to me now. There really wasn’t any way I thought of doing it aside from the old slice it down the middle and then scoop out the seeds and white flesh. Well, friends, my eyes have been opened. 

Here we have a  green pepper just waiting to be cut.

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Instead of cutting it down the middle, you’re going to cut right next to the stem on four sides. Here are my poor attempts at getting nice shots while Jeremy is cutting. Really. I know the photos are terrible.

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After cutting all four sides, you have the white flesh and seeds leftover in on little square package that can be tossed into the trash.

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SO much less mess than the old cut down the middle job.

I’m now hoping that no one else I know knew this trick.  Because if you did, you forgot to tell me about it!!


If you live in our neighborhood and see smoke pouring out of our yard. Don’t worry, we’re not on fire. Jeremy has found a new hobby in smoking food.

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We’ve had a smoker for a while, but it just sat there because he hadn’t yet figured out how to use it correctly.  Well now since he’s actually figured it out he smokes ALL the time!  Yesterday we were sure the neighbors behind us had their A/C on because we smoked up the whole street. (Mind you it was in the 70’s….not really a need for A/C.)   At least for now this is a pretty cheap hobby.  Most of the things involved are under $20.  It’s a whole lot easier to fulfill his wish list of wants with this hobby than his computer hobby!  I’m super excited for when he’s ready to smoke ribs! He says he’s “not ready to do ribs” yet. I guess being the perfectionist he is, he’s got to get it down to an art first.  I’ll let you all know how it goes when he does get to the rib smoking part.


I thought I’d run out of things to post here on this blog after a while, but I really haven’t!  I’m quite surprised at that!  I guess it just means that my life isn’t as boring as I thought.

 

 

Or is it? 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Magazine holders.

 

If you’re like me, you have a bunch of magazines lying around the house just waiting to be looked at again.  I have such a hard time tossing out magazines that could possibly be used in the future. Most notably my Paula Deen, Rachael Ray, and Cooking Light magazines.  I’m in the process of putting up shelving in the kitchen, and I really wanted to keep those magazines near in case I needed to find a recipe.  Now, the other week I went to Ikea and found a pack of 5 magazine holders that were plain white, so I snatched them up. (I wish I would have grabbed 2 packs of them!)  I then went to Hobby Lobby to get scrapbooking paper so I could start my project. 

I put the holders together, got tacky glue, scissors, and laid out my paper choices.

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The next step is to turn your paper over so the white side is showing up, and trace the end of the holder you want to cover. I covered the long end so that as it sits on the shelf you actually won’t see the magazines in it. 

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After you trace, cut out around the lines, and carefully glue the paper on to the holder.  I think the hardest part here is lining up the ends….especially when the magazine holders don’t sit quite straight on the table. Thanks Ikea.

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As you can see…I’ve got them all lined up together after I’ve finished, and they don’t sit level to each other.  Once the magazines are in there, I’m sure it will be fine.


I really need to learn how to take better pictures.  Of course when I’m taking them with my phone, you can only get so-so shots. I like to use my phone, because we have a program called Sugarsync that transfers every picture I take to my computer immediately. So all I have to do to insert a picture is click “add photo” and it’s right on my computer. No wires. No waiting.

I might have to start using the real camera though, because on other blogs the pictures look SO much more appealing than mine do!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

My Favorite Things….

 

I read a couple of blogs where the author wrote about things that she was enjoying at the moment.  I thought that would be fun! Here goes!

*Downton Abbey. 

I love a good period piece.  This one starts off right after the sinking of the Titanic.  It’s quite a fun drama to follow, plus there are  some fun romantic story lines. I finished season 1, and started to re-watch the first episode while Jeremy was home.  His interest kind of peaked when I started it. The next day I got a text from him saying “Curse you woman!!”. Apparently he wound up watching season 1 as well because he got hooked. We even got a 21 year old guy from our church hooked on it!  Hah!

                             DowntonAbbey


*Gotye and Walk Off the Earth. “Somebody That I Used to Know”.

I like the original Gotye song, but Walk Off the Earth’s version is just SO cool!

Original version.
Walk Off the Earth version. LOVE!!

How did they even come up with the idea of 5 people playing 1 guitar?? Genius!


*Felicity.  Yes. The show Felicity from the 90’s.  This is what happens when you don’t have Satellite anymore and your husband puts in volunteer hours at the church leaving you home by yourself.  You get stuck watching Felicity on Netflix. There’s just something about that opening theme song that takes me right back in time.  Back when life was a whole lot easier.  I wonder if any of my other friends feel that pang in your stomach when you hear/watch it. Please do let me know. Enjoy-

Turning back time….


* Iced Tea with Lime and Stevia.

                                Limes --- Image by © P.Ginet -Drin/photocuisine/Corbis

It’s been SO hot in our house without A/C that we have to come up with ways to cool off.  One of them is Ice cold tea with lime squeezed into it. Then I take add a little dropper of stevia.  Such a refreshing drink!


*Taking pictures of the cat while he’s in strange positions.  I’m sure when I have kids one day I’ll add photos of them doing strange things….but until then, you all get Sox. Deal with it. Hah.

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*Evening Spa treatments for my feet. 

So year round in the Summer, my feet look like they went through a blender that swallowed bolts. Cracked. Dry. Gross.  I finally got tired of it and decided to go to Sally Beauty Supply and get supplies that a pedicurist would use. Every night I soak my feet in warm/cool water that I’ve added a skin softener to. Then I use a pumice stone to grind and scrape smooth my heels. Next I use the foot scrub just like they would at a nail salon and rub it in to exfoliate.  On the weekends I will then apply a foot mask, let it sit for 10 minutes, and remove it.  To finish it off, I apply an overnight cream to my feet. Let me tell you- my feet look SO much better!  I’m not embarrassed to think that people behind me in line can see the cracks on my heels when I’m in flip flops. Plus, I now look forward to my nightly foot soaks. It’s quite relaxing!

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I think that’s enough for now. Next time I’ll share a little tutorial on sprucing up magazine holders to make them look cute and fashionable. 

Lisa