Thursday, December 30, 2010

Weekly Menu Board

I’ve been a meal planner for years.  I have changed my methods as the situation suits.  Before kids when I worked full time, I would plan for about 3 weeks at a time.  Now that we have kids, are more health conscious, and are buying more fresh foods, I shop about once a week so I plan for about 7 or 8 meals at a time. 

This helps a ton with the shopping.  Execution…not so much.

It seems that I always forget to thaw something or don’t get the stuff in the crock pot early enough on days that I’m planning a slow cooker meal. 

I usually write down a tentative menu and put it on my fridge, but it’s so small, I rarely look at it on a regular business and just try to commit it to memory. 

Big fail this week.  I thawed a whole roaster chicken, a chuck roast, and a sirloin roast all this week and have failed miserably at getting them cooked.  (come on!  The sirloin roast is supposed to take 8-10 hours!  That’s a lot of forethought!)

So I’ve seen different “dry-erase” menu boards across the blogosphere like this one at Under the Table.  So I put my own spin it tonight and it took me all of an hour to make. 

I found this art frame at Wal-Mart for $14.00.  It’s 12 x 16 inches.  Nice and big


It swings open so you can store more kids art behind the frame, but instead I’m going to take advantage of the space and store the recipe cards for any recipes that I need that week.  Then they aren’t being moved all over the kitchen throughout the week after I pick them out. 


I bought a couple different fabrics at Jo-Ann’s.  The red one is like the material of reusable grocery bags that are being sold EVERYWHERE.  I was kind of surprised that they sold this kind of fabric and will have to file that away in my head for future use. 

The white one is some kind of towel fabric.  It’s cotton, has just a little bit of texture, and I was able to fray the edges after I cut the selvage off.  I found them both by the utility/burlap fabric.  That’s all I needed to know.


I bought a half yard of each for $4.00 total.  I could have used my coupon, but I forgot…oh well.  (There was a lot of extra red because it’s 60 inch wide fabric)

I cut the fabrics down to size, the red to fit snug (12 x 16) and the white an inch smaller all the way around (10 x 14).   I frayed the white edges some and glued them both to the paper sample picture that came in the frame.


Then using my Silhouette and Core’dinations cardstock, I cut out letters for the title and the first letter for each day of the week.  I lightly sanded the black Core’dinations to show the dark red through on the edges. 


Space them out where I wanted them (about every two inches down the side) and pop it back in the frame!  Easy Breezy!


I hung it on the blank end of my kitchen cabinets in a highly visible place using a couple of command hooks.  Then just use a dry erase marker on the glass to write down the meal for each day and it is an instant erasable surface!



Now if this doesn’t help me be more organized, then I’m a lost cause!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Kitchen Canister Set

I have a set of old Tupperware kitchen canisters.  They aren’t really pretty.  But they worked, and I hid them in the kitchen utility garage. 
I also have a glass corner cabinet above that garage.  It has gone widely unused.  There is a ton of space up there, so I mainly stash large bake ware that doesn’t have a home.  And the knives to keep them away from little fingers. 
I never really knew how to make it look right.  I thought about etching the glass on the cabinet, but was a little afraid I would mess it up and then have to call the custom cabinet place and say “whoops!” 
Instead, I found a solution that is functional and pretty at the same time.  This is the first of a several projects I have in mind to upgrade my kitchen décor over the next couple months. 
I started with these large jars found in the craft section at Hobby Lobby (another home away from home for me).  I got two of each size last week when they were on sale 50% off.  They also have a giant sized one that makes an awesome cookie jar that I once made for a gift.  The lids have a rubber gasket on them to keep them airtight.
Next I pulled out my Silhouette and my brand new red vinyl that I bought when everything was 40% off at the silhouette store on Black Friday weekend. 
I made a simple design in Silhouette Studio using the font “Café Rojo” and some simple brackets that I had in my Silhouette library.
I was blown away by the Studio program when I discovered how to use the “align” tools and line up and center my designs.  “Wow that was easy!” was all I could say.
Next I pulled away the negative portion
Put the design on transfer paper
Eyeballed it onto one of the larger canisters
Pull away the transfer tape and viola!
Repeat for each jar and fill them with the appropriate baking supplies
Put them in the cabinet like so
I just need to clean the glass (haha) and organize the other stuff in there so it’s farther back in the cabinet and not showing.  It’s really mainly stuff I rarely use anyhow.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Garland Dilemma

So this year, I wanted a more classic look for the house.  My Christmas décor is mostly made up of cheap stuff that I’ve collected over the years.  I never really bought Christmas decorations intentionally and with a purpose. 
So after browsing many pictures I determined that I needed some good quality greenery/garland.  I have a lot of long surfaces in my house that needed something.  Entertainment center in the living room, china cabinet in the kitchen, space above the cabinets in the kitchen…you get the idea. 
I went on a hunt and was determined to not let money be the determining factor of a purchase because it was something I could use year after year.  And it would make me happy.  Which is priceless.  Well after hunting several craft stores for a couple hours, I was empty handed and sad.  Not only was the garland I found expensive, it just didn’t look good.  It was small and looked fake. 
There is nothing I hate more than the ideas in my head not translating into reality.  It is aggravating beyond words. 
So my husband suggested buying some real garland. 
But but but….it will die and dry out and it’s expensive!  But I was game and tried to let go of my thrifty ways just once. 
We took the kids on a trip to a local nursery Hensler’s nursery and found 25 feet of mixed garland for $32.  Boy was that worth it.  I used it for so much around the house, and since we have an artificial tree, we were able to get some real greenery in the house for less than the cost of a real tree.
Here’s how I used it.
Across the top of the entertainment center, accented with giant poinsettia stems from WalMart.
Top of the china cabinet with tinsel trees and Christmas subway art.
Then in the dining room, I draped the chandelier and made the centerpiece from what was left over.
So at least for now, until I can find garland that is up to my standards, I will be buying a rope of the real stuff, especially since it goes so far!

Christmas Subway Art

I seen this idea on Crafty Chic Momma’s blog and loved it.  I whipped one up Saturday and was in love with it!
First you need a board.  Any size/kind will do.  I used MDF that was about 10 inches by 15 inches.  Then paint it.  I didn’t use primer, I just used glossy acrylic paint from Walmart.  The same one I used in my laundry room.  It’s quite the Christmas-y color.
Then I used Silhouette Studio to layout different Christmas words and played around with the sizes and fonts until it looked good.
I used my stand by of white Contact vinyl and cut all the words out, peeled away the excess, and used transfer to tape to lay the words onto my board.
Excuse the mess.  I’m not a very neat crafter.  Oh and I didn’t paint the bottom because you’ll never see it when it’s sitting on a shelf.
Keep adding words until you get them all on and you’re satisfied.
Just beautiful.  I love it so much and other than the time for the paint to dry, I finished this in under an hour!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Don’t tease me

So my cousin Regina texted me today and said that I’d been slacking on my blog.  I know that.  You don’t have to tell me Winking smile  So for your enjoyment I have a video to share of her dancing at Thanksgiving while playing Just Dance with Camryn. 

Oh and she didn’t know I was recording her. 

Enjoy and leave your comments for her to see SmileSorry it’s mostly on it’s side, I must have turned the camera!

Easy Tinsel Trees

I know I’ve seen them everywhere.  Glittery, sparkly, tinsel trees.  Well wouldn’t you know when I decided I needed a couple, I couldn’t find any.  Grrrr!  So I figured they can’t be very hard to make and the results turned out better than store bought in my opinion.  You can make the shape (fat or skinny) and size (tall or short) that you want and decorate it to your own desires.
I confess my husband cut the wood out for me.  He’s such a great husband and very helpful I might add.  I was busy doing other decorating things so he cut out a couple triangles from scrap wood (MDF or whatever you have!) and some rectangle bases.  The pieces don’t have to be perfect because you’ll be covering the triangle and my bases weren’t going to be seen, so they can be a little off too.
So you take your triangle piece and your rectangle piece and attach them so you have a nice tree shape. 
Then you just start at the top with your tinsel and wrap away.  I tented mine over the tip a little bit and then started wrapping.
When you get to the bottom just cut the tinsel garland and tuck the end underneath. 
Take a couple of these in different heights, pair it with a shiny metal tree from Gordman’s and you have a pretty trio of trees!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mish-Mash, Jibber Jabber…boy have I been busy!

I know I’ve not had much to blog about.  I’ve been SO busy these past few weeks.  I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  I know I did.  Followed by late Thursday all through black Friday shopping.  I was delirious by time I got home late Friday night, but I got a majority of my shopping done and scored some great deals.  Now I just hope that I can sit back and enjoy the season without the hustle of trying to buy presents. 
There are a few big things in the works for us.  I’ve been trying to decorate my house (which I’m convinced a majority of my decorations have seen their life span go by!), craving to a chance to get into my craft room, and doing the regular mom things with my kids (Pierce’s wrestling starts tomorrow twice a week, and Camryn still has gymnastics once a week.  I need one more thing on my plate before it will topple!)
Yesterday my husband picked up our new wood stove.  It’s a Vermont Castings Defiant.  Living in this big house in the country, we don’t have access to natural gas unless we get propane.  We got a small tank a couple years ago when we switched to a gas cooktop due to my propensity to break the electric glass top ones.  But when we built the house we went with Geothermal heating.  Now I love the geo, the air conditioning works great and it’s far more efficient all year round than a standard electric furnace would be.  However.  There have been times when the electric bill has been on the high side of $400 a month.  Once there was a bill that was $650.  I almost cried, but it was a series of bad events that lead to a bill that high, it’s a long story. 
So we bought this pretty thing:
Obviously that’s not the permanent install, but it weighs over 500 pounds so we put it on these casters to get it moved around to lay out where it will go.  This weekend, a friend of ours is coming to lay a stamped concrete hearth which will also go about 5 feet up the wall on both sides. I then can put a mantel in above that, which I’m very excited about decorating. 
With this stove we also bought a new log splitter to get us plenty of wood in hopes of lowering the winter time electric bills significantly.  So the next few weeks will be busy trying to get this thing up and going since today was our first accumulating snow fall and it’s COLD! 
I have hopes for a few crafty projects in the next few days to finish up my decorating in the living room.  I’m not sure if I have the energy to decorate for Christmas, but I do plan on hitting the stores up after Christmas in hopes of getting some new décor for next year. 
So here’s to hoping I can find some time for some serious crafting.  I’m getting antsy and need to use the creative side of my brain soon before it melts!