Thursday, November 25, 2010

Really Easy Bread Cornucopia

A couple weeks ago Amy at the Idea Room posted about an she idea found for a Bread Cornucopia (originally from Taste of Home).

It looked really simple and I really wanted to give it a try. We're headed over to someone else's house for Thanksgiving and I wanted a nice display for some nuts and grapes for pre-dinner munchies. Now, I took the easy way to do this. They actually made their own dough, let it rise and used that, which would undoubtedly be better. But since I'm managing small children and dog-sitting at the moment I bought some in-a-can breadsticks (I know, shame on me) and used that to wrap around the tinfoil form and it was done in about 10 minutes for two of them.

Want to see how easy this is to make with just some dough and tinfoil? Take a look over at the Idea Room.

I love how it turned out and now I'm thinking maybe there are some uses for this I can do for Christmas. How about making a bread bowl for dip but shape it like a star or snowman using a tinfoil form? Then the veggies can be arranged around the outside of the shape. I think it would be pretty cute. For a snowman it could even have bread dividers in the middle at each snowman "layer" to seperate different kinds of dip.

Mine didn't brown as nicely as Amy's but it still cooked through well.

My cheater dough:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween Party Ready

We're having a party this weekend for the neighborhood and I'm getting the decorations wrapped up. This year I have seen some fantastic ideas on the web and I couldn't wait to try them out.

Crafts and Sutch has a great tutorial for how to put a spiderweb on your wall (found via Be Different...Act Normal). I found a cool spider in all the halloween stuff and decided to try it out on the ceiling.

Since a lot of the people who will be here are still strangers to me (lots of new people in the neighborhood) I worried a bit about people getting into the movies and books. So I covered all of those shelves in spiderwebs to keep busy hands out. The lower shelves aren't covered yet so the kids can get their movies during the week and I will get them covered over the morning of the party.

Cheesecloth and sticky backed bats covered the lights in the great room for a little atmosphere. We'll set up the potluck here. The artwork on the wall is my son's. He really wanted to contribute to the decorations.

The banisters and doorways were covered in cheesecloth and decorated with a few plastic spiders. I found a great idea for bats from Made (also via Be Different). The template came from Country Living.

Even the teddy bear wanted in on the dress-up party.

The pendant lights got a little holiday with some treat buckets that I had left over from a few years ago.

Tonight we'll start baking and cooking and getting the rest of the party ready to go for the weekend. Baking will be Joe's favorite part. Anything with sugar.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

No Mess (but still cute) Pumpkins

I love decorated pumpkins. I HATE gutting them. Eewww, gross, never liked it as a kid and my own kids hate it now. But decorated pumpkins are fun!

Enter adhesive felt.

I started doing this last year and it worked so beautifully. The kids can draw whatever picture they want (on regular or construction paper) to decorate their pumpkin face and cut the shape out.

Then you turn it face down on the adhesive backing and trace with a marker.

Cut out your shape, remove the backing and stick on the pumpkin. You can layer felt on top of felt which is what I did here for the eyes and later for the tongue and teeth.

If you want to add hair to your pumpkin you can make it really cute with pipe cleaners. Just twist them around the stem of the pumpkin...

And style to suit

You can add ears with the felt too. Just make a little tab that will stick to the pumpkin in front of the ear (only remove the backing from the tab, not from the actual ear)...

And place a tab on the back to help it stick out

Want arms? My daughter came up with this idea and I really love it. Shape your hands out of pipe cleaners and use a piece of the felt to hold it on. I found it helps if you wrap it around the felt a bit to help it stay up.

Shape your arms and say hi!

And voila! When the kids are done you will have some cute little pumpkin families!

And after Halloween? Since you didn't actually carve these, the felt can be peeled off after the holiday and you have pretty pumpkins still for fall that didn't rot because they weren't cut. Last year these lasted past Thanksgiving and I bought them 3 weeks before Halloween. I think you could probably even keep the felt and stick it on a piece of wax paper if you have a face you want to reuse next year.

Here's a link to the pumpkins from last year.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

10-10-10 = 42 and Happily Ever After

This Sunday, I was a 10-10-10 bride. A little over a year ago we were deciding on dates when hubby, being a computer geek, noticed that the date was all 1s and 0s and could be a binary number. Since he was sitting at the computer anyway he converted it to decimal and behold, it was 42, the answer to life, the universe and everything At least, it is according to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy but maybe there is something to it because it sure felt like a great day to me.

Our ceremony was in a casino since I do live in Reno after all. And I must say if you are getting married in Reno, the Atlantis really was beautiful. We looked at several of the chapels here and considered the possibility of an outdoor wedding. Unfortunately, the weather in mid October is a little too unpredictable to guarantee good outdoor weather (though it did turn out to be a beautiful day) and all of the chapels we saw looked like they might have been decorated in the 80's and then forgotten. I wanted something a little prettier and the Atlantis certainly delivered. They partition off ballrooms and bring in an arch just for the weddings and it's quite pretty.

I didn't want to spend thousands of dollars on a wedding since, as lovely as it was, it's only one day and we have the rest of our lives to be married. Luckily my family and friends are fantastic and honestly, I don't know how anyone pulls off a wedding without the help of friends and family.

All of my photos were taken by family members and friends. Luckily, someone got a nice shot of the Atlantis for me.

Selena made my cake and cupcakes and did a beautiful job. I feel that I am seriously indebted to her for this. The cake stand (cupcake tower) I made with what lumber I already had in the garage and I think it turned out pretty. My nieces Brianna and Julia helped make and place little 42s on every cupcake, too.

Since this wasn't my first wedding and we both came in to this marriage with children we decided that the kids would be our bridesmaids and groomsmen. My children walked me in and gave me away.

Technically Keith was a groomsman but he was 100% sure that he was our miniature Master of Ceremonies.

Family vows were also added to include the children as they are a very necessary component of this life and relationship.



Our first family photo. I told Eric that we should come up with more reasons for him to wear a tux because he looks fantastic in one.

We actually managed to get all 11 grandkids in one place at the same time.

Though very soon we will need a new picture so we can have all 12... These are my sisters, without whom (along with Selena and Mom) I would have never pulled off a wedding so well.

Not at all hard to tell what the kids are thinking about.

Erin was glad to finally get her hands on some chocolate. Yum!

It was impossible to catch all of the family in any one shot so we took lots. The man on the left of the second shot is Eric's best friend and also our Pianist. I owe so many thanks to him as well.

All of the children had fun blowing bubbles everywhere. So did many of the adults.

All in all, quite a lovely day.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Og The Little Frog

I found an album of love letters to my grandmother from her husband. 20 years of love letters just sitting among the photo albums in their cardboard boxes (treasure troves, I tell ya). They're in a yellowing album that smells like old books (Which, by the way, is such a fantastic smell and until the Kindle can include that I can't imagine why I'd ever buy one. Psh!). Anyway, I can't believe that nobody jumped to claim the albums and I'm so glad that I did. Since there is a LOT of family history to catalogue and share (and hopefully my family will contribute more) I have started a seperate blog for all the loveliness. Come take a peek if you like over at Og The Little Frog.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Reye's and Confidence in your doctor

I started seeing a new doctor this morning and I have to say that I am not impressed. Actually, I'm a little appalled. On my chart, under medical allergies, I list Aspirin. I do not take it for any reason. Why? Well, as a child I was hospitalized with Reye's Syndrome. It's a condition for which they don't exactly know the full cause but basically after a child (possibly older but usually kids) has a flu/fever and takes aspirin/salicylates for relief they have a very serious reaction requiring hospitalization that typically affects most bodily organs (especially liver/brain) and can be fatal. I had a trip to the hospital for this when I was around 3.

Today, this new doctor says to me "Really? You had Reye's? I thought that was just theoretical?". Um, no. It's not just theoretical and it's very serious. It's why you aren't supposed to give a child aspirin/salicylates. So either she has it confused with another condition or she honestly thinks it's not proven. In either case she should NOT be a family practice doctor. I understand that the general public doesn't always know about this condition but a family doctor who treats kids? Not acceptable. If there is a family of products that you aren't supposed to prescribe or give to children a family practice doctor should know why. Otherwise, it is too likely that they'll start to think "well, a little can't hurt". Because YES, it can.

If you are a parent or care for other people's children, please know that Reye's Syndrome can be extremely serious or fatal and you should NOT give your children an aspirin/salicylates product.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Building a DVD shelf system

Please, please, PLEASE ignore my flood curtains. I am moving the green curtains upstairs (only cream down here soon) but I haven't finished their replacements yet and they're a little short.

As many of you know I am completely over the moon about finding the KnockOffWood blog. I have SO many projects in the works right now, some from her plans and some of my own design, now that I'm inspired to be creative. I have just finished off one of my family room projects that I was inspired to create after going through the easy plans at KnockOffWood. Note, this is not one of her plans but I did adapt some ideas from there.

If you're interested in doing something similar I have posted below the steps I took in making the shelves. If you've never built something yourself before I would highly recommend checking out Ana's site and looking through some of her instructions first as she gives some really easy to follow instructions and tips.

I decided that I didn't have enough space for my movies as I was stacking them two deep just to fit them on the current shelves. I thought about putting them in a binder and chucking the cases but really my kids still flip through boxes (and the boxes end up scattered around the house). If the movies were in a binder I'm worried that they wouldn't get put back and they'll get scratched without the boxes. So instead I decided on a new shelf for them that will hold everything without taking a bunch of floor space. Since my downstairs has 9 foot ceilings I made it 8 feet tall (plus 6 inch feet) by 4 feet wide. I gave it the 6 inch feet so I could clear the 5 1/4" baseboard and still be flush to the wall.

My shopping list:
8 - 8' 1x8 boards (be sure they're nice and straight)
1 - 1.5' 4x4 post scrap
56 - shelf pins

My cut list:
A) 2 - 96" (8') 1x8 (sides)
B) 1 - 94.5" 1x8 (middle upright)
C) 2 - 48" (4') 1x8 (top and bottom)
D) 16 - 23.5" 1x8 (shelves)
E) 3 - 6" 4x4 (feet)

Two of the D shelves (in the middle) are screwed in for extra stability but the others are held in place with shelf pins. You should mark and drill all of your pin holes BEFORE you screw this together. Keep in mind that the middle upright is offset from the sides by 3/4" on the top and bottom (to make room for the top and bottom shelves) when you're lining up the holes for drilling. Also, you'll see that my bottom shelf is taller than the rest for a couple reasons. First, I wanted the shelves to each be tall enough for the movies and a couple fingers (so they're easy to remove) but no more so as to fit in as much as possible. Second, I wanted a little room at the bottom for decorative items. It's a good idea to pre-sand all boards at this point rather than trying to get into corners later.

Once everything was sanded I just screwed boards A and C together into a rectangle and then screwed board B in from the top and bottom. I then screwed two of the D boards in the middle in place. I waited to attach the feet until after painting the rest because with feet only on the front there was no way this was going to stand up on its own with them on. Holes were filled with putty and then one more quick sanding to smooth those out.

It was freezing outside when I painted this and the primer can said 50 degrees or warmer so I moved it indoors to my dining room and painted with the windows open for ventilation. The whole thing has a coat of primer and two coats of paint total. I went ahead with a satin finish since the kids will be touching it a lot and it will have to be wipeable.

After it was all painted I pushed all of the pins in and set the rest of the shelves in place to check the fit one last time before I attached the feet and installed it.

The feet were then screwed on and the whole thing was secured to the wall studs in several places to make sure it won't tip over (it is only 8" deep so securing it is essential!). You could fill in the holes for the feet with putty but I didn't. I choose not to both because if I move later I want the feet to be removable (who knows if I'll still have 9' ceilings) and also because once the shelves are loaded I won't see the screws anyway. I did go ahead and dab some blue paint on the heads after they were in though.

An installed picture before it was loaded with movies:

And the finished product, all loaded up:

All of the kids' movies are on the bottom for easy reach and my collection now has room to grow. Yay!