Sunday, February 23, 2014

Get Better Soup

Things have been really gross around our house for the past week. I've dealt with a plethora of bodily fluids from my kids this week and our entire house needs Lysol'd. So, if you've missed hearing from me.....and I know you have ;).....that's why.

As I mentioned the last time you and I chatted, I'm using this time to brainstorm. While I love imagining new projects around the house, I've mainly been thinking up and testing new recipes. Here is my $3 "Get Better Soup" recipe that can feed your entire family.  It's soooo good!  

Keep this in mind before getting your ingredients together....  The amount of ingredients I'm calling for is because I made this for lunch. However, you can easily make this for dinner and just add two extra potatoes, carrots, celery, and more meat. 

Ingredients you'll need:

Two russet potatoes - peeled and cubed
Two large carrots - peeled and diced
One large parsnip - peeled and diced
Two celery stalks - diced

Before you begin chopping your veggies, add about twelve cups of water to a stockpot and bring to a boil. Then add 4 beef or chicken bouillon cubes. After a ton of testing out bouillon, I swear by the Knorr brand. 

If you use a different brand of bouillon you'll probably need to add a bit more because they may be a smaller size than Knorr's. 

Next ingredients:

One cup of chopped beef or chicken - this doesn't have to be added, but if you have some leftover from the night before, by all means, add it. :)

1/2 lb pasta - I used farfalle, but only because that's what I had on hand. If you have rotini, egg noodles, macaroni, etc., feel free to use it. 


Here's the deal with how easy this is to cook. Once the water is boiling and the bouillon is dropped in the water, add all of your veggies and meat, if you're adding meat. Let it cook at a boil for about ten minutes. 

In the meantime, cook your pasta in a separate pot according to the directions on the box.  Are you wondering why I cook the pasta in a different pot?  To me, if you cook the pasta in the soup it gets too starchy and tastes more like a gravy-ish soup.  Gravy-ish isn't a real word?  Well, it should be.  :) 

Once everything is cooked, add some pasta to your bowls then ladle some of your delicious broth and veggies over the pasta. 

Taste it quick. Do you like it?!?  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Brainstorming - Our New 1930s Sideboard

I had many dreams for this past weekend and this week, but my kiddos aren't feeling well. Instead of freaking out about not accomplishing anything (and I literally mean would cringe at the thought of stepping foot in our house right now) I decided to change my focus. This week I'm going to brainstorm. I'm looking at areas of the house that need improvement in whatever way and jotting down ideas. Although I'm normally very decisive about everything, I need YOUR help with something. 

See this gorgeous piece of 1930s Americana furniture? don't think it's beautiful?  You will. At the end of this process, this $30...YES, $30....piece of Habitat for Humanity ReStore furniture will be Gone with the Wind fabulous. (If you don't watch Real Housewives of Atlanta you won't get that, but if you want a good laugh Google "Kenya Moore Gone with the Wind Fabulous".)

Before all of this transforming can begin I need your help. Taking my current wall color into consideration, what color do you think I should paint the sideboard?  I'd love and appreciate your thoughts in the comments below. 

Thanks so much for taking a moment to comment!  :)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

DIH Construction Party


So, my little guy recently turned 3 and insisted on a construction party.  While I enjoy his newly found independence, unfortunately, I no longer have control over the party theme (sigh). 

I like to put my personal touch on every party so I rarely run to the party store for decorations.  I like a challenge ;)  I also keep my budget really tight so I buy as many items from the dollar store as possible, like the paper goods and utensils, and then fill in as needed. 

For the personal touches I headed to my local craft store.  I lucked out and their scrapbooking paper was on sale for 3/$0.99.  I grabbed 6 pieces (which was more than enough) to fit in with the theme and I was ready to get started.

The construction signs were as simple as can be.  I traced a square and rounded out the edges when I cut them.  Then, used a stencil for the lettering.  I outlined the letters in pencil and then filled them in with a Sharpie marker.  For the figures, I used a ruler to make the straight edges.  I applied the same steps in making the smaller signs for the food at the buffet.


The birthday banner is my favorite decoration to make and it's also simple.  I do it for all the boys' birthdays and save each one. 

I start by tracing out the triangles onto scrapbook paper, making sure its large enough for the letter size.  I then use a stencil to trace the letters onto a coordinating piece of paper, cut them out and glue them to the triangles.  Next, I use a hole puncher to punch a hole in the top corners of the triangle.  Finally, weave ribbon or string through the holes and enjoy!

For some of the snack food, I used a few of our own dump trucks (we've got plenty) as serving bowls.  Super cute!!!

My decoration grand total was $2.98 including a super cute dump truck balloon...Woo Hoo!  This just goes to show that it doesn't take a ton of money or time to have a fantastically decorated birthday party.

Happy celebrating ;)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

DIH Lego Table

Hello everyone!  I hope you had a great weekend.  The boys and I finished up their Lego table this weekend, so I thought it might be nice to share with you!

Last Spring I decided I was going to make my own Lego table instead of buying one of those plastic tables from the store for a few reasons.  First, boys will be boys and will definitely climb on anything in sight.  So, I knew the table needed to be made of wood, not plastic.  Second, with the little plastic tables, kids can be creative and construct one or two buildings, but I thought it would be cool if the kids could make a Lego town.  And third, my kids are still toddlers and sharing the same space isn't always a harmonious experience, so size was definitely going to matter.

I searched and searched and finally found an Ethan Allen wooden coffee table that someone was selling on a yard sale site.  (I'll fill you in about yard sale sites in another post.)  The table was $40 without the glass part, which I assume was broken....I didn't ask because I didn't care.  As soon as I saw the table I knew it would be perfection.

Next, I measured the inside of the table, where the glass used to lay.  Once I had the measurements we headed to Lowe's to pick out a piece of wood and get it cut.  As always, Lowe's cut it for free and there was no headache involved.  I then used screws to join the wood to the bottom of the table for my peace of mind. 

Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures for all of you of the first four steps of this process.  Forgive me?  :)

It was easy-peasy from this point forward.  I painted the sides of the table green to simulate grass, headed to Target for four Lego  plates, then nailed them to the top of the wood.  That brings us to the picture below.


The streets still needed to be created, so I used painter's tape to protect the Lego boards then started spraying away with black, glossy spray paint.  After two coats of the spray paint dried, it was time to paint the yellow lines on the road.  My lines aren't perfect, but my kids don't care.  They love their new Lego table!

In total I spent $120; $40 for the table, $20 for the wood, and $60 for the Lego base plates (those suckers are expensive).  That's very similar pricing to the plastic Lego tables that are sold at stores, except this has at least two times the amount of playing room and it's much more sturdy and durable.  Oh, and another thing I forgot to tell two year old can even use his Duplos on this table!


What do you think of the final product?


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Necktie Organization

Have you ever tried getting wrinkles out of neckties?  No?  It's not fun.  I've burnt so many ties from trying to iron them so I could save paying the dry cleaner $5 per tie just to press them.  Why were my husbands's ties wrinkled, you ask?  Everything was fine until our first son started playing with my husband's electric tie rack.  Every time I opened the closet door there were 50 ties laying on the floor, which would all need hung back up.  We then tried having a tie drawer, which is where the wrinkles come in.  It became increasingly obvious that I needed to find another solution.

I searched and searched our house for the perfect tie holder.  I was almost desperate enough to put them in a 50 cubby Pottery Barn thing I have that hangs on the wall.  That was too over the top for me so I kept searching through my stash of bins (I'm a bin HOARDER).  Suddenly, the clouds parted and the angels sang!  My Ikea cutlery tray that was never used and has been sitting around would be perfection.  It was $1.99 at Ikea and still is.....ahhh, I love Ikea. 

This project was super simple.  (Side note:  If you call every little thing you do around your house a "project", you will feel SO wonderful about yourself at the end of the day!)  I tried to color coordinate the ties, as much as my patience would allow.  Next, I folded them, then rolled them.  Easy!  With the little portion of the tray that was left I put black socks and suspenders, both which are barely ever used.

The great parts about this project (wink, wink) are that all ties are in plain view and not wrinkled, the tray fits perfectly on the closet shelf, and things like black socks, cuff links, and suspenders are all in one place so there's no searching frantically on the morning of the wedding or baptism, or wherever you're going. 

Do you have a system for organizing your husband's neck ties?  Please share. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Our First Giveaway!!

Wanna have some fun?  We're a month in and we already have had a few wonderful representatives from companies we all love offering free products to some lucky winners!  How exciting!

This month's giveaway is big, we're talking valued at over $200 big and it's from.......drumroll please........THIRTY-ONE. You're going to love it!

Okay, so these are the only requests for entering.  ALL three must be completed in order to be considered registered. :)

1) If you haven't already, please "Like" our Facebook page.

2) Find your favorite post and from our timeline then  click "share" to share the post on your Facebook timeline.

3) Invite your friends to like our page. 

We will track everything on our end and enter your name into the drawing. The winner will be notified via Facebook on Valentine's Day.  Good luck, and start liking and sharing. :)

We love you for reading!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Little Lovies for the Kiddos

This is just a little something I've been doing for the kiddies every morning since February 1st.  I call them "Lovies" and I write a positive message for each of the boys everyday leading up to Valentine's Day.
Nothing too fancy, just a special message or words of encouragement from Mommy and Daddy..."You give warm hugs," "Thank you for sleeping through the night," "You're taking your boo-boo medicine so well!"
They love them and look forward to reading them each day.  It brings a smile to their face and gives them something to feel special about.  Who doesn't love that?!?


Monday, February 3, 2014

Super Cute Spice Drawer

Tell me if this has happened to you....  You're making chili and the recipe calls for cumin.  You know you have it, but as you search and search through your mess of a lazy susan or spice cabinet it's nowhere to be found.  The ground beef has already started cooking and you need the cumin now. When you finally find it, there's not enough in the bottle to flavor the meat.  Believe it or not, I think I've figured out the answer for all of us so that the above situation never has to happen again.

Before I went looking for something to buy to solve the problem, I thought about the issues that the spice jar/lazy susan combination is giving me. 

My issues were:

Issue #1:  A tablespoon-sized measuring spoon won't fit into the top of the spice jar, so you have to pour the spice in to the spoon which always leads to a mess.

Issue #2:  The jars become a jumbled mess which then becomes a money waster.  How?  Because you quickly look for a spice, don't see it because everything is messy, buy the spice at the grocery store, then realize you had it the entire time.  Now you have two jars of a spice you may only use twice a year.

Issue #3:  My two year old got in the lazy susan daily and, just to get a reaction out of me....which he always did...., would run around the house pretending he was going to open the lid of the jar and pour out the spice.

Where do we begin?  Dollar Tree, baby!  I needed something that could fit in a drawer so it was out of children's reach, have a larger opening than a spice jar, and not look messy.  I found these cute little colorful containers that came packaged as a 2/$1.  I bought a total of ten two-packs which gave me twenty containers for $10! 

I then put a cutesy label on them (it's cutesy except for my handwriting) and added them to a drawer that was pretty much not being used in a purposeful way.  So, for $10, this is what I'm now working with!

The hearts may be a little over the top for you, I understand, trust me.  I just used what I had to make the labels so that I would have to spend any more money.

What do you think?