Thursday, January 31, 2013

Egg Shells

I was using eggs for a recipe today, when I caught the light shining through this shell, revealing a speckled pattern.

Stepping Up to the Plate

Cute melamine plates seem to be all the rage these days, have you noticed?  <<Seriously Target -- how many cute plates can you offer us?>>  And -- they don't break the bank, so to speak!  I spotted these two cuties before Christmas.  Since they were so inexpensive, I bought them, and squirreled them away for a day such as today.

I hung them up on the kitchen wall recently (using THIS method), and was just a wee bit disappointed.  Oh I still loved them alright, but I had just hung them on nails where other things had been.  There was no real thought behind their placement.  So, I left them there, and waited for inspiration.

Yesterday, I was at Target again (go ahead, gasp with mock surprise), and spotted a new plate... on clearance! (Stopping to take a bow.)  It was a larger size, and I thought it might be just what I needed to shake this wall up a little.

I tend to be a little "safe" in my decorating style, and so (of course), the first thing I did was hold the larger plate in the middle of the two smaller ones, sizing up the situation.  Still kind of boring -- and took up more room (top to bottom) than I wanted.

I thought of my Pinterest Board "WALL ARRANGEMENTS" -- and I headed over there to take a look around. Pinterest has a way of making you think you can do anything.  Sheesh, it's a good thing people don't post things like jumping off bridges!  Or maybe they do, and I shouldn't do that search.  Anyways, I digress.

What I ended up with was this:

The pictures aren't great because it's a gray and snowy day around here -- but you get the idea.

OH, I KNOW.  It's not dangerous or bold or anything.  But, you have to admit it's a little more random and unexpected.  It might even cause some people (who thought our bed in the corner was... a little too unexpected) to look away -- but I love it.  It makes me smile every time I look at it.  And I've been looking at it a lot.  It's kind of been my "SQUIRREL" all morning!  LOL

Okay, take one more look... side by side.  DEFinitely more visually interesting, right?

You know what else?  It's so random that I could probably even add more plates as the mood strikes me.

Yep.  I'm really taking a walk on the wild side people.

Have you stepped out of your comfort zone recently, and been pleasantly surprised with the results?  Tell me about it!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Paper Straws

These sweet straws came bundled up as part of a prize package that I won from my friend Sasha @LemonadeMakinMama.  Aren't they so cute?  I thought so.  So cute, in fact, that I couldn't resist taking a few photos before they disappear!

No is a word that some parents use too often.  I know that when our kids were younger, I used it too much.  At least I was conscious of it, though, and tried to change my "no" to "yes" whenever I could.  But sometimes, the answer is just no -- and honestly, some of those decisions are based on how tired a parent is.

As our kids got older, I realized that saying yes or no had less to do with how I felt about going to do something (like a movie) and more to do with whether or not our kids had a ride to get there.  As long as they had a trusted "ride," and the energy to go after a long day... the end decision really didn't have much to do with me and my energy levels.

Nevertheless, sometimes a parent has to make what we'll call... the unpopular decision.

Recently, a teenage friend (whose family goes to our church) posted this on facebook:

"I often wonder what parents think when making decisions.  I wanna know."

He's a good kid - whose parents I admire a lot, so I thought about his question and decided to respond.

"One of the hardest things for me to do as a parent is to make a decision that isn't "popular" with my kids.  I always want to have a "friendly" and loving relationship with them.  BUT... God has not called me to be their friend.  He has called me to be their PARENT.  I pray that some day when (my kids) are parents, they will better understand some of the unpopular choices that their Dad and I made for them, and realize that we had their very best interests at heart when we made those choices.  I hope the same thing happens for you too -- and I think it will.  You know why?  Because... when I was your age, I didn't think MY parents' decisions were all that great either.  True story."

I'm sure this won't come as a shock to my parents.  Afterall, isn't it every kids job to push their parents' buttons and think everything they do is a little "wonky?"  At least until you grow up enough to know better, that is.

I made an unpopular decision today.  I don't like that my child is less-than-happy with me.  And...

I don't like that I had to say "no."  I guess I'm learning.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

K - how about THIS?

{We interrupt this winter to bring you a wee bit of SPRING.}

Well, it's finally happened.  My sweet hubby is bringing home blog-post ideas -- and pictures to boot!

Apparently the seed catalogs were being passed around the office.  (Spring fever is everywhere!)  In thinking about starting seeds for a garden, somebody came up with the idea of using K-cups (you know?  from Keurig coffee makers?) to start seeds.  They use K-cups at my hubby's office, and although we don't use them at home, I know many of you do.

Here's what you end up with after your cup of coffee is made, right?

  • Peel the top label off.
  • Remove the coffee grounds.
  • Rinse the cup. (Remember, there's a hole in the bottom of the cup.  That'll come in handy for drainage!)
  • Tear out the cup's inside liner.
  • Fill with soil.
  • Plant seeds.
  • Label cups.
  • Place K-cups in recycled tray-container.
  • Water.
  • Watch grow!

You can see that they're already having success at the office!

Use a recycled take-out container to hold all of your planted K-cups.  As you water, the excess can drain out, and the container will keep it from getting on your tabletop (or desktop, as the case may be).

Through the years, the kids and I have used yogurt cups to do this -- and they take up a lot more room!  This little size would be perfect, don't you think?  I thought I'd share this post early enough to get you started on your collection of K-cups.  So far, I have two cups, from my hubby's two cups of coffee today.  I hear the cups are being recycled fast at the office, so I don't know how many more I'll get.

Let me know if you try this, and are happy with the results! -- or if you have any additional tips to add.  I'd love to hear what worked for YOU.

{And now, back to our regularly scheduled WINTER.}

Monday, January 28, 2013

There's No _____ Like Home (A Memory)

When my daughter and I were on the way to get our flu shots the other day, somehow we got talking about other appointments when my daughter got shots...

She said she could remember one appointment, where we let her take "Teddy" into the examining room with her. I think this is a false memory -- or a few memories combined.  She tells that she was "extra-scared" and held onto Teddy for security.

However, I reminded her that we never let her, or her brother take their stuffed animals or blankies IN places. Not into the church nursery... Not into the grocery store (oh heavens, no!).  NOT.  On the rare occasion that their blankies made it into the car, we would arrive at our destination only to tell them, "Put blankie on the seat.  We can't take it with us.  It'll be here when you get back in the car."  They knew the rules, and they knew Mommy and Daddy were immovable on this point since we didn't want their blankies bringing home any germs!

And then, a memory struck me.  There was a certain boy (who shall remain nameless) who, when told he must leave his blankie, would put it to his face, and breathe deep.  D-E-E-P I tell you.  This deep inhale was meant to last from the moment he left the car until the time he returned to the car, when he quickly gathered his blankie back up in his arms.

A deep breath of what surely must've smelled like... HOME?

Because... there's no smell like home.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Just Like Magic!

You may have noticed this new button on my sidebar.

Curious?  Go HERE to see one of the        buttons on a recipe post.  You will find the little button at the top of the recipe near the recipe (not post) name.  Go ahead and check it out, and then come back here... I'll wait.

Okay -- did you see the button?  Did you click on it?  If you did, it would've led you to my recipe on a site called My Recipe Magic.

Designed by the owners of Six Sisters Stuff, is a recipe sharing community that helps you to plan, organize, and create the perfect meal.  Here's what you can expect to find:
  • nutritional values
  • serving size information
  • the option to create your own Cookbook using the collection of recipes you find there
  • the option to find "similar" recipes
  • an "intelligence" option that will guide you to recipes using ingredients that you already have on hand
  • a "create a menu" option
  • a "create a shopping list" option
  • a way to earn a little pocket change by adding your own recipes!

Some of these options are already available on this new site, and some are in the works.  It's a great tool, and if you love to cook, you should definitely stop by to take a look.

As an example, I've listed my recipe for Bacon-Cheese Dreams.  From my post, you can click on the "magic" button, and it will take you to, and show you my recipe again.

The difference is... you won't find just the recipe, but nutritional information as well -- just like the side of a box!  And, HELLO!  Weight Watcher points.  Just sayin' people.

So, as you can see, one open-faced Bacon-Cheese Dream will cost you 165 calories -- and 4 Weight Watcher points -- no matter how you slice it.

So, what do you think?  A great tool, yes?

The site really seems to have taken off, too.  Tons of recipes have been added since I first started adding mine.

Let me know if you check it out.  I'd love to hear how you would use the site.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Good to the Last Drop (a thrifty project)

I am well-stocked with lotions and creams.  My hubby hit a sale after Christmas, and brought home some of my favorite flavors ummm, scents.  It's fun to have a bunch of different ones to choose from.  In making a place for them, I realized that I had a couple rather old tube-style creams.  They were ones that I couldn't bear to part with because -- well, it just didn't seem that I could get all of the cream out, and it was one of my favorite fragrances!  It felt wasteful to discard them.

The other night, I noticed the tubes on my dresser, and got a brainstorm.  Why not cut them open, and use a spatula to get the cream out?  Sounded like a plan.  Now, I just needed a small container to put it in.

It just so happens that back in the fall, my hubby and I got these adorable little mini-masons on clearance for cheap at the grocery store.  Perfect.

So, here's what I needed:  the cream tubes, containers as needed for each fragrance, kitchen shears, and a small spatula.  (I used a metal one.)

It's not rocket science, but here's what I did:

I started by cutting the very end of the tube off.  The tubes were pretty much suctioned close because I'd squeezed all of the cream to the bottom, so I slipped the spatula into the opening to pry the sides apart.  Then, I scraped the walls of the tube.  It didn't look like much was in there, but I was amazed at how much cream I ended up with! (Gosh - this sounds like surgery or something!)

When the walls of the tube were pretty clean, I cut down further, so that I had better access to the very bottom of the tube.  Since they had been standing up, a good bit of cream had pooled there.  Again -- I got more than I'd imagined I would.  I had a second tube with even more leftovers, so I ended up with a mini-mason full of Cucumber-Melon cream.  My kitchen smells of it as I write this -- yum.  Smells like a spa.  Okay -- smells like I imagine a spa would smell (never having been at one).

I'm a happy camper!  I'll be able to use this up, and it'll be good... to the last fragrant drop.

Oh -- and I couldn't resist one last thing... cutting a circular bit of the plastic tube, and inserting it under the jar lid.  It takes this project from plain to pretty, and gives a little indication of what's inside the jar.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Art Class ~ Second Quarter

Well, another one of my daughter's art projects has come home.  I love this latest "Mannequin Art."  Quite an interesting technique!  In the cut-out mannequin at the bottom of the piece are things that are special to my daughter.  Her brother told her he was rather impressed with her shading technique!  (Love that.)

We have quite a gallery growing on the side of the refrigerator.  Luckily, it's the side facing my desk -- so I get to sit here and enjoy all these things daily.  But, I told my girl that we'll have to circulate a few things out of here... and perhaps frame them or do something special with them for her room.

What do you do with your [older] kids' art? -- you know, when they start taking it more seriously?  I'd love to hear some ideas!  I only have so much room on the side of my refrigerator.

In other art news... The other day, I got a text from my daughter (who was at school).  It said,

"Gahhhhh!!!!!!!  My newest art work made showcase!!!!!!"

That means it will be in the glass showcase in the hallway by the front office for an undisclosed period of time. She's pretty pleased over that -- and we're pretty proud of her.  I'll make sure to show you that one too... whenEVer it finally gets to come home to OUR gallery.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Saturday Surprise

On a recent Saturday morning, my sweet hubby and daughter headed out to run some errands.  Gallivanting, they call it.  (They crack me up!)  But -- they are quite the pair when out shopping together.  They have eyes that are better trained than mine... or something.  They usually come home with some kind of treasure.

A short while after they left, my cell phone rang.  My husband's number... my daughter calling.  "Mom, Dad wants to know if you would you be interested in some more blue canning jars?"

They were at the local flea market, and spotted a booth with the blue jars -- $2 a piece, most of them.

I said, "Sure!  Surprise me."

Surprise me, they did.  My hubby picked out this giant half-gallon jar.

Don't you love a good surprise?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Candy Land Clearance

Candy in the shape of an upside-down "J" is called what?
If you said "a candy cane," you are correct.

It's colors are...?
If you said "red and white," you are correct.

And it's flavor is...?
If you said "peppermint," you are correct.

In the home of a "purist" candy cane lover...  this (see photo above) is just plain wrong.

Can you guess who, in our house, purchased it?  To his credit, he only paid a clearance price.  Unsure if it was edible, or would only be used as a prop (he knows me so well *wink*), he knew he was taking a chance.

Would I, lover of all things peppermint -- even chewy clearance candy canes, ever be tempted to eat it?

Not if every cupboard in the house was empty.

{But Babe -- thanks for the prop!}

The Candy Cane Purist

Friday, January 18, 2013

Mango Madness

I am, I confess, a little bit crazy about anything MANGO.  Love mangoes.  Love apricot-mango yogurt.  Love mango smoothies.  I don't think I've every met anything mango that I didn't love.  So, naturally, when I saw these handcrafted mango marshmallows in my grocer's bakery aisle, I couldn't resist trying them.

Well, actually, I resisted several times -- and then, one day I just decided to go for it.  They sounded like a little limited-time luxury -- and I went for it, totally expecting to be disappointed.  Because really?  How "true" could mango marshmallow flavoring BE?

But -- they were A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

So, I gave one to my daughter to try.  No thank you -- too sweet.

When my hubby came home, I had him try.  No thank you -- too sweet.

Okay people... they're MARSHMALLOWS!

Well, that settles that.  I won't ever be able to buy these again... because, you know who eats them?


Mango madness indeed.  (Also available in handcrafted strawberry and handcrafted vanilla -- because, you know you wanted to know.)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Flu Funny

My daughter and I got flu shots the other day.  YAY.  We were finally both healthy at the same time, and had some free time on our hands - so check that off the list.  And boy - none too soon from what they say!  I sometimes wonder if the media is exaggerating this too (ya think?) -- but nevertheless, I'm not taking any chances.  That bout with bronchitis earlier in the fall was AW FULL - you heard me.  FLU?  I don't even want it coming close.  (Let's not even think about the fact that it's vaccinated form is coursing through my bloodstream right now, daring my body to fight.... yeah, let's not.)

Last winter (or was it the winter before?) H1N1 was the big deal -- and all the pharmacy signs around town boasted that they could vaccinate you.  There was one particular pharmacy that sits right on a near-by corner with a stop light.  Our van stops at that light a lot.  So that pharmacy sign was a source of wonder to our daughter for a long time.  Finally one day, she had to ask.

"What is the Hini Flu?"  (huh, wha?  Did she say "heenee?")

Yep.  She was reading each "1" as an "I" -- not being familiar with the "flu code."

This year, apparently we've been upgraded to H3something -- and like I said... I'm not taking any chances.

And, lest there be someone out there who thinks I would leave the men of the house to fend for themselves... (Mom), my sweet hubby got his shot earlier in the season, and our son is scheduled for his today.

So... we can all be safe from the heenee flu... or whatever it is.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Note Card Party 1.16

It's that time again.  Note Card Party Time at Vee's!  I'll just bet you're expecting snowy Ohio pictures... but that is not what I have in store for you today.  I haven't gotten out to take a lot of snow pictures this year, preferring to stay inside with a hot mug of tea.  And, the 50-degree temps and rain at the end of last week pretty much melted any remaining snow for a photo op.  So, I thought I'd inspire you with some colorful shots from... other seasons of life.  I hope you're not too disappointed.

Click on each of these photos to go to the original post.

You can see previous Note Card posts here:
December 2012
A Haven for Vee

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