Monday, October 15, 2012

DIY Fabric-Covered Bins

I have lots of diaper boxes around here, so when I saw the idea of covering them with fabric, I jumped at that.  I love bins, but they are fairly expensive, so I rarely buy them.  But now I have lots of bins around my house that are cute and very cheap and easy to make!  I love being able to use things I would normally throw away to make something useful.  For this particular project I covered one diaper box and one plastic basket that I got from Dollar Tree.  I found the fabric on the clearance rack at Hancock's, so it was less than $5 for all of it.  I just cut the fabric to a size that would cover the box, sponge-brushed on some glue (spray adhesive would probably work better, though), and carefully pressed on the fabric.  I just sort of folded and cut to make it work around the corners and edges.  See how it turned out!

what I started with...

the transformation begins...

how it looks on the bookshelf

I made the bottom pretty with some of the extra fabric.

the plastic basket looks nice on my front counter

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pumpkin Butter

To celebrate the season, I always like to make something with pumpkin in it.  After seeing a recipe for pumpkin butter on skinny taste, I decided to give it a try.  It was super easy, smelled wonderful cooking, and was so yummy especially on my homemade English muffin bread (which I will post the recipe for soon).  I also put some of this in jars, and gave it as gifts.  Here's a link to the recipe.  Here is a picture of some of the jars.
I cut some scrapbook paper and put in under the rim to make it look prettier as a gift.

Best Broccoli Ever

I saw something on pinterest that said it was a recipe for "the best broccoli you'll ever eat in your life."  I was intrigued, although skeptical, especially when I read the part about the husband saying it was like biting into a steak!  I normally steam fresh broccoli, and it is very tasty, but nothing special at all.  So, I decided to give it a shot for dinner that night.  Well, it turned out amazing!  Rich gave it rave reviews, even though he said it didn't quite live up to steak fame.  He definitely agreed that it was the best broccoli he had ever had.  I also loved it, and so did Josiah, who usually turns up his nose to broccoli.  Even when I try to mix it into  something he likes, he finds it in his mouth and spits it out while chewing everything else.  He was literally shoving it in like candy!  I can't say the same about Anna Ruth and James, who did not care for it because of the lemon juice.  They also don't like change, and since they normally love regular steamed broccoli, they didn't appreciate the new method.  Oh, well, they will just have to get used to it, because I will definitely be making broccoli this way very often.  Try it out and let me know what you think!

Here is the recipe:

1 bunch of broccoli (can add cauliflower like I did)
S & P
3-4 garlic cloves
fresh Parmesan block

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Chop fresh broccoli into florets and spread out on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss around on the cookie sheet with a spatula.
Chop up the cloves of garlic and sprinkle on top.
Cook for 20-25 minutes until the broccoli is crisp-tender and beginning to brown on the tips and bottom.
Take out and zest some of the lemon peel with a handheld grater, then cut in half and squeeze some juice over the broccoli.
Grate some fresh Parmesan on top, then toss it all together and serve immediately.

Here's a pic of the final product (sorry, I am not a food stylist):

Monday, October 01, 2012

Anna Ruth and Lily Anna

Anna Ruth loves to match hair-dos with her doll, Lily Anna.
Here they are right before going to our first American Girl Club.  

side view of the fun braids

Thursday, September 27, 2012

DIY Coasters

I've somehow found the time to do some crafting since I've been inspired by so much on pinterest.  Last Saturday I was out picking up a couple things, so I decided to get what I needed to make some coasters.  I went to Lowe's and bought 12 4x4 tiles (16 cents each!), and I already had some really cute scrapbook paper as well as Mod Podge and spray sealer.  As I was making them, I got the idea to put a monogram letter on them, so I just found a nice font and printed out an "H" several times and then cut them in circles.  I wasn't sure if I would like the monogram long-term, but after posting the pictures on facebook to get input, everyone was in agreement that the monogram looked best.  So, if you would like to try your hand at making your own, here are some instructions on how to do it.

Here's what you need:
4x4 tiles
scrapbook paper
scissors or paper cutter
Mod Podge
sponge brush
monogram circles (if desired)
clear spray sealer
felt pads

1.  Cut the scrapbook paper into 4x4 squares.  Try to find several colors or patterns that go together well to make sets.
2.  Spread a thin layer of Mod Podge on the tiles.  Carefully line up the paper and press down to smooth.
3.  If desired, add monograms with more Mod Podge.  Let dry for about 15 minutes
4.  Spray with sealer in a well-ventilated area, following directions on the can.  Tip:  I did hold the can closer than the instructions said, and got better results.  Also, you will have to do at least three coats of the sealer, until you get the desired effect.  Let it dry for 30 minutes in between each coat.
5.  When the coasters are dry, apply the felt pads.

Enjoy or give away a set as a gift or both!


Just wanted to get something on here to update about what's been going on...

Anna Ruth:
Anna Ruth's hair is in a headband braid

She is getting so tall and grown-up.  Everyone keeps saying it wherever we go.  I can't believe she's going to be seven years old in December.

She is a voracious reader, and is already reading American girl books and other small chapter books.  Because of the AG books, she has gotten into dolls, and we have joined an American Girl club with our homeschooling support group.  It meets once a month (with a different doll theme each time), and the girls bring their dolls, they learn about the time period from the stories, do a craft, and have snacks.  This month the doll is Molly, whose story is set during World War II.  She has read 3 of the Molly books, watched the Molly movie, and has gotten a doll to bring to the club.  It is not an AG doll, since they are so expensive, but it is the same size and style of them.  Hers has blonde hair, blue eyes, and is named Lily Anna.
I love doing her hair, and she usually has good ideas of how she wants it done.  Now that she has a doll, she usually requests for me to make her doll's hair match hers.
Anna Ruth likes to put on music while she works on her handwriting in the morning.  Lately, she does not want to choose "kid music", so she has been looking through my CD case and putting on Indelible Grace music.  It takes me back to RUF days!  She's so funny about wanting to be like an adult now.

James loves to fight off all the bad guys
He is a big fan of Anna Ruth, although he might not admit it.  He copies everything she says and does, and they actually play together pretty well, because he's willing to listen to her and do what she says.
He is quite the climber.
He was running around the train table the other day saying, "I'm a race car!"
James stood on the toybox and performed the Doxology for us.  It went like this: "Praise God from whom all blessings flow! (a step higher) "Praise God from whom all blessings flow!" (a step higher) "Praise God from whom all blessings flow!" (a step higher) "A-men!"
He is doing really well with school.  We are learning the sounds of the letters, and practicing writing the letters.  He is pretty close to being able to write his name.
He also has begun to draw stick figures; they even have details like eyes, noses, mouths, hair, and tummies.  And he stays in the lines on coloring pages if he wants to.
He is still into dinosaurs, and is requesting a T-Rex birthday party when he turns four, which is not far away--November 14th!


Josiah posing in his new Mexican shirt
This boy is into EVERYTHING!  I never had to put cabinet locks on for the other kids, but they've been oh-so-necessary for him.  He gets into drawers, plays in the toilets, grabs whatever may be slightly hanging off the side of the counter, rips up paper, finds pens and writes on walls and couches, etc.  You get the idea!
He is extremely active and likes to climb.  If I had a nickel for every time I got him down from some place he shouldn't be up on, I'd be a rich woman.
He is a pincher and biter.  Ouch!
He is a sweet boy, though, and is a little talker.  He jabbers on about all sorts of things, especially getting excited when Daddy gets home.  He runs to the door, shouting, "Dah!  Dah!"  Rich loves it!

Liv and Rich:
I am enjoying homeschooling this year.  I am re-learning things I had forgotten about history, singing songs about nouns that I still remember from the 1st grade, and even learning lots of new things!  It is so fun to have this time with my children.  It is hard, and there's not much down time, and I'm usually exhausted by the end of the day, but I really do feel fulfillment in doing what God has called me to do right now.
I am about to start Women's Bible Study next week, and we are reading a book called The Praying Life.  I think it is a timely study, from which I will profit much.
Rich has been reading a lot more lately.  After we started listening to The Chronicles of Narnia with the kids, he got excited about fiction again, and read ahead in those books as well as reading some fiction by G.K. Chesterton.
Rich is happy about at least one of his teams doing well this football season.  The Citadel is having a great start to their season, and we are going to our first football game as a family on Saturday.  He has been practicing the CI-TA-DEL...Goooooo BULLDOGS!!! cheer with the kids so that we can spur our team on to victory.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

New Beginnings

Sometimes updating the blog helps me get back into the habit of writing more.  That's what I'm trying to do this time.  Do you like the new look and theme?  We'll see if I can be a bit more faithful in posting this time around.  There is much to write about, but very little time.  But I think it is important to write these things down so that I can remember them later.  So, here's to a new beginning with the blog.  The story of our life moves on, and hopefully, I can write it down.  I will post updates and pictures about the children--cute quotes, milestones, achievements, activities, etc.
Another new beginning is the school year!  On Monday, King's Dominion Academy (what we named our homeschool) will be starting it's second year.  Anna Ruth will be in 1st grade, and James will be in K-4.  I am excited to watch them learn so many new things, and I'm glad I can spend all this time with them.  I am having to make a pretty tight schedule for our day, but I think it's a good thing to be more purposeful with the way we use our time.  I may post about what we're doing and learning in school, and maybe some cool science experiments, too!
A third new beginning is our plan to get out of debt.  The only debt we have at the moment is Rich's student loan and the house, so we are trying to really attack the student loan debt in order to get that paid off in the next couple years.  I am having to be more careful with the budget and cut back on unnecessary expenses for a while, so I may post about good deals I find or thrifty projects and gifts I'm able to make.
I hope that you will check back often to keep up with our story, and please write a little something to encourage me to continue the updates.  You know I need it! ;)