Monday, March 31, 2014

Crunchy salty chocolate goodness

There have been many recipes all over blog land for crunch salty nutty chocolaty snacks lately.  They all look so good so I decided to put my own spin on one myself.

My kids love what they call 'Puppy Chow'.  We've been making it since they were small to give to friends as Christmas or Birthday gifts along with other home made goodies. 

Puppy Chow is 1 box of corn Chex cereal, 1 regular bag of chocolate chips and 1 box of confectioners sugar.  You melt the chocolate in the microwave.  In a large zip lock bag - I get the 2 gallon ones - put your cereal in the bag (the entire box) and pour the melted chocolate in. Then add the confectioners sugar, zip up the bag and shake till mixed and the cereal is covered.  Then spread the mix out of a piece of wax or parchment paper to dry.  Once dry serve! 

To elaborate on this idea I made the following one. 

1 bag of pre-made Chex mix - For this one I would recommend either cheese or regular.  I bought the regular size bag, not the super big one. 
(You could substitute here and use boxes of the cereal instead)
1 can of peanuts - any kind.  I used salty crunchy planters nuts
1 bag of M&M's - I used regular (Easter pastel) but you could use peanut
1 bag of Reeses pieces - I used Easter pastels

Mix it all together in a large bowl and enjoy!  This stuff is SERIOUSLY good! 

 You could change it up by adding frosted animal crackers or flavored M&M's - do you know they make Cookies and Cream, Carrot Cake and Coconut flavored M&M's? 
I am not so sure about Carrot Cake or Coconut flavored M&M's it might be weird. 

You could also add chocolate pretzels, candy corn, Kisses (though you'd have to unwrap them all first), Robin's Eggs (for Easter), popcorn, Cheese Its,  - the sky is the limit! 
I hope you try it.  I made this big batch on Friday and it is all gone today. 

I've been asked to make more. 
My husband scoffed at it when I made it, he told me 'we don't need that' and then 'no one will eat that.'  Well today he told me he's tried not to like it but it is just too good, so can I make some more? 

Now I am thinking of how I can make it for other holiday's or just everyday! My mind is racing! 

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Let me know if you make this crunchy salty sweet goodness.  It has it all. 
Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pottery Barn knock off

A couple of weeks ago I received the 'Spring' or 'Easter' edition of the Pottery Barn catalog.  I really like PB things but why oh why are they so expensive?! 

One of the items I really liked were these vases wrapped in burlap on the right filled with grass.  I couldn't find them in the catalog on sale but I am sure they'd be some crazy price! 
So cute.  The entire table is just adorable. 

Here is how to make your own burlap wrapped vase.

You will need:
 - vases - I had mine from the dollar store.  They are the same one's I used to make this craft at  Christmas, I just washed them. 
Here is a link to that craft.

- burlap - I got mine at Hobby Lobby and used my 40% off coupon and got it for less than $5.00
- Scissors - for cutting the burlap and ribbon
- craft glue - or any kind of glue that is washable and dries clear
- Ribbon or twine.  I bought ribbon at the dollar store but you could use kitchen twine.

Step 1:  Cutting your burlap to fit your vase.  Wrap the burlap around the vase leaving about a 1/2 inch overlap and cut.

Step 2:  Glue your cut burlap to your vase.  Run a line of glue down the vase and adhere one end of your burlap to it.  Run another line of glue on that material, right over the top of the original line of glue, then wrap the material around the vase - PULL IT TIGHT and adhere it to the additional glue line. 

Step 3:  Cut your twine or ribbon to fit the vase.  Wrap the ribbon or twine around the vase tie a bow or a simple knot and cut the edges of the ribbon or twine.

DONE!  Very easy. 

Here are the steps in pictures.
Your tools:

I lined my burlap up with the bottom of the vase but you could put yours in the middle
 Run a line of glue down the vase and adhere one end of the material to that line of glue. 
 Don't forget to add that extra line of glue to the material so your end will have something to adhere to.
Wrap the material around the vase and adhere the other end to the glue line.

The almost finished products! 
I did two with the top folded down about a 1/4 inch like the catalog picture and two without.  

Finally wrap the ribbon or twine around the middle.  I just made simple knots.  You could make a bow. 

I can't decide which one I like more! 

Options - I really like this because there are so many options. 
1.  You could use fabric instead of burlap. 
2.  You could use different size vases
3.  You could fill them with anything!  Grass, flowers, rocks, candles, moss, twigs, eggs, peeps, jelly beans... use your imagination! 

I can't wait to set my spring/Easter table and use these. 

Again - original from PB - see it there on the right filled with grass? 

And my knock-off:

I think they are cute and they were very easy to make.  It took me less than 5 minutes to do all 4. 

So remember if you see something in a catalog or online and it is crazy expensive start thinking how you could just make it yourself. 

This weekend I hope to start another knock off project.  I fell in love with some mirrors in a Ballard Design catalog.  They are $150 each - crazy.  I hope to make 4 of them for around $25.00!!!  I don't know how long it will take me, the hubby is going to help as there are power tools involved! 
I also hope to decorate my house for Easter.  Then there is an RV show in Denver that I am going to. 

Have a great weekend.  If you have any questions about this project, or any project just shoot me a line at - or you can comment here on the blog.  I read and respond to every one. 
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Have a safe and Happy weekend.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

7 Rules to live by

I found these rules years ago and I still have them pinned to my desk at work and another copy tucked away in my wallet.  I take them out or read them at work when I feel I need to.  I try and live by these 7 simple rules.  I still have problems with #6 though. 

1.  Make peace with your past so it won't disturb your present
 - your past is your past.  It is part of what makes you, well you!  Everyone makes mistakes and as long as you learn and grow from these mistakes you are still moving forward. 

2.  What other people think of you is none of your business.
- I know people who struggle with this.  But let me tell you it is very freeing to not care what others think of you. Don't let others opinions stop you from doing what you feel is right for you. 

3.  Time heals almost everything, so give it time.
- This is so true.  Broken hearts mend over time, so give yourself the time to heal.  It is different for everyone. 

4.  No one is in charge of my happiness except me! 
 - Don't rely on others to make you happy or let others affect your mood.  Life is too short to be sad. 

5.  Don't compare your life to others and don't judge them, you have no idea what their journey is all about.
- I know a lot of people who struggle with this one.  Until you have walked in someone elses shoes for a day don't judge them. 

6.  Stop thinking too much.  It is alright not to know all the answers.  They will come to you when you least expect it.
- I still struggle with this one cause I need to know. 

7.  Smile.  You don't own all the worlds problems.
- Smiling even when on the phone will change your tone, you attitude and can affect others.... so smile it is contagious! 

Like I said I still struggle with #6.  Some of these I have conquored while others not so much but that is OK!  I hope you find these useful in your life. 

Till Thursday, have a great week.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Liquid Gold

 My poor antique buffet is in sad, sad shape.  It has a broken leg...

Yes that is black electrical tape holding it together. 

This poor buffet came from England on a ship in the early 1900's and lived in Baltimore for a long time before being transported via truck to Colorado. 

The years have just not been kind to it.  It has been loved. 

At least once every couple of months I attempt to clean it up and bring it back to its former glory.

Liquid Gold is my secret. 

This cleaner and preserver is amazing.  It can restore and bring a nice finish back to just about anything. 

The buffet has many scratches, scrapes, gouges and burns on it.  I have no idea how the burn marks got on the poor thing.  You can see a large scratch in the picture above.  While this does NOT fill in deep scratch marks, it does make them less noticeable.  I need to get a wood pen that is the same dark color as the buffet and color those in but in the meantime, this works really well. 

To clean your furniture you will need:
1.  Liquid Gold Wood restorer and cleaner
2.  A soft rag or a couple of paper towels

Here are your results:

AMAZING isn't it.  See the shine! 

Now, I need to tell you that this Liquid Gold is oily, really oily.  You don't need much.
(I just can't get rid of the water ring).  After you pour the Liquid Gold on the piece you need to rub it in and keep rubbing.  It will absorb into the wood and pick up the dirt and grime.
Surface scratches will disappear! 
I rub in the direction of the wood grain for best results. 
This will NOT get out deep scratches, burn marks or set in deep water stains.  It will however bring back the color and shine to your wood, remove surface stains and scratches and make your piece of furniture shine! 
So if you need to clean and preserve a piece of furniture I hope you try Liquid Gold.... as an unbiased and unpaid user it really works.  It is one of my 'go-to' cleaning tools. 

The weekend is coming!  I hope everyone has a safe and happy weekend.  I am going to try to do some spray painting that I haven't been able to do yet because it has either been too cold or too windy.  This weekend looks warm and not too windy so I hope to get the spray painting project done.  I also am going to take down my St. Patrick's Day decorations (I don't have much) and clean and decorate for spring.  I may even put my Easter things out, not sure yet. 

Mr. Soot is coming to our house on Friday to clean our chimney.  I hope he has an English accent just makes me think of Bert from Mary Poppins!  I'll let you know all about that on Tuesday! 

Have a great weekend.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Kitchen cupboard organization

This is a long post, sorry ahead of time but I want to walk you through how I organized my mess step by step. 
I do not have a pantry.  My kitchen is just too small.  I do however have several cupboards that I use to hold spices and food staples such as cereal, rice, can goods and such. 

When we did our mini makeover in our kitchen I was determined to get these cupboards organized.
This is what I started with....

I started by taking everything out of these cupboards.  I went through and looked at the expiration dates on every item.  Several were out of date, oh heck a lot were out of date.  I also had duplicates and even triplicates of some things.  Those, I donated to Care and Share, our local food bank, the expired ones I threw out. 

After I cleaned the shelves I had to decide if I wanted to put shelf paper on the shelves.  I decided no.

Now, how to organize everything. 

I have a lot of can goods and things in boxes and needed to be able to store everything in an easy way, not only so I'd keep it organized but I needed things easily accessible and easy to see so I wouldn't have 6 of 1 thing. 
I went and bought 4 of these things..

The are specifically for cans.  I put 2 on the top shelf and 2 on the bottom.  One I used for peas and green beans and one for corn.  Another I used for soups and one for can fruit. 

I also bought several of these in different sizes at Bed, Bath and Beyond.
The have a grip on the bottom and on the inside.  In these I put odd things like extra condiments, vinegars, tuna fish, peanut butter, ramen and the like. 
It is very organized now and in a matter that I can keep.  I need to get a container to put the egg noodles in yet but I'll get that soon. 

In the next cupboard I usually keep the cereal, coffee and teas. This is what this cupboard started out like...
 I bought some baskets from Target,
 I got 2, one for coffee and teas and one for hot chocolate packets.  The square labels were bought separately at Target.  I also used more of these to hold syrup's
Also at Target I bought 2 of these large containers for cereal and 2 small ones for pancake mix and bread crumbs.
The larger one, shown above, holds the contents of a medium sized cereal box.  I need to buy a couple more for the rest of the cereal that I have. 
Again I took everything out of the cupboard, cleaned the shelves off and went through everything.  Anything with an expired date I tossed, anything that I had multiples of I donated all but one to Care and Share.  I had a lot of multiples and a lot of expired things but this is what I came up with.
As you can see I need more of the cereal containers. 
Then I moved on to the spice cupboard.  It was also a mess.  Sorry I didn't take a before picture.  I again went through everything, cleaned the shelves and looked at all the expiration dates.  Spices also go bad.  If baking powder or baking soda don't fizz when combined with water they are old and you should throw them away.  If you have an McCormick spices in cans, they are really old and should be thrown away. 
I used more of these bins I got at Bed, Bath and Beyond along with this mini step shelf I also got at Bed, Bath and Beyond. 


I put the bins on the bottom shelf and put gravy, taco and other packets in them.  The mini step shelf, I bought 2 and put one on each shelf for spices. 
This is the outcome:
We did add contact paper to the shelves. 

I also organized the old pots & pans drawer.  Well there are no pots just pans - cookie sheets, colanders, muffin tins and cooling racks.  It was a mess. 
We pulled out the old piece of linoleum that was in there and put down new contact paper.  I also bought 4 of these from Bed, Bath and Beyond, my hubby screwed them in place for me. 
I went through all the things I had and got rid of the red quesadilla maker as I never used it.  I also donated the Cuisinart grill.  It was a great idea as it laid flat like a griddle or could be used like a Panini press.  The problem was it was really hard to clean. 

But I purged  and this is the outcome.
Much better!  I bought a wire bin and put it in the garage on an eye level shelf for potatoes. 

OK now to the cost., I will tell you that this wasn't cheap. 

The rubber bins I bought at Bed, Bath and Beyond were $5.00 for the small ones and $6.00 for the larger ones.   I bought a total of 6 small and 6 large ones.  They have rubber pads on the bottoms and on the inside they are lined with rubber to be non-stick.  These were the least expensive ones that BB&B sold.  I also bought the racks from BB&B (4) they were $5.00 each.  The large mini step shelves with the rubber on each shelf - I bought 2 for $10.00 each.  I also had my 20% off coupons.

Next, I bought 2 baskets, some clear containers and a set of  labels at Target.  The baskets were on sale for $7.29 each - they came with the cloth liners.  The large clear container was $4.00 and the 2 small were $2.00 each.  The labels came 2 in a pack for $2.00. 

Finally the can good racks, I bought 4, at Wal-Mart for $3.00 each. 

I also bought rubber shelf liner for the dishes and glasses.  The rubber is easy to work with and really nice for glassware and dishes.  The liner was $10.00 a roll.  One roll did 4 shelves. 

It has been organized for 2 weeks now and I have been able to keep it organized, so has my family, which is a plus.  I even went grocery shopping and not only was I able to make my list faster because I could see what I have and what I need but I spent less at the grocery store because I wasn't buying things I though I needed but had and just couldn't see!

Now that my kitchen is organized I want to tackle other area's like closets, bedroom drawers and closets and my craft closet.  I will tell you however, that organizational things are E X P E N S I V E
really expensive.  Price things out, watch for sales and save your $$.
Do you have cupboards that you use to store things?  I'd love to hear your ideas for organization. 
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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Amazing finds this weekend!

I just had to share what amazing things I found this weekend! 

First up this beauty...
No not the plethora of plants, nor the vacuum cleaner...the cart. 

I was in my local Home Goods store and was looking for a new purse.  I always shop the back corners of the stores and the clearance sections if marked and always, always back end caps of isles.  You find the best bargains there.  I found this in the back corner folded up. 

At first it just looked like a neat long wood tray with a glass bottom, then I went to pick it up!  Magic people I tell you magic! I actually gasped I was so excited!  It was originally $49.00 - OK let's just say Fifty bucks!  It was on clearance for, get this, $24.99 - OK let's say twenty five dollars!  Half off!  I looked at it, opened it up, moved it around and I could NOT find nothing wrong with it.  Needless to say I put it in my cart so fast the other lady now eyeing in frowned.  Really she sighed and spun on her heel and walked away. 

And no, I did not buy a new purse. 

Then I went to Target.  I had a coupon on the cartwheel app for 15% off Threshold baskets.  I wanted a small basket to put all the remotes in.  Hopefully this will keep them from getting lost in the future! 

Look at what I scored! 

First - all decorative pillows were buy one get on 50% off.  I also had a cartwheel coupon for 15% off decorative pillows! 
I got these two.
One of the best things about Target and the cartwheel app????  you only need 1 coupon to get 15% off  - so I got 15% off EACH of these with just 1 coupon PLUS I got another 50% one at the buy one get on 1/2 off!!  So 65% off one and 15% off the other - CRAZY! 

Look what I found on an end cap on clearance....

A 6 foot sisal runner originally $60.00 for get this... wait for it... $20.00!  well, $19.98.  It will do great at my sliding glass door. 

And this time I did get what I went in to get, the basket. 
Original price - $7.29 and I got it for 15% off with my coupon. 
I also bought some cosmetics - eye shadow and a lip pencil and had a 20% off cosmetics coupon on the cartwheel. 

I did GREAT!  The runner and the tray cart thing were items that I wouldn't normally buy right away but hope they go down in price again.... however, these are also things that when you see them you gotta get them otherwise when you go back in a couple days they will be gone.  They are once in a lifetime buys. 

Tomorrow I am going to share how I organized my kitchen cupboards that hold my food staples.  I'll take you step by step through what I did.  Till tomorrow...

Happy St. Patrick's Day! 
Erin go Bragh! 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Kitchen reveal

Well it is done - well all but 1 drawer - our junk drawer. 

Why does every house have a junk drawer?  I am very proud to say that we have only this one but why?
This is my small junk drawer.  You can see I've attempted organization before - the basket full of pens, pencils and scissors, but that is about it.  I am tackling it this weekend!  I will prevail!!

So onto the kitchen. 
Can I tell you how much I love knobs and handles?  Where have they been all my life!  I think it all looks great. 

So for the review... the before:  White cabinets that constantly looked dirty, outdated wall paper border and a bunch of rugs and just stuff. 

Let's look at the disaster I've lived in for 18 years shall we.. don't be afraid.  I know the junk drawer I just shared is scary but the kitchen, while bad, wasn't bad enough to be on 'Worst Kitchen's in America' or anything....
Notice the 'lazy Suzan' door doesn't shut right.... 

 I have no place to store my pots and pans so I have to hang them... notice the door on that cabinet doesn't shut either... yeah, that got fixed.

Cupboard door fixed! 
Look at my pretty hardware! 

A shelf - my attempt to make it all look better.  Originally this was hung low and my 6 foot + tall husband hit is cheek, his shoulder and his neck on it several times... but he's the silly man who hung it there! 
Ok, it was bad... BUT - it got fixed and it is amazing what some color, knobs and handles will do!

Now the after -
Serious Gray on the bottom cabinets and Mindful Gray on the uppers with wondrous blue on the walls and backsplash.  The knobs are from Home Depot they came in a bulk pack for $20.00 a pack of 10.  The drawer pulls also came from Home Depot and were $2.98 each. 

 We did not have money for new appliances - notice the duct tape on my microwave!?  STILL there holding the button on. 
 As you can see this is NOT a big space... 

I found this great rug at World Market  2 weeks ago, originally $34.00 on sale for $29.99 and I had a 30% off coupon... whoo hoo! 
I love it so much I'm thinking of getting 4 of them, sewing them together and making a rug for my living room. 
This time we kept the decorations to a minimum.  I did have my husband re-hang the shelf...however, higher this time - yes it is a bit high but it is better than his black eye from hitting it. 
I re-used the coffee cup picture that was there before.  The only other thing we hung was this sign that I got at Hobby Lobby - originally $19.99 and it was half off the week I bought it.  So TEN BUCKS! 

Well that is the kitchen.  Not a big space but I think it looks amazing.  And yes, I still love my knobs and handles. 
So to re-cap...
I will eventually get a new curtain but this one will have to do for now. 
Again - BEFORE:  - see the duct tape on the microwave! 
 And AFTER - still duct tape on the microwave! 
I just am amazed at what paint can do.  It can transform your room! 

I hope you have an amazing weekend. 
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Next week I'll explain how I organized my cupboards and drawers.  I've already given a sneak peek at the before and the after is crazy nice!  Till Tuesday - stay safe!