Monday, December 17, 2012

...at decorating

Sometimes pinterest has the best ideas. I saw this, and thought it would be perfect for Short Stuffs room. Here's where I got the idea:
www.thriftycraftygirl.blogspot.com/2011/12/25-days-of-christmas-ornament-tree.html 

Too bad I grossly underestimated how many bulbs to use for her tree. I hardly got halfway up the tree, I had to go out and buy 3 more containers! I got them at Walmart and the one closest to me was sold out of the colors I needed. So when I was in the bigger town with the bigger Walmart I checked there and they only had pink and blue. I just decided to make do with those. Instead of using beads I used garland and I'm glad I did. It was much easier filling in the holes. The garland just slipped right in.
Here's how it turned out.
Pretty huh?

Now for some lessons learned. You can see the bottom is all garland, there's a reason, I was about 5 ornaments short and I was afraid what I needed was all sold out! So, I do what I do best, made do with what I had. I thought about leaving holes in the back, but I didn't want it to look like it was half done. Or chopping off the bottom a little, but I'd probably ruin the thing, so I just stole the ones from the bottom and called it a day :)

Guess what I couldn't find while I was doing this? My hotglue gun! Guess where it was hiding? In the craft organizer (or a door shoe organizer with crafts in it) on the back of the toy room door, where its suppose to be. As my mom would say, "You'd loose your head, if it wasn't attached!" ...she's right, and its getting worse with age and motherhood, and I'm only 27, ahh!!! Before you do this project, locate your hot glue gun, I wasted so much time putting ornaments back in thier respective hole. If I did this again, I'd do 2 rows then hot glue. Sometimes, you do have to re-arrange a little. I guess its a good thing I didn't do that right away because I re-arranged all the purple ones after the purple was sold out at the store. SO before you do that, have MORE than enough! I probably used close to 100! If these ornaments go on sale after christmas, I am buying them all up to make more! The shorter garland at wal-mart was the perfect size. (I will get more specifics on what I used later)
Also when I tried to shove the ornaments into the top of the tree, it broke. Thats why it doesn't look pointy at the top. Oh, freakin well. I'm not selling this on etsy or at a craft show or anything.

It's my best shot!

Monday, November 5, 2012

...at organizing the laundry detergent space

The other day, I was in an organizing mood, so I decided to take on my laundry detergent space. Living in the country we have super hard water, so I usually use borax or super washing soda in with my detergent. I also use baking soda for other things in my bathroom, so its nice to have that on hand. I just started making my own powdered detergent (more on that on another post) but have store bought detergent as well. My husband is an industrial technician and gets REALLY dirty, so I still have store stuff till I can get a handle on his clothes. His work clothes are beyond hoping that stains will come out, but at least they don't smell like Form Oil! (Plus he is really skeptical and doesn't think my stuff will work) I also use vinegar in the fabric softener compartment and have found it works really well. Its much cheaper than fabric softener, and doesn't have those nasty chemicals that absorb into your skin! Fabric softener sheets can be used for dust around crown molding, and to get off baked on food on grills, and I'm sure for other things too. Even though I haven't done those things yet, I have them around just in case I get a wild hair to try! I have some really good ideas on how I can make my formula better,(which right now is just ground fels-naptha, super washing soda, and borax) so be looking forward to that in the near future! 

So here is what it looked like before: 



I saw this really cute idea to use spaghetti and pickle jars as "apacarthy" jars from the Parties for Pennies Blog, found here: http://partiesforpennies.blogspot.com/2012/02/diy-apothecary-jars.html but I didn't have any knobs laying around so I just painted the lids different colors that match my bathroom. (BTW my house will NEVER look like hers!) My plan is to gets some knobs and add them to the lids. I also thought about adding a candle stick underneath one to increase height, but this will have to work for now. 



Looks much better, aye? I just want to say this took me about an hour, which isn't too bad considering I painted the lids. The hardest part was getting the labels off the jars. I actually threw a few of them in hot soapy water before I left for work in the morning. I found that worked the best. I read about a technique where you blow dry the label and it'll come right off, because the glue heats up but it didn't work that well. It just left a lot of glue to figure out how to scrape off. I didn't have to use much elbow grease on the ones I soaked. 

Well, that's Momma's Best Shot :) 

...at Halloween Costume making

So, I know this is a little late, but I made short stuff's Halloween costume this year. I am always amazed at how expensive costumes are, and how, especially little ones costumes are made without thinking that its going to be the end of October, and it might be cold! You would think they would make them with a little heavier material. Then there's those parents that dress their 2-5 year old in one of those costumes, and complain that its too small for their kid to wear something underneath, so their kid has to cover it up with a coat. HELLO?!? Where have you been on Halloween for the past 25-35 years?! Yes, its going to be cold in IOWA on October 31! ...sorry for the tangent, I digress....

Short stuff is now at that age where she can pick what she wants to be. Her first Halloween she was a bumble bee (she was 3 months), then a pumpkin, and last year a fairy. This was the first year I really "made" her costume. Last year, she just wore a tutu and some wings she had for dress up. This year, she wanted to be a puppy. I asked her what color of puppy and she want to be and she chose white, like her Nana and Papa's puppy. So I found a white hoodie at a secondhand store for $4.00, and I had some white 18 month pants, which fit around the waist but were a little short. I also got some brown and white felt at wal-mart for $0.15. sheet (I got 2 brown and 2 white) 

Here's what I did.  First I cut out a brown circle to go on the chest (to hide the large logo across the front of the sweatshirt) then, I cut out white ears and a tail and sewed them.  I folded the felt over and "free cut" the ears, then did that again but used the first one to copy the second set of ears. I just cut a strip of tail to be folded over, and rounded off the edges. ) After I sewed the ears and tail, I put some stuffing in them.  I didn't have any conventional cotton stuffing, so I used some paper bunny bedding we had! (I've said this before and I'll say it again, use what you have!Then, I hand sewed them onto the sweatshirt. Here's what it looked like on Short stuff! 

Oh and I also made cuffs for her legs since her pants were too short! But I didn't sew those on :) You can see that the brown circle is off center, and the ears aren't in the right place. She sure is a cute little puppy though! Not bad for a $5.00 costume! I'm crossing my fingers for a kitty next year, and we can re-use the sweatshirt just with a black patch, and some pointy ears! :) Well, that's Momma's Best Shot! 

What were your kids for Halloween? 


Thursday, October 18, 2012

...at a quick meal

At my house, my husband and I are always trying to figure out what to have for supper each night. More times then I would like we end up throwing a pizza in the oven or chicken nuggets in the fryer. (Hey don't judge, we use peanut oil, so its not AS bad :) I have found that planning a little helps us eat better, so a while ago, I found this great post on Pinterest (where else) on how to convert an 8 x 10 photo frame into a  "What's for supper?" Meal planner. Basically you print on scrapbook paper the days of the week, then you can write on the glass with a dry erase marker about what you are going to eat for supper that week.  I went to the source for all my frames, Goodwill and picked a decent one up for $0.88, then got a scrapbook page of popcorn from Joanne's.

]First couple weeks, it was great, I remembered what to put in the fridge the night before and didn't have to bother hubby as much PLUS we ate better. Its been up for oh about 3 months or so, and guess what?! I've only used it for like 4 weeks total! The last time, we didn't even eat anything close to what I wrote on that board.  This always happens, I do something with every intention of making my life easier, and it fails. No, more like I fail at making it a habit!

....so last night I was stuck again, didn't know what to make and it was already 6:00. Fortunately, I did have the good sense the night before and had put some ground beef in the fridge. So, it was either tacos, cheeseburgers, sloppy joes/maid rites, or god forbid, hamburger helper. My hubby HATES boxed meals. Which, when I first met him, was about the only thing I knew how to make. He is a much better cook than I, and I have fortunately learned a great deal from him in the last 5 years! 
Problem was, I was craving meatloaf but that takes 1 hour just in the oven! Anyone who knows me knows that I get hangry if I don't eat. (Angry because I'm hungry) This describes me well....

I need to send this card to Damon :)

PLUS I have a 3 year old, and I would like to feed her before 7:30 at night :) 

Thankfully I had remembered that there was a way to cook individual sized mini loafs in muffin tins! I got the original recipe from this blog: http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/04/more-freezer-cooking-meals-part-3.html
I hope to do a lot of other ideas on her website, freezing crock pot meals to help my family eat better. I'll let you know how that goes! 
I adapted mine a little bit so here is the Momma's Best Shot Version: Also, I do want to say the measurements are not exact, I'm guessing about how much I put of stuff in.  Pre-hubby days I used to have to measure everything out exactly, but thankfully my husband helped me to "let go of my fear of messing things up" and just use trial and error. Plus I was in a hurry so I didn't have time to measure stuff out!
1 lb ground beef (I think I used 80/20, but I'm sure whatever you have would work)
1 egg
1/2 onion (I used 3/4 of a small onion, depends on how much you like onions!)
1/4 packet plain crackers  ...Ritz, saltines, breadcrumbs, whatever. Maybe like 1/2 Cup? I thought I was out, so I was going to use rice crispies :) My mantra is make do with what you got!
3 shakes Worcestershire sauce
1 TBS mustard (I had Dijon so I used that) 
salt and pepper to taste.
1/2 Cup tomato sauce 

Preheat oven to 350. Put thawed ground beef in med sized bowl. Add all ingredients except tomato sauce. Mix well. (I used my hands, its easier!) Place in muffin tins. Push down on middle to create "bowl" so they cook well in the center. Put tomato sauce over top. Cook for 30-35 min @ 350 degrees. 

Result, hubby and short stuff liked it! Short stuff doesn't really like beef, but she ate this! I always ask my husband what he thought or how I could improve it, and he said instead of tomato sauce to use ketchup with a little mustard, worchestershire sauce, and brown sugar to top it. I love getting ideas from him about how to improve, I hope to be a really good cook in 10 years :) The great thing about this recipe is you can easily double it and freeze the leftovers, so instead of throwing a pizza in the oven you can throw these little guys in the microwave for a quick meal on those nights you are too tired to cook.

I also had a winter squash I needed to use. It came from my in-laws garden (I don't even know what kind it is. Kind of looks like a squashed pumpkin thats green) So I cut that in half, scooped out the insides, put it in a bowl, turned both halves over on the cut sides, added an inch or so of water, put a lid on, and microwaved for 6-10 minutes (till its fork tender) turned it back over in an oven safe dish, put dash of salt, few shakes of ground nutmeg, around 2 TBS honey and 3 TBS butter in each middle and put it in the oven until it melted. I would of added some apple juice if I had some (Original recipe came from a church cookbook, again measurements not exact!) When I scooped it out on the plate, I added a little more honey on top. Too bad I didn't have walnuts or something like that! It was decent, not as good as using brown sugar though. I am sure maple syrup would have been great too! We would have had apples with this but short stuff wanted an orange. Short stuff ate all of the squash first. I am a fortunate Momma, because she loves all sorts of veggies! Olives, mushrooms (straight from the can usually) zucchini, asparagus, peas, dill and bread and butter pickles, picked beets, green peppers, you get the idea. She'll try just about anything too, don't ask me my secret, cause I don't have one! She has always been a curious eater. I actually took most of the onions out of her meatloaf cup, because I know she doesn't really like them. When I gave her her plate, I told her that I took out the onions for her, but I had a lot of onions because I like them.  She found one while she was eating, ate it, and told me she liked it! We'll see if she eats them next time they are in something. 

Which reminds me....I didn't put anything in the fridge to thaw for tonight. What are some of your favorite go-to quick meals? I need ideas! 

So meatloaf cups, honey squash, and oranges were on the table at 6:45. Well, that's Momma's Best Shot!


Monday, October 8, 2012

...at mothering

A few days ago, Short Stuff (my 3 year old) had a temp of 101.6, so I had to stay home from work.  It was actually GREAT because it gave me a chance to switch clothes over from summer to winter, to do some housework that I didn't get done this weekend, and to re-organize Short Stuff's play room. Needless to say, this morning, when she was better, (still had a low grade fever and sore throat) had to go to daycare, she didn't want to. She kept telling me she was sick so I would stay home with her again.  

Well I was having a heck of a time trying to get her to put her shoes and coat on. The weather just changed here in Iowa, and went from a nice 70-80 degrees to a chilly 50-60 degrees. Anyone who has a 3 year old knows what its like to try to get them to do something they don't want to.  We were running late too, so I just picked her up, (minus coat and shoes on) and put her in the car. To this she screamed, and wouldn't sit still so I could buckle her in. So, I got in the front seat started up the car, and told her she better get in her seat. Of course she didn't and was screaming and crying, so I started to drive up the driveway. She was still saying no by the time we got to the gravel road, so I stopped and laid this mother of a guilt trip on her. "If you don't sit down, the police will come and take mommy to jail because its dangerous for you to be out of your seat." To this she replied, "I don't want you to go to jail" and got in her seat and I buckled her up. I felt so horrible the instant this came out of my mouth. Not only have I sworn, I would never use guilt on my children because I hate it when people try to use it on me, but now I am teaching her that police are bad and will take her mom away from her! Sure she did what I wanted her to, but I just feel so bad that I sunk to this level. It was my best shot at the time, but looking back on it, I could have done much better. This Momma is not perfect.

On a lighter note, I saw this quote one time and made me laugh so hard. 
"The person who came up with Terrible Two's must have felt really foolish when their child turned three."
SO TRUE.

Have you ever guilt-ed your child into doing something?