Sunday, February 26, 2012

Slow Cooker Pasta & Meatballs

For less than 5 minutes of effort you can have dinner ready!

In crockpot combine 1 pkg of uncooked pasta, 1 can of spaghetti sauce, and 1 pkg of frozen meatballs, add half a spaghetti can of tap water to the crock, stir, cover and set to low for 8 hours. (high for 4 hours if you are in a hurry) Serve with your favorite salad.

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Lake Superior Salmon Patties

Lake Superior Salmon Patties (My husband had great luck on a recent fishing trip!)

1lb cooked salmon- Remove bones/skin (I have some I canned, or you could just baked it)
1 small yellow onion chopped (White would work too)
1/4 tsp dill weed
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp lemon Juice
1/4 Cup finely chopped summer squash (I had a TON in my garden to use up)
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 tsp each of kosher salt and ground pepper
Form into patties, coat in corn meal and flash freeze. Store in Freezer Bag (Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet, cook patties in oil until both sides are golden brown. I like to serve with Hollandaise or a Bearnaise sauce)

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Water Bottle Labels

Custom water bottle labels using scrap booking supplies.

Water bottles are great to have for parties, but they can also be an easy way to help decorate the table. By using 8 1/2 x 11 scrapbooking paper that coordinates with your theme.

Purchase your water at a local retailer and remove the labels. Measure the width of the labels to determine the width you need. I was lucky and was able to cut mine so that I could perfectly get 6 labels per sheet. 8 1/2 is the perfect size for wrapping the bottle with just enough to spare so that you have space to glue.
I embellished them with stickers, but you don't need to.

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DIY colored rice

How to dye rice

paste food coloring
In a small nonporous (glass) bowl place 1 pkg of rice. Dissolve a small amount of paste food coloring in about 2 Tablespoons of tap water. (If you are not using paste food coloring use more food coloring and less water to get your desired color.) stir the rice until fully coated with color. Pour out onto a paper towel to dry. stir periodically. If you use a cloth towel the dye may cause permanent staining, so use a paper towel or just let in dry in the bowl and you will need to stir it more often. Store in a airtight container. Let your imagination run wild at all the uses for this colorful medium.

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I Spy Bottles

I spy bottles are a fun way to teach kids about anything.

I start by recycling a small clear container, baby food jar, spice bottle, gummy vitamin bottle, etc.. For the one pictured I used some black spray paint and white finger nail polish on the lid. Then you need a filler I like to use dyed rice. Finish with your I spy items. In this tutorial I used alphabet letters, I bought a package of 300 for about $3 and was able to find 5 complete alphabets in it. You could really use any small objects that fit your theme, I have even used baseball themed buttons etc. Screw on the lid and you are done.

**For extra security put a little super glue around the rim before screwing on the lid.

You might also like this post.

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Button Snakes

I won the opportunity to host a Huggies Pull-ups Potty Dance House Party from House Party . If you have not registered with this sight, do it!

This was my second party and it was great! They sent me packets of fun stuff for each attendee and I got an awesome hostess coupon for Pull-ups. I wish that I was better at entertaining. I used to be good at having people over once a month in an attempt to not be so lonely, but I had gotten out of the habit. This allowed me to get together with some friends and have a play date with our kids, while we all got great information and coupons to help us potty train our kids.

That isn't why you came to check out this post though... I like to add my personal touch to things and wanted to come up with some in expensive ways to step my party up. The Button Snake was one of them. Kids who are potty training are also learning lots of other skills, including how to button clothes. This is a fun way for them to practice, and they are simple to make.

All you need is:
Ribbon - about a foot in length I used what I could find around the house.
Buttons - 1 per length of ribbon, again I used what I could find around the house.
Felt - I purchased 1multi-color pkg and it was more than enough to make 12 snakes

Hand sew a button on one end of the ribbon. On the other side loop the ribbon and stitch, this creates a look for the child to carry the snake as well as a stop so the felt doesn't fall off. Cut your felt into 3 inch squares. I choose 3 inches because my felt was 9 inches wide and there would be no waste. You could cut circles or hearts, whatever you like. Then cut a small hole in the center slightly larger than the button. Finish by stringing the felt onto the ribbon.

Super Easy and inexpensive, but great entertainment and a learning tool. I also included an I spy bottle in my gift bags.
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hair Detangler Recipe

Those of you who have been following me for a while know that I am into extreme couponing. It has gotten much harder lately. With all of the shows and websites dedicated to it, manufacturers and stores are tightening their coupon rules and decreasing the $ value of coupons, making it much harder to score items at super great prices. As a mom who needs to be frugal, I need to start getting creative. So here is the first in a 12 month quest to see if I can easily make from scratch things I previously purchased. Since the hair detangler I use for my girls has run out. This is a great project to get started with.

2 Tbsp regular hair conditioner
8oz water
10 oz spray bottle

Combine the conditioner and water in the spray bottle and shake. It is now ready to use. I find the trigger on this bottle much easier to use than the store bought versions of detangler. I also like that I can adjust the amount of liquid that is sprayed. I am not concerned about build up in their hair as it washes out with every bath!
I purchased the spray bottle for $1 and I had the conditioner on hand. But even if I had to buy one at 2 Tbsp per recipe, I know my cost is still just pennies.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Slow Cooker Roast - Simple and Delicious

1 Venison Roast

2 Tablespoons Oil
1 pkg fresh Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
1/2 medium white onion, Chopped
1 cup coffee (day old is best, but fresh will work too)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Prep time about 15 minutes, ready in 8 hours.

Pour 1 Tbsp of oil in a hot skillet. Sear the roast in the oil. (about 3 minuts on each side.) Place roast in a slow cooker. In same pan add 1 more Tbsp of oil and sautee the mushrooms and onion until onion becomes translucent. Pour in coffee to deglaze the pan. Pour all the juices over the roast in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve with your favorite steamed veggies.

My Deep Dark Secret

Every spring I start to think about what projects I am going to tackle during the summer. The last few years though with life, work, kids, and cash I had several that were started and never finished.

That's right I have become someone who doesn't finish what she started. Last spring all that changed. My Vet knew what I was starting to think, and stopped me cold. He made a new rule NO new projects until the old ones where finished. Ouch! It hurt being called on it, but I knew he was right. So for the past 10 months I have been busy finishing projects. I have yet to finish the one that made him put his foot down. (I am working on acquiring the materials to hopefully get it done soon.) I have even finished projects that in my head I didn't think I would get back to until the girls where much older. I am amazed at how much calmer my head is now, and I even find the time to sit and enjoy some of the spaces, and projects that have been completed.

In order to keep myself from falling this far again. Here is a photo gallery of all the projects that I stopped midway through, that have finally been finished.

Who knows I might start posting the befores too, so that you can help keep me accountable!

Bubbling Boulder in rock garden.

Smoothed out popcorn ceiling, repainted walls and hardware, New lights and refinished table and chairs.

Replaced rubber edging with retaining wall block and weeded out the rock.

Attached slide to swing set.

A flannel star quilt I started 5 years ago.

Frosted Glass on French Doors


We live in a house built in the 1930's, over the years previous owners have made changes and updates. 

French doors were installed as the closest door to the garage. Subsequently it is the most used door in the house, and all the opening and closing is REALLY hard on window treatments.

As you can see in the before my blinds had really taken a beating. But what kind of covering could I use to provide some privacy while maintaining an ability to see out back when the kids are playing, and not spend lots of $$$$$ on custom manufactured Door Window Blind Inserts?

With a little bit of time and less than $20. Here is what I came up with. 

I picked up a can of window frosting paint at the local hardware store, and thin line masking tape at an automotive store.

I wasn't able to find it at any hardware store, but I knew it existed and kept looking, I finally found it at an automotive store. I thought it was a bit spendy for tape, but I really wanted the thin line. Thankfully one roll was plenty, and I even had to redo a couple of panes as I was hoping to use up a can from a previous project, and at the end of the can it dripped.

Using the tape I outlined each pane to create thin clear strips of glass for looking out while still obscuring most of the window.

Then I simply painted the glass. Use multiple thin coats verses 1 thick coat of the paint. You can speed up the drying with a hair dryer. If you make a mistake, simple remove the paint with a razor blade and repaint.

Once the paint is dry, simply remove the tape. I was not all that careful while spraying so I had to use a green scrub sponge to remove residue from the mullions. I should have covered them with a strip of regular painters tape to prevent that.

I love the clean lines of the new windows, but my favorite has to be all the light that now comes in them!

Another view of the finished window

Before image of dingy, broken blinds

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