Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Tale of the Ugly Fireplace

Once upon a time, there was an ugly fireplace. At this point in its life, we're using the term fireplace very liberally. What once had been a fireplace was now just a hole in the side of the house where years of neglect brought water damage, a rusty firebox, and just general grossness.

Fixing the fireplace and putting in a propane insert is on the to-do list for 2014, but that doesn't help much for Christmas 2013.  

What to do...what to do...

Find the science fair project board that you covered in wood grain contact paper.  Realize you've already used this as drop cloth for a painting project.

Find extra contact paper and just cover up those paint spots.

Grab a piece of black poster board that you didn't use for the 4-H booth last summer and get it centered on the poster board.  Use lots of duct tape and that handy ruler thing from your cutting mat. 

Using a white out pen, draw some logs and fire on the poster board.  Pay no attention to how logs would actually lay in a real fireplace, this is art dammit!

I know I'm holding chalk in this picture, but I used a white out pen.

Take a piece of chalk from your kids' art supplies and go all over the poster board with it.  

Using a paper towel or tissue, gently wipe all over the poster board to soften the look of the chalk.

Duct tape the whole thing to the front of the existing ugly fireplace.  Put duct tape on shopping list.  

Begin to wonder if anyone would mind if you painted the brass a color that isn't so 80's chic. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

I've rebranded, like a clothing line that was performing poorly.

I don't know, my knowledge of business terms is mostly gleaned from Alec Baldwin's character in 30 Rock.    Also, I'm hopped up on cold medicine.  Excuse me if my simile doesn't make total sense.

I took the plunge and bought thenewsmiths.com.  The old link will still work, but this one looks so much prettier.  Feel free to update your reader subscription if you're into that kind of thing.  (RIP Google Reader, I'll never forget you.)

For the most part, I blog to have an opportunity to use words not normally spoken while caring for small children day in and day out.  You know, words that don't come up when discussing breakfast, Mickey Mouse, potties, or coloring.  One of my biggest fears is that I'm going to be the kind of person to confuse (OR NOT CARE ABOUT!) the differences between there, their, and they're.  The more technical parts of blogging just seem like something that's good to know.

I think I'm going to finish my sleeptime tea and settle in for my fourth night of sleeping in the recliner.

Happy New Year!  I leave you with one of my favorite Jack Donaghy moments.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Dinner 2013

This is the first year that Cora's been old enough to "get" Santa, so instead of schlepping to Scott's parents house we stayed home.  The original plan was to serve brunch when his parents and sister arrived, but his sister had to work until lunch.  Full-blown Christmas lunch it is!

As a rule, I HATE most holiday food.  Mashed potatoes?  MASHED POTATOES?  How did a mushy, bland, blah food get elevated to holiday food status?  Green bean casserole?  It's like someone hocked a loogie on some mushy green beans.

Take a Kroger bouquet and break it out into 4 vases.

My goal for Christmas lunch this year was the illusion of fancy without sweating over a stove all morning.

Nailed it!

Mixed Green Salad with Walnut Honey Dressing
I bought a box of mixed greens and topped them with toasted walnuts, dried cranberries, and blue cheese crumbles (me) or shaved Parmesan (everyone else).  I made this walnut honey dressing from FunnyLove.  It was amazing.  Even my super-picky father-in-law liked it.  I did add a bit more honey than the recipe called for.

Honeybaked Ham
My favorite kind of leftover is honeybaked ham leftover.

Sweet Potato Souffle
This was from Honeybaked Ham too.  It's pretty much candy.

Duchess Potatoes
As I said, I don't like mashed potatoes to begin with.  I was looking for a recipe that would allow me to peel, boil, and mash them the day before but that didn't call for sour cream or cream cheese (picky husband).  I used this recipe from The Pioneer Woman.  Aside from blowing out the seam in the pastry bag (twice!), they were fairly easy to make.  They weren't a hit though.  I think next time, I'll just delegate day-of mashed potatoes to someone else.

It wouldn't be a holiday in Ohio if there weren't noodles.  I just boiled some Reames frozen egg noodles in some chicken broth.

Glazed Carrots
My family has been making the recipe from the red and white gingham Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook aka "The Good Book" for years.

Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic and Cranberries
I used another Pioneer Woman recipe for these.  They were amazing, but took closer to an hour to brown up in our oven vs. the 30 minutes the recipe calls for.  I did have to save a dish of sprouts pre-glaze for my father-in-law.  He doesn't do well with foods that are "different."

Yeasty Rolls
You can't do much better than Buehler's rolls.

And for dessert...
Soap Suds
I grew up eating this at Christmas at my Grandma's house.  It's a fluffy meringue-type dessert with bit of walnuts in between the layers.

Christmas Crackers might be a new tradition.

Paper crowns class up any occasion. 

I also made the table kind of pretty.  Paper cone trees FTW!

Happy Christmas!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Pillow Bed Tutorial

I had a 24 hour time period in my house when there were fabric strips everywhere, the ironing board was set up in the living room, and the toddler was sent to grandma's house.  Yep, I was gettin' my Christmas crafting on!

I made some quick pillow beds for the girls out of some cute sheets from Target.  The one I made with the flat sheet went much more quickly than the one I made with the fitted sheet (hemming is for the birds).

This one has an elastic strap sewn into it.  And yes, I shampooed the carpet the next day.

Here's a quick video tutorial I made.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

I guess they told her not to smile

The squeakiest wheel on the what-are-we-going-to-do-this-weekend train happened to be Costco.  Momma was running out of her last bale of paper towels.  By the time we wheeled that double-wide cart to the front of the store, I couldn't actually see over the front of it for all of the stocked up paper products.  I may have taken out a sample station, I have no idea.

I did have an ulterior motive for heading to Costco.  You see, I knew they had a photo department.  A photo department that does passport photos.  

We (I) might, might, might be thinking of going on a cruise this year (emphasis on the might).  I've just started looking in to it.  As far as vacation requirements go:  Cora's requesting a beach.  Scott wants affordable.  Lily has no preference, unless naaaaaaaaa is a preference.  I want something where every meal isn't going to be a struggle to find something that Cora will eat.  This kid despises a kid's meal.  Hell, she hates adult meals too.  She just wants to eat fruit, cereal, and peanut butter sandwiches.  I also want easy.  

My big grand idea is....A DISNEY CRUISE!  

When I wrote this article over at Passporter News last year, I redeemed my thank you gift certificate for a Passporter's Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call book.  I'm 200ish pages in and almost completely hooked.  

I contacted a travel agent last night (this one) to get a quote for a 3 day cruise sometime in the next few months.  

So, the girls got their passport photos done while Scott browsed the rows and rows of giant TVs.  Cora's expression in hers seemed unhappy at best.  It would foreshadow what was to come.  

This day isn't going to end well momma.

The drive home was going well until about 5 minutes until we pulled into the driveway.  

Cora: cough, cough, cough, BAARRRFFFFF  Momma, I did a spit up.

Oh, you didn't feel well.  You *did* pick up that stomach bug that your sister had a few days ago that I thought we had avoided.

Sorry kid, momma should have Lysoled a bit more.  

I guess this way if she's seasick, she'll match her passport photo perfectly.