Friday, May 27, 2011

Miracles happen

Today, I accomplished something I've wanted to do for at least 2 years now.

It's probably been longer, but for the last two years I've been passionate about it.

I'm a good cook. I really am. I don't get super fancy with main dishes, but I'm capable of following a recipe to make something divine.

And my desserts . . . I'm good at desserts. I can do a cheesecake with no cracks. I can dip smooth chocolates. My pies get great reviews. People get excited when I bring dessert.

But there is one thing I never bring. I never make to give away. I only make at all if my kids beg for them.

The  humble chocolate chip cookie.

Seriously. I've never made a decent one. They look funny. They spread like crazy. The texture is weird. They have odd aftertastes.

Chocolate chip cookies are the most basic thing ever. And I can't make a good one. On a scale of 1-10, my cookies hit about a 3.  My kids (and Hubby) think they are fine. But they just aren't worth the calories.

I've tried literally more than a dozen recipes. I've googled "best chocolate chip cookie" for more inspiration. I've emailed back and forth with an award winning cook for what my problem is. I've asked friends. Nothing has really helped.

Everyone has told me the same thing: just stick the dough in the fridge. yah. I've tried that. It bumps my 3 cookies up to about a 3.5. Still not that great.  On my own, I've deduced that there is something wrong with my flour portions. 

A few weeks ago, I tried again. And I finally nailed the looks. They didn't spread like melting ice cream. But the taste. Ugg. Not what I wanted.

Yesterday, I found this recipe. Now, I've tried putting in pudding before.  And they are good tasting cookies. But they just turn into puddles of gunk when cooked.

This time, though. Something worked different.  I added a full extra cup of flour. I followed her directions to a T.  The difference in shaping the cookies, adding the flour slowly, the perfect cooking time.

At last. I made a great chocolate chip cookie. A cookie I would actually want to eat.

I may have gone a bit crazy with pictures, but I'm just so excited!

 Ahh. Life is good.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A special place for special things

I may have mentioned it before, but Girly-Lou is a bit of a hoarder. Every paper colored at church, every note given to her from anyone, every card/letter/gum wrapper she's ever received, she wants to keep.

Add that to the fact she's in kindergarten . . . let's just say the clutter in her room needs some working on.  For the last year, I've wanted to make a magnet board. Somewhere she can keep some "special" papers. 

And today I finally did! One for her and Buddy. 

It started with these thrifted frames (90 cents each!). 
White works well in the girls' room. Buddy's frame got a quick coat of dark brown spray paint.  Then I used a roll of metal flashing (I think it was about $7). I measured, drew a line with a sharpie, and cut it with my kitchen shears.  Then I hot glued it onto the back of the frames. I covered this in some at hand fabric, and stuck it back in the frame. 

Tada. Two clutter catchers for about $3 each!

They needed a little something more, so I pulled out my Silhouette and made up a little vinyl for the corner.

Why did it take me this long to do this!
That's the last thing I want for the girl's room.  And the first craft done for Buddy's. You'll be getting a bunch of stuff for his room over the next while as I finish it up!

Linking here.

*yes, I know you can see my kid's names. I'm ok with that. I've decided I don't really need to hide all names. But I'll still call them by the codes here, 'cause it's more fun that way!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

is it just my kids?

Buddy keeps falling.

I think he's trying to run faster than he actually can. But in the last 2 days he's had 3 bloody scrapped knees.

Being a softy good mommy, I've cleaned, bandaged, and kissed all three.

But he now refuses to bend those knees.

Girly-Lou has always been the same way. Whatever position skin is in when you stick a bandaid on, it is impossible to move.  So elbows must remain bent for the next week until they forget. They either walk around hunched over with completely bent knees, or with perfectly straight ones.

Anyone else have kids that are so super aware of bandaids?  At least Buddy rips them off after a few hours. Girly-Lou leaves them on until I hold her down and rip them  off, relishing in the screams the whole way convince her to take them off.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Fixin up a really cute chair

Happy Mom is out of town this week.  Since school is still going, I'm living at her house to help with her kids.  Since her 3 children go to 3 different schools, it's easier for me to stay there, than for them to come here.

But have you ever stayed at someone else's house for a week. When that person isn't there to keep you company?

It's kind of boring.  There just isn't as much for you to do.

I learned this  the last two years I've done it.  So this year, I had a plan to keep me busy.

Several months ago, I found this little chair at a thrift store for 5 bucks.

I don't know why anyone would want random cowboy antics all over such a cute chair.  And the fabric was ripped in several places too.

But I've wanted to try reupholstering, and I thought this small chair would be a  great place to start.

Before I came, I removed all the old fabric and a couple hundred staples.

The fabric was on clearance at Joanns. If I remember right, I got 3 yards for around 9 bucks!  Add another buck worth of staples . . . .

Yup, this now adorable chair was right around $15 total.  One of the big reasons I wanted to do this project this week is the fact that Happy Mom has an awesome electric staple gun.  It made fixing this puppy up super fast.

And as soon as I brought it upstairs, someone wanted to come try it out.

I think she approves!

I link up here

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Painting Lesson

How long have I been promising pictures of my new kitchen color?

Too long, I know. So today, I finally cleaned my kitchen enough to feel ok about, AND it stayed that way long enough to actually take pictures.

So let's talk about where I started with in this room.

Lots and lots of wallpaper.  Which I hate. With a passion.

Back in august, I ripped it all off.  It was a messy process, but was really quite easy.

And then it sat.  For months.  'cause I had great plans for it.  Plans that require lots of funds that I spend on diapers and apple sauce instead.  Plans something like this:
(ok, so my photoshop skills need some help here, but you get the idea, right?)

Not exactly a quick or inexpensive change.  And somehow the Magical Money Fairy keeps missing our house.

About a month ago, I was staring at the walls in the dining nook, and I kind of lost it. I KNEW it had to get finished already. 
I've been staring at these half finished walls for too long!

It took a LOT of trial and error, but I eventually found my great color! Since this post is already getting too long, let's just say it was 5 different samples, all of which I used to cover the original really dark green, kind of like a primer.

Painting causes major messes!

The eventual color I ended up with is called Alexandrite (by sherwin williams), mixed to only 50% power. 

I love it. It looks so perfect in my kitchen!

I ended up with an entire extra gallon. So I thought I'd paint the living room too.

ummm, anyone else feeling like this looks like a crazy mess?

It's almost the exact same color. I did mix in some white to stretch the paint a bit.  But in here . . .
It doesn't work. I've thought and thought about why it looks so funny.

I finally realized what it was.  It's the accents.  In my kitchen, everything is a white/light accent.  In the living room, everything is black.  It just doesn't work.

Not quite what I was hoping for!  But I also don't want to change every single accent in the room.

So what's my lesson?  Sometimes, the perfect color just needs some tweaking (like working with accents), and sometimes the accents need a better perfect color (which I'll find someday!)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Yakkity Yak

Hi friends!

You may have noticed I've been absent from the blogging world for a bit of time. Or maybe you didn't miss my ranting/snarky/funny/weird/sarcastical voice.  But I have, in fact, not typed a published word in 13 days.

Why, you ask?

'cause I ain't had nothin' to say.

Life has been truckin along. I've done lots of driving, lots of playing, lots of reading.  But not lots of crafting. I kind of lost my muse there for a week or so.  And now I'm getting it back, but making personalized stuff (with last names even, so I really REALLY can't post pictures), or projects that are going to take WAY longer than expected.

So instead of just remaining silent, I actually came up with a discussion question.  And I'd really love to hear from all of you on it.

How do you feel about comments?

Now, some of you, I already know your opinion. You in fact have wonderfully thought out comments about comments already on your blog.

But most of you, I really don't know about.

When do you leave comments?  What makes you NOT want to comment? Do you over think them? Under think them? Ramble too much?

My two cents: I LOVE comments. I love reading them, I love leaving them.  I happen to think I'm pretty smart, and my thoughts are worth reading.  But often, someone starts crying, so I don't get the chance. Or I don't know how to phrase what I'm feeling.

Or more often than not, there's already a bunch of comments.  And really, I'm just a silly little housewife, without much to say, and everyone else can say it better, and who really has time to read the 63rd comment on the exact same topic, and I'm just wasting my time 'cause someone else noticed the exact same thing as me and why bother.

Hmmm. I'd say I've got all the symptoms of having too much to say, and too many insecurities to just say it.

I want to be one of those people that my bloggy friends know, because I comment on their thoughts.
I want to have conversations, let people know who I am, what I'm all about.

If 12 people all said the same thing on my blog, I wouldn't be bugged. I'd take it as a sign that their words are true.

This whole post is more of a pep talk to myself. Which I've decided I'm going to be better about taking to heart.

Who cares how many comments there are.

My words still count too.

*please please PLEASE chime in. 'Cause I want to know you all too.  This blog has more than tripled in followers in the last few months, but I really only hear from the same people. I'd love to know everyone's voice!
Blogging tips