Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sewing for the den

Well, sadly I still haven't gotten over a bad case of procrastination and taken care of those curtains in the den...but I did sew up some new pillows and recovered the ottoman.
I started out by taking the existing pillow covers off and washing them for storage.  These pillows, ca. 1982 were part of a set Hubby had on his bed in college.  They are old, but they have been great over the years as extra couch cushions and floor pillows.
They were pretty floppy and I wanted them a little smaller, 
so I pinned the excess fabric to make a more square pillow form. 
I used my favorite method, the envelope enclosure. 
No zippers or velcro or buttons.  
Easy to remove and wash.
I ended up making one apricot colored and three light jade green.  And I had a little upholstery fabric left from  the ottoman so I made an accent pillow, too.
 The first time I re-covered the ottoman I used leftover fabric from the couch project.
It was necessary to cover because of the damage caused by people using the ottoman as a chair...
 The fabric I chose is a summery floral that I think will lighten the room.
 It literally took me all afternoon to do this.  What a pain in the patoot!
I did the same border treatment around the base.  This fabric is very thick and was soooo hard to sew. 
But I love it and all the colors will coordinate in this room beautifully.
Oh, if I could just get this project moving along!  At least the couch and ottoman are prettied up.
Lastly, I hauled all the fabric scraps out and sorted and folded.  A lot of this went into the donate pile.  
It was getting hard to close the lid...
Whenever I do a sewing project...putting it away seems to be my favorite part.
Painting is like that for me, too...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Mealplan Monday #10 and getting ready for summer

One day last week I paused from hanging laundry on the patio to watch a very tiny spider weave her web.  She was making dinner plans.  Well so was I!
Monday - Dad grill for Memorial Day
Tuesday - Cilantro Lime Chicken tacos, black beans, guacamole, sour cream
Wednesday - Turkey Picadillo, rice, carrots
Thursday - Seriously Scrumptious Drunken Pork Chops, masheds, frozen veggie
Friday - freezer leftovers
Saturday - Dad grill
Sunday - Grilled Cheese on Texas Toast bread with soup from freezer
Last week's Wal-Mart trip was expensive but in my defense, included a lot of non-grocery items that were pricey.  Even so, I have to get better at planning and couponing.  Summer means that although I don't have to buy as many drink boxes and granola bars, I still have to feed these people the same amount of meals.   And  I would like not to have to go into debt doing it!  Lunches here will be very simple.  But I still want to keep on trying new things for dinner...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A brother needs a sister...

She can teach you things your big brothers won't...
Patience and humility, maybe a little composure...
Tolerance and perseverance which will come in handy some day...
A sense of humor and how to have fun...
...and to not take yourself too seriously.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

What to do about dry brownies...

If you're like me, you hate to toss out brownies or bar cookies that came out a little too dry.   I recently made some Chubby Hubby bars that while they tasted great right from the oven, were more like bricks the next day!  Too expensive to toss, though.
So this is my quick fix:  I get some some plain ice cream -- chocolate or vanilla works best.  Nothing fancy, cause these bars have a lot of nuts, chips, and peanut butter in them already.
In a big mixing bowl soften the ice cream just a bit and "chop" it with a spatula.
Then crumble the bars in and continue chopping until it's all mixed in. 
Find a big enough sized container and spoon it in, then refreeze.
After dinner, serve everyone your specially mixed up ice cream with big chunks of delicious mixed in
Frugal AND delish!

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The Grocery Cart Challenge

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Study snacks for Scout

I feel kinda bad that I've been giving Scout so much grief over pulling his grades up.  In my defense, though, he's a smart kid who can do a better job of managing his time and assignments.  I think a summer job would be very helpful for him...but in the meantime, I thought I would put together a "finals care package" for him:
It just so happens that all the goodies I picked out for him fit into one of those large rectangular zip loc containers:  a Coke, trail mix, cheese Ritz, his fav candy bar, popcorn, gum, and smarties.  Get it?  Smarties?
I buy them for my kids on big test days - kind of an inside joke around here..
I wrote some encouraging notes on the lid and parked it on his desk. 
Good Luck on your finals, Scout.  Your Junior year of high school is coming on fast...

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Mealplan Monday #9 with some crunchy crumbs!

I've been pretty good about finding non-oven dinners to make lately.  I average turning it on once a week, but I would love to just quit using it all-together,  Too bad there are so many good things to eat from the oven on Pinterest!  Whenever I can, I convert them to stove top.  And I use my secret weapon to make things crispy crunchy delish:
Every time we finish most of a bag of chips, crackers, or croutons, into this bag it goes, gets beat a little with rolling pin, and stored in the freezer.  I can then mix in a little seasoning, maybe some grated cheese, and voila!  Delish topping for casseroles, fish, veggies...yum yum.  A frugal tip I learned from my mom.
Monday - Pizza provided at scout meeting; the rest of us will have rotisserie chicken and sides from the pantry
Tuesday - Tuscan Chicken Stew, linguini
Wednesday - Cheddar Bacon Crumb Chicken, broccoli salad, sweet potatoes
Thursday -Freezer clean-out meal
Friday - Salmon with lemon cream sauce, green beans with crunchy crumb topping, skillet potatoes
Saturday - Dad grill, plus Frito Salad
Sunday - Crock Pot Sweet Pulled Pork, rolls, coleslaw
I also want to scale us down to one dessert per week - people here love their desserts!  Check this one out by Megan at Crumbs and Chaos - Chocolate PB Marshmallow Bars - if I'm going to have the oven on Wednesday night anyway.....

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

I blame her dad

This is the state of the garage a week after I brought 
The Girl home from college:
 Thank goodness Hubby had done some reorganizing out here so we had a place to put her stuff.  Even so, she had been pawing through it from time to time, creating a big mess.  
She did not get that trait from me, her OCD mom.
Basically, we had just tossed it all into the garage before the rain started, then shut the door.  So, she's been coming out here and rooting through it to find a belt she needed, her CPR card, a certain pair of sandals...
and mayhem has ensued.
I promised I wouldn't go through her things, but I had to make a path.  And I couldn't stand that somewhere in this mess was a dirty shower curtain and bath rug...Also, there were things out here that would get ruined once the 100 degree Central Texas summer days commenced - like toiletries and such. 
It's still crazy, but somewhat contained.  I blame this side of her on her dad - a classic pack rat and procrastinator deluxe.  Now if we could just lose the pool noodles and the non-functioning dryer...and all the old computer equipment... and the marine battery from 1990...sigh

Friday, May 18, 2012

Just Peachy!

The Girl brought some some odds and ends groceries from her apartment - you know, the ones you don't normally buy, but you hate to waste so they just hang out in your pantry...She had two cans of peach halves.  Seemed random to me until I wanted to make a dessert and thought maybe I could combine it with cream cheese and cake mix.  I did a little research, then came up with my very own...

Gooey Peachy Butter Cake
Because I'm so kindhearted, I tried a piece to make sure my peeps would like it...(:

I already had the two cans of peaches, so I ran to the store and grabbed:
a box of yellow cake mix
a brick of cream cheese (let it soften a little)
3 eggs
2 sticks of butter (melted)
3 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. nutmeg (not pictured)

Butter a deep 13x9 glass dish and set aside.  Pre-heat oven to 350.  Melt the butter in the microwave.  Open the peaches and drain them.  Meanwhile, mix the cake mix, one egg, and 1/2 c. of the melted butter.  It will look like cookie dough:
Pat it down into the dish and arrange the peach halves on it like so:
Did you buy peach slices instead of halves?  I don't think it will make any difference...Now, in the mixer, combine the cream cheese, the rest of the melted butter, the powdered sugar, 2 eggs, nutmeg, and vanilla til creamy. 
It helps if you beat the cream cheese a little by itself before dumping the rest of the ingredients in.  But if you didn't, don't worry about it if the mixture looks a little lumpy.  Now, pour that over the peaches and crust:
See the specks of nutmeg?  I think nutmeg is one of the best things you can do to a cooked peach dessert.  They just seem to be made for each other!
Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.  You can see the crust puffs up a bit on the sides.  
That makes it easier to slice.  The middle will be soft and gooey.  This is so good warm!
If you're going to be making an oven dinner anyway,  you may as well make a gooey, peachy, buttery dessert.  Right?.

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