Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Why you have to think these things through...

Back in the Fall, I got inspired to spruce up the front door by removing the hardware and giving it a coat of Rustoleum in oil-rubbed bronze.  The project, as a whole, turned out to be a giant FAIL - even though I used a primer combo spray paint and I thought I had prepped the metal well enough. I even let it dry a long, long time; all day pretty much. 
The hardware was so pretty against both sides of the door, and I really thought it would work.  After all, I had spray painted a couple of brass lamps and that worked out just fine.
So it was with sadness that a few months later I realized that spray-painting brass knobs on a well-used door does not work.  Hubby was not pleased but didn't insist I fix it right away - I think he knew my OCD would eventually surface.
Before I admitted total defeat I had gone back and cleaned paint off the knob, so it just needed some CLR to be shiny again.  But the handle down below?  I wasn't going to re-spray paint it once a week to cover the chipped paint.  So, last week I removed all of the hardware that gets wear and tear and cleaned it up.  Some mineral spirits and a multi-purpose sanding block helped me remove all of the paint
Like I said, the original coating that keeps the brass pretty is long gone - this house is 17 years old after all.  So I will have to do some cleaning on this brass every 6 months or so.  But it looks better than chipped spray paint.  Lesson learned:  Not every project you read about on someone else's blog or on Pinterest will work.  You have to do a little more research and use your own experience and common sense.  And you can't give up until you have it looking like it should!
  Maybe when my DIY psyche is all healed up, I will tackle putting the kickplate and the lock collars back to their original brass.  Then again, maybe not.  I like the duo tone of the hardware.  And removing that kickplate is a pain.
I spiffed up the entire front entrance, cleaning off the bricks and the mat, and set my plants back outside.  I even cleaned the ceiling of the front porch - it was coated with bug debris like wasp nests I had sprayed, spider webs, and such. (Trust me - you don't want to see the "before" on this one)  I used the jet spray nozzle on the water hose, then let it dry and used Windex on a rag to shine up the glass.  Nope, not gonna spray paint it.  No sirree.
 It's neat, it's clean.  I'm gonna leave it alone now.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Mealplan Monday #108 and window cleaning is a pain

 I've been on a mission lately to stick to my To To lists and get some things done that have been flat out ignored.  I find it really hard to get up and go sometimes, you know?  Plus, some of the things have been on my list for a long cleaning windows and putting up curtains.
The dining room window is such a challenge.  I do not want to spend a lot of time or money on putting up a separate curtain rod, then finding curtains.  I just always give up and add lightweight curtains to the tension rod hanging there.  So, $15 curtains from Wal-Mart later I called this one done.  And in a pretty green for Spring! 
Monday - Boy Scout dinner - we take pie
Tuesday - (freezer) Crock Pot Pear, Apple, and Pork, rice
Wednesday - Pizza from take-out, salad
Thursday - Double Crunch Honey Garlic Chicken, peas, roasted red potatoes
Friday - Mom and Scout out
Saturday - YOYO
Sunday - Santa Fe Chicken Salad on lettuce with tortilla chips and guacamole
Dessert this week is Maple Walnut Blondies
 Some of our windows, like the one in our master bedroom, were just plain groddy and have to be cleaned inside and out.  Hubby made a screen out of PVC pipe and screen fabric years ago.  Every Spring I take it down to clean and it's an ordeal.
While it's down, the room is flooded with light.  there is no way to take a nap in here or sleep past sunrise.  I have stopped and started many times to hang curtains in here, but I always decide the blinds are quite enough.  much like the dining room windows, I feel a little paralyzed making the change...
Cleaner!  Now I have to repair the nylon ties that broke off the screen so Hubby can put it back up.  Two window related things done on my list...but it's so easy to run out of steam on these less than glamorous projects.

Friday, April 25, 2014

5 thing Friday - new beginnings, good and bad, sussies, and intentions...

A couple of weeks ago, my half-sister's daughter got married.  I didn't make the wedding, but from the looks of it, it was lovely.  They are a sweet couple and I wish them all the best things in life.  I hope they can forgive me for not attending, and I hope I can forget them being angry with me over it.
My heart to you is given,
oh do give yours to me;
We'll lock them up together
And throw away the key.
-F. Saunders
 Does buying and eating kale on a regular basis...
 ...make up for all the desserts I've been making?  'Cause people here don't consider a meal finished, unless a sweet is served at the end.  And no, fruit doesn't count for them.  (the above is a Boston Cream Pie Poke cake)
 Everyone loves E. Bunny.  Even co-workers. 
And how thankful I am that I had a day with my dear ones. 
It used to be that keeping a clean house on a regular basis was so important to me that I could not let myself relax at the end of a long day unless the dishes were loaded in the dishwasher, the bathrooms and living areas straightened, and the laundry put up.  I still would love all of that to happen daily, but I run out of gas more often than not...and  I've discovered that it can wait, and all will still be well. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The World's Easiest Cheesecake Pie, courtesy of OMT

Wow.  Go here for the recipe.  I made this for Easter and it was a HUGE hit.
This was pretty much the easiest Any Kind of Pie.  I topped mine with fresh raspberries and strawberries, and sprinkled a little powdered sugar on for looks.  I was lucky to get this picture, as it was cut into sixths and quickly demolished.
I need to make another one of those real soon...
And so do you!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter afternoon

Here's the hodge podge of what happens when most of your peeps don't want to pose for get pictures of food, in with a few people who cooperate.
 "I AM smiling!"
What would a holiday meal be like without a bit of fancy?
Nice polo.
 Colored boiled eggs make pretty Spring-y deviled eggs!  Heavenly.
 We might have eaten a few too many.
 There were other things to eat. too...but the asparagus looked especially appetizing!
It was a good day, for the most part.  I wish my kids were little sometimes.  They were more agreeable about pictures, and church, and so forth.  A little more excited about E.Bunny.  A little more friendly, less teenager-y.  But families change over time, right? 
Change is inevitable, struggle is optional. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mealplan Monday #107 and being frugal with food

Last week, before I bought groceries, I gave the fridge a clean sweep.  I usually do this right before I put new groceries up, but there were containers of things in there I had to deal with beforehand. And I'm glad I did, cause it made me more conscious of what all I had before I even set foot in the store.
A couple of onion halves, some baby carrots that no one was eating, two last stalks of celery, and two wrinkled bell peppers all got chopped and tossed together in baggies for the freezer.  These will be handy to saute for casseroles or add into soups.
 All of the leftover bread that was getting stale or dry got made into breadcrumbs.  I spread them out on a cookie sheet, set the oven to 350 for about 6-7 minutes, then left them in there for an hour or so.  and had crushable crunchy toast for crumbs.
 The three sad tomatoes I had were way too mushy for salads.  They got diced and frozen in a jelly jar.  Next time I need a can of diced tomatoes, I'll just thaw this out.  It all made me feel productive and thrifty for sure.
Monday - (freezer) Spinach and Salsa Chicken, rice
Tuesday - Stouffer Lasagna, salad
Wednesday - Pepper Jack and Guacamole grilled cheesers, tots
Thursday - Chicken Bacon Alfredo Pasta, broccoli
Friday - Four Ingredient Enchiladas, salad
Saturday - Dad grill
Sunday - Chicken Pot Pie
Breakfast was frugal, too.  Pan-fried leftover sliced baked potato with two eggs and a bit of cheese.
I can't grocery shop on an empty stomach, you know...

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday to you!

The boys and I are enjoying our day so far....slept in, worked on the back patio to clean it up, ate a great Lunch at Brooklyn Pie Co.  And  I did some prep for Easter Sunday, here and there.  I boiled a dozen eggs and colored them for some pretty pastel deviled eggs, iced down canned drinks, thawed the pork roasts, made the Crack Potatoes and the Cheesecake Pie.
Set the table with pretty napkins and spring green chargers. Found 6 clean wine glasses, plates, and silverware, too!
Fished around for some extra silk flowers to pretty up a pillar candle on a plate.  Now  it's time to stretch out in The lounge with a book...and look forward to Sunday.  Can it really be that Christmas was four months ago?  And four months from now will I wonder how Easter ended so quickly?

The Easter feeling does not end,
it signals a new beginning.
Of nature, spring, and brand new life,
And friendship, and peace, and giving.
The spirit of Easter is all about
Hope, love, and joyful living.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chocolate Chip Bacon Pecan Cookies

These were super delish and I had everything on hand to make them, so I did! Scout and I gobbled them up - they are best warm from the oven.  I thought they were some of the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever made.  Bubbie and Hubby took a little more convincing, but as my mother used to say:  MORE FOR ME.  

Chocolate Chip Bacon Pecan Cookies
5 strips good quality smoked bacon (not thick slice or peppered!), cooked crisp and crumbled
1 c. plus 3 T flour
1/2 t. each salt and baking soda
3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/3 c. each white and brown sugar
1 egg
1 t. maple extract (or vanilla)
2/3 c. chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli semi-sweet)
1/2 chopped pecans

Cream butter and sugars.  Add egg and extract and mix well.  Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then mix into creamed butter and sugar, blending well.  Add bacon, chocolate chips, and pecans.  Mix well, then chill the dough a couple of hours.  Drop by rounded teaspoons on cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes at 350 - longer if you like jumbo cookies like we do!

I think the bacon lent a nice smokey sweetness to the cookie - 
try them and see what you think!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mealplan Monday #106 and the Easter Menu

Because I am off on Easter Sunday I have more time to prepare a feast this coming week!  It's hard to believe how fast this year is moving.  Before you know it, it will be Firstborns's move to a new apartment, Scout's high school graduation, Bubbie and Hubby's summer camp, The Girl's last time home for the summer, band camp, college for boggles my mind.  Best just take it one event at a time...
 Rustown Art
Monday - Meatloaf, mashed, peas and carrots
Tuesday - (freezer) Apricot Chicken, couscous, kale
Wednesday - Creamy Lemon Chicken with bacon and green beans, garlic toast
Thursday - Tacos al Pastor, charro beans
Friday - Turkey Pesto Meatballs, butter garlic linguini, broccoli
Saturday - Dad grill - Caribbean Steak
Sunday - Simple Roasted Pork Shoulder, Pan Fried Asparagus, Crack Potatoes, 7-Up rolls, Rock Island Tea, Easy Cheesecake Pie (with lemon and raspberry topping)
Rustown Art

Gone are the days of Easter egg hunts for The Cannary's, but not gone are the memories of family time together at Easter...

Friday, April 11, 2014

5 thing Friday - Sugar, siblings, treats, shoesies, wrinkles

I thought I had it all figured out that Sugar had a food allergy to the canned food.  Once I started feeding her old lady dry food, she did so much better.  Then I ran out and subbed in some other dry food that was for hairballs.  Vomit City.  Again.  
 It's a good thing we like her.
 These two came for dinner on Sunday and had not seen each other since New Year's Day.  So they had to catch up on pestering, finger poking,
 and shunning the photographer.  It will be sad for them when The Girl moves to the big city after graduation.  I envision Firstborn staying put in Austin.  But I could be wrong.
 I took the easy way out this year and purchased these big plastic eggs to put a few treats in.  My kids aren't really kids any more (sniff) so simple is pretty much the order of the day.
 Speaking of Easter, I am OFF that Sunday!  I get to go to church in my new pretty pink Easter sandals and have a great meal with all my peeps.  Maybe I will talk Scout into taking another family photo.
Time marches on and Hubby and I still haven't made progress on ripping the carpet up in the hallway to replace it with laminate.  Those wrinkles travel all the way down the hall and into the master bedroom and closet.  I so want this carpet gone.  The plan is to get the bedroom carpet cleaned and re-stretched, tile the bathrooms, and install laminate in the hall.  As you can see, we have made zero progress.   Goal for next week:  get motivated to go pick out tile, and find the laminate.  Wish me luck. 


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