Friday, May 18, 2012

Sparkly Light Switch Covers

After a couple of whirl wind weeks... DD#2 graduated from high school, family down to visit and a week away from home on business, I can finally get back into a routine and get some posts up!  This project I started about 6 months ago, you know, just about Christmas time.  Isn't that when every teenage girl decides she MUST totally re-do her room?  New curtains, new mini blinds, new paint, crown molding, closet update, the whole nine yards.  And for some reason can't understand why you aren't as excited as she is, and don't even think you can pass this off as a Christmas present! Teenagers in Podunk are just like all other teenagers!

But I digress...sometimes you've just gotta wait and see how a project turns out.  I was a little sceptical when DD#2 showed this to me and declared that she wanted these for her bedroom that we were already painting an obnoxious fabulous pepto bismol pink! I didn't think they would hold up to the wear and tear of a teenager, but they have!  And now I want to share them with you.  SPARKLY light switch covers!!  

It was a little challenging to get a picture of them... they sparkle and reflect light like crazy, but if you have a daughter who's into BLING, by all means, these are amazing.  Slightly scratchy, but amazing!

We started out with the existing light switch cover - cheap, plastic and ugly.  I just wiped it clean with a damp cloth (trust me it needed done...icky) and let it dry completely.

My original thing of glitter with MUCH bigger!  Just using this one for reference.

Sorry, there are no pictures for this process... remember, I didn't really think it would work?  Well, I should have taken pictures anyway!

First I laid down some newspapers because I tend to be messy.  Then I smeared a pretty thick layer of Mod Podge over the entire surface of the switch plate.  Be sure you get it all the way over to the edges.  Then I sprinkled very liberally with glitter.  The glitter pictured is NOT the size I used... maybe 4 x that much.  Be sure you get glitter clear over to the edges (do you notice a reoccurring theme here?).  I let that set for about 30 minutes before lightly tapping the loose glitter off.  I recycled that glitter for switch plate #2.  Then I let it dry overnight.  

Once it's dry, I took it outside and sprayed it liberally with the clear polyurethane pictured.  I bought the gloss, but it comes in matte too.  Personal preference.  Then I let it dry for at least 4 hours and sprayed it again.  I did 3 coats of polyurethane and let the final coat dry overnight. 

That's it.  We hung it and have been using it for over 6 months now with no signs of wear and tear at all.   

Glitter comes in a variety of colors, and if you wanted to go crazy you could even do a design (thinking stripes or chevron would be cute).  And if you're like me, and love crafts and have girls, you probably even have all the supplies on hand, which makes it even better.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Meal Planning Monday in Podunk

Continuing what I started two weeks ago, I will again be participating in Meal Planning Monday, over at "I'm an Organizing Junkie".  You should really go visit her - TONS of menu ideas.

First, let me start by telling you about the recipe from last week that is getting added to the rotation, and the one that I'm probably never going to make again.

The clear winner was Sunday brunch with Bacon, Egg and Cheese Casserole.  I did use my own biscuit recipe, but this one is a winner.  I did not make it the night before, and next time I will as it's a little time consuming, but sooooo worth it!

The one that I will not make again was the Snickers Brownies. You will need to love crazy, ridiculously SWEET things for this recipe. We are a chocolate, caramel loving bunch here, and it was just too sweet (for us).   

This week, we have family coming to town, and DD#2 graduates from high school on Thursday.  Also, I have lots of leftovers in the fridge to use up, as well as one recipe from last week that I didn't make as we had a last minute school function to attend that included dinner. 

Sunday - Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad {P}, Chips & Salsa

Monday - Grilled Burgers, Potato Salad and Brussel Sprouts (cooked on the grill in aluminum foil)

Tuesday - Grilled BBQ Pork Steak, Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli

Wednesday - Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta, French bread

Thursday - graduation night - Carry-out Pizza, Chips & Salsa, and graduation cake

Friday - Monterey Chicken  {P}(on the grill in foil instead of oven), Hash Brown Casserole {P}, Mad Hatter Salad

Saturday - Spaghetti & Meatballs, Salad, French Bread

{P} = found it on Pinterest

This is going to be a crazy, busy, fun week in Podunk.  Hope you enjoy what's for dinner!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Give a pig a cookie

It's a tough job, being a pig in Podunk.  Lot's of sitting and thinking.

Sometimes it involves standing and sniffing the air.

Or curling up with your friend the calf and taking a nap.

But occasionally, it involves going to a petting zoo. 

The petting zoo is where we found out the pig likes cookies.  A nice lady shared her chocolate chip cookies with the pig.  When we got home I decided to bake the pig and her buddies, Chica, the calf and Rooster some cookies for being so great with the little kids.  I decided against chocolate chip - I know dogs can't have chocolate, so I reasoned livestock in general probably shouldn't either.

Time to pull out the Betty Crocker cookbook.  I'm sure when Betty was writing her recipe for Oatmeal cookies, she didn't ever envision them to be pig cookies, but the pig thinks Betty did a pretty good job. 

I made them pretty small, around an 1" in size - just one bite for a pig.  She loves them!  And them meet standards for feeding animals here in Podunk...all natural, no hormones, no antibiotics and multi-species. The calf and Rooster will eat them, but don't go crazy for them like the pig.  

One of the horses of Podunk likes them.

One took a cookie and then spit it out,

and the third one just turned up her nose at the entire idea of eating a "pig" cookie.

The pig is pretty excited that she doesn't have to share.


Egg Rolls Because I Can!

I am a huge fan of the egg roll.  Something about the crunchy outside, and the warm and slightly crunchy veggie inside, and of course, the dipping sauce.  YUM. 

Friday, on my revamped weekly menu called for Bourbon Chicken and Egg rolls.  Sometimes I buy egg rolls, but this time I had purchased the ingredients to make egg rolls.  I am trying to find any reason to use my new kitchen gadget, the Chop 'N Prep.  I love this little thing! 

I don't have an official "recipe" for egg rolls.  In my mind, it's a bit of a "wing it" sort of food.  For the purposes of this blog, I've attempted to capture the steps, and will give approximate quantities (but no promises here!). 

You will need to start with egg roll wrappers (one package). If you have never purchased them before, they can be found in the refrigerated produce section.  DD#3 went grocery shopping with me last week, and had no idea where to find them.  She could simply not believe that was where the grocery store "hid" them.  I asked her where they should be, she just shrugged, and said "well, not there."

Next, for my egg rolls, I used about 1/2 a small head of cabbage, one carrot and four mushrooms. 

Using my Chop "N Prep, I chopped them up into little pieces (no kidding, little pieces!).

And I almost forgot, half of a yellow onion.  You can add any other vegetables you want.  If you want spicy egg rolls, add a jalapeno.  If you have some vegetables you need to use, add them.  No right or wrong combination - I think the only necessity is the cabbage. 

If you don't want to chop up all this stuff, because you don't have a fun little kitchen gadget, or because you are short on time, or just because, buy a bag of coleslaw mix and add a diced onion.

Normally, I would use some ground pork or small shrimp as the meat in the egg rolls.  This time, I had a leftover grilled chicken breast.  I chopped it up and added it to the vegetables.  You can also just make these veggie.

Then I added about 1/3 cup soy sauce, 2 tbsp sesame oil (I like sesame, so you might want 1tbsp), 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tbsp sugar, and a little salt.  I'm trying to cut back on salt, so just do a taste test for the salt. 

Lay out an egg roll wrapper so it looks like a diamond, and put about 1/3 cup or so in the middle of the wrapper.

Then fold the bottom point up over the mixture.

Then the right and the left sides in so it looks like a little envelope.

Wet your fingers with water, and moisten the flap (just like an envelope) and roll from the bottom to the top.

Heat at least 2" of oil (peanut is preferred, but canola is OK too) to about 300 degrees.  I don't think I every really check the temperature, instead I cut a tiny piece of egg roll wrapper off and drop it in the oil.  If is starts to fry, it's hot enough.  If the wrapper sinks to the bottom of the oil, it's not hot enough yet.  This is the medium setting on my electric stove, preheated for about 10 minutes.

Fry for about 2 minutes per side, rolling the egg roll over in the oil to get an even fry.  Good luck with this one.  Sometimes they stay rolled over, and sometimes they are stubborn.  Just trying to get an even brown.

Please don't judge the dirty stove top!
Place a couple of paper towels on a place, and CAREFULLY remove the egg roll from the HOT oil.  If your kiddos are helping make these, this is an adult step! 

I got this one a little too brown - taking pictures, I forgot to get out the paper towels!  But trust me, it was still delicious! 

Make or purchase your favorite dipping sauce.  Serve hot.  Enjoy!

Friday, May 4, 2012

PIllow Case Dress

Pillow case dresses for little girls are all the rage this year, at least if I go by what I see on Pinterest.  I'm sure Pinterest would never lie.  I've pinned several different ones I want to make, and have successfully made two already for the grandbaby P.  P is 7 months old right now, so a dress and diaper cover for someone her size takes about a 1/2 yard of fabric.  I bought some seersucker fabric that was on sale, along with one package of double fold bias tape, and a package of jumbo rick rack.

Because there aren't many patterns for a pillow case dress, you can just make your own pattern.  Don't panic, I'll show you how.  First, get a dress that fits (sleeveless is best), or is maybe just a touch too big.  This will be your pattern.  Fold your fabric in half and lay your dress on the fabric.  If you are making a diaper cover too, be sure you lay those pieces out as well.  I found my diaper cover pattern over at "Make It and Love It".

Start with the top of the dress (the shoulders) at the top of your fabric.  This will allow you enough extra for the seam allowance at the top.  Then just cut a rectangle, the same width as the bottom of the skirt.

Next, you are going to cut out the arm holes.  Again, don't panic, you have a pattern.  Just slide the dress over so the top of the shoulder of the dress is touching the top of your fabric, and the under arm is touching the side of the fabric.  Now, carefully, without cutting your dress, cut out the arm holes.

Do that same thing to the other side.  Your pattern is cut out!  Now, the real fun begins!

Top stitch or serge the top of the dress pieces and the arm holes.

Now, lay your two pieces side by side, sided touching and pull out your jumbo rick rack (or ribbon, or whatever you are going to embellish with).  Lay this across both pieces - one long piece - and pin in place.

That is my little secret to making these match up on the dress, and trust me, I've have my share of ones not match up!  If yours don't match up in the end, don't worry, this dress is going on a moving baby, and she's not gonna care :)

Top stitch this onto your fabric, then with right sides together, sew the dress sides together, making sure the rick rack matches. 

Then, using your bias tape, pin it around your arm holes.  It's kind of like filling a taco shell, put the dress fabric in between the two layers of bias tape and pin.  Do this to both arms, then top stitch in place.  Bias tape is kind of stretchy, and will form around the curve of your arm just fine.

Fold down the top of the dress to form the casing for your ribbon, which will become your dress straps.  How far you fold it depends on the ribbon you will be using.  I folded mine down about 1 1/4".  Then stitch 1/4" from the bottom (serged) edge.  Do this to both sides. 

Now, it's time to hem your dress.  I serged the bottom of the dress.  You can zigzag the bottom too.  Then I fold the material up about 1/4 to 1/2" and topstitch in place.  I used a zigzag top stitch, but you can use a straight stitch, or a decorative stitch too.  Your sewing is complete! 

Only one final step, and that's to run the ribbon through your casing at the top of the dress.  Start at the left hand side back of the dress, coming out the back right side, then threw through the right side front of the dress, coming out the front left side.  Tie the two ends of your ribbon is a bow, leaving enough room for little arms to fit into and give a little extra for some growing room.  This dress can be a sun top with shorts next year.

Admire your work and go eat a cookie!  You deserve it. 

The Ducks are CRAZY!

I think I mentioned (or I meant to mention) a few months back that DD#3 brought home 3 baby ducks from an auction.  At the time, we weren't even 100% sure they were ducks.  We thought they might be geese.  Clearly we are not poultry people here.  They lived on my sun room in a giant rubbermaid container for a few days until we could build a duck corral.  They moved to the duck corral and they stayed there during the day, and came back into the sun room and the giant container at night so they wouldn't be cold.  They started living in the duck corral full time about a month ago.  The duck corral has a water hydrant that leaks in the middle of it, so we put a large pan under it, and the ducks have a little pond in their corral.  They love it. 

The crazy part - I really am getting there.  So just earlier this week, we decided that the duck corral was getting a bit small for them full time, and we opened the gate for them during the day.  The first day, they never came out of the duck corral.  Apparently ducks are chicken!  (A little poultry humor on a Friday!) The second day, they came out, but got scared by the dog, who just wanted to sniff their butts.  It's a dog thing, but it certainly is NOT a duck thing. 

Finally, the rest of the week, they have been roaming free in the back forest yard, eating bugs, swimming in the dogs water dish, swimming in the puddles in my driveway, trying to swim in the cat's water (only one foot can fit in there) and being CRAZY!  They have figured out that the duck food is in the sun room, and peck on the windows to get fed.  And when I say peck, I think they have really built a catapult somewhere in my backyard and are flinging each other into my windows.  A few times I've gone running to see what just happened, and they are always just standing there, on my patio, ever so meekly, wagging their little duck tail feathers. 

And then I feed them and they stop being crazy.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I've mentioned before, that I am not a particularly organized person - I'm a want-to-be organized person.  I am a work in progress, and some days are better than others.  I am very proud that for the last two weeks, I've had a meal plan, and used it!  I have also found the time to do a few things around the house that I've been putting off and gotten in the habit of checking my calendar every night before I go to bed, so I know what the next day will hold. 

That being said, when you have teenagers, some days you just gotta go with the flow. 

This is the note that was next to my computer when I woke up.  DD#3 wrote in sharpie, and DD#2 wrote in pen.  Love notes, as it were.  Do your teenagers leave you love notes?  Apparently they did not know this last night before I went to bed - we are out of calf feed, pig feed and chicken feed and the calf is almost out of milk replacer.  Oh, and I need this skirt fixed before 3:15 today, because there is an FFA banquet tonight. 

There is no mention if I need to make something to take to the FFA banquet - I don't think the parents of seniors bring anything, but we have a sophomore too, so I'm going to guess they will spring that on me around 3pm. 

In any case, between conference calls for my "real" job, I need to run to the feed store and pick up food for the animals and then fix the skirt.  At least the skirt is an easy fix.  I did need to change the menu board to reflect the fact that we are not eating at home tonight.  I love the fact that if I do need to take something, I know exactly what I will make! 

I went to my new menu board and slid the Bourbon chicken down to tomorrow, and took off the Bacon Cheeseburger pasta.  Flexibility.  That's big in my world.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

It Slices, It Dices, It Makes Julienne Fries!

Meet my newest kitchen gadget.  Maybe I exaggerate a lot just a touch in the post title, but this thing is NIFTY!

It's a Tupperware Chop 'N Prep (I love my tupperware) and my kids won it at a 4-H horse show!  I like the horse show prizes, the kids, not so much!  See the little white handle on the top of the lid?  You pull it, just like starting a weed whacker, to chop up your vegetables - chop only (no slicing, dicing or julienne-ing. I just thought that was a catchy title). 

You put your vegetables in (or I guess it could be whatever kind of food you want chopped) and close the lid.  It's kind of small (you get about a cup of the chopped whatever), but we'll call it fun sized.  Then you pull the cord 5 or 6 or 10 times, and voila, chopped up stuff!

I chopped up cabbage for these pictures, I'm going to make egg rolls later.  DD#3 made fresh salsa last night in about 5 minutes, which we scarfed down in under 5 minutes! I am also going to try chopping up a leftover grilled chicken breast to make chicken salad for lunch today. This would be a great gadget for a younger child to be able to help in the kitchen.  Self-contained - no mess and no chance of chopping off your fingers!  Would also be great to take camping, no electricity required.

I am so excited about my new little chopper - I added it to a blog party over at "The Johanson Journey".  Go check it out! I say it's mine (even though the kids won it) since I'm sure I will be the one using it and washing it.  Oh, and it's dishwasher safe too - at least when I ran it through the dishwasher it didn't fall apart or anything.  The only down side to this (in my opinion) is the price if you have to buy it - retails for $45.00.  Personally, I'm hoping there is another horse show soon with Tupperware prizes!