Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I did not like mac n cheese growing up, the powdery cheese mixed with noodles...blech. I even tried some homemade ones over the years and I still didn't care for them. Until now. This one is awesome! In fact, one of my sons ordered some mac n cheese off the kids menu at a restaurant and after tasting it told us it was gross (I warned him beforehand) - after you've tried this you'll understand what I mean, there is no going back! In fact, my middle son Derek turned 8 today and this is what he requested tonight for his birthday dinner!
Macaroni and Cheese
2 cans evaporated milk (the lowfat cans works great too, done it multiple times)
1 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground mustard
4 Tbsp cornstarch
4-5 cups shredded cheddar cheese
16 oz pasta noodles
Cook pasta according to package directions. Put the first 5 ingredients in a saucepan and whisk together BEFORE turning on the heat. (This is a crucial step as the cornstarch will clump if it is not cold or room temperature) Stir almost constantly over medium high heat until boiling/thickens. Add shredded cheese. When melted, pour over noodles in a 9x13 casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
We also add smoked ham when we have it from the BBQ Pit in San Diego - its the shredded meat that falls off the bones. It is awesome!
Monday, December 27, 2010
Sarah also has a great tutorial on how she caught up on her scrapbooks using Picasa as well. It's a long post, but its full of great information and step-by-step help! It's one of my all time favorite blog posts.
I absolutely love Picasa. I have Photoshop Elements and I have yet to fully figure it out - and I have spent hours on it. I do all my photo enhancements for my blog through Picasa, and I use a point and shoot camera as well. I'd love to invest in a digital SLR in the future! Any recommendations?
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
When I received my December issue of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine in the mail, this photo instantly caught my eye. I love the look of yarn balls and I have made a few in the past before, but wrapped together on a wreath - it looked stunning to me!
So I made my own too. In the magazine it said to use a foam ball, then stick a pin in the first strand of yard attached to the ball. I am not a fan of anything potentially poking me, so I used a small piece of packaging tape. I was able to get a package of 8 foam balls at the dollar store.
And here is more of a detailed shot. I strung them over my bed since I finished them around 1am and I didn't want my boys waking up and playing with them. :) I actually like them there, so they're going to stay for now!
Friday, December 17, 2010
When I was at Lowe's the other day I spotted this 2-pack of lamps on clearance. Price? $12.97 for BOTH! I've been wanting to put matching lamps on the ends of the entertainment unit but have never found any that were a great deal...until now! Even the lampshades were the right color! Love, love, love them!
The green topiary I got at a garage sale for $1 (I added a sprig of berries for the season), and the advent calendar I got for free from a good friend that was moving across the country and was downsizing her stuff. Live/Laugh/Love sign was from Kohl's for 10 dollars, and the red hat box is from Williams-Sonoma and has brand new mugs in them - I scored that at a yard sale for 5 bucks!! I love the vintage snowman print on the top. So there's some more thrifty decor for ya!
Thursday, December 16, 2010
My sister in law was able to find some at Target for 1 dollar each, but they were plain silver. Exactly what I wanted, but of course they were all sold out when I went to check. All they had were these pictured above with the crystal bling. Considering I have 3 boys.....no bling please. And they are expensive! They were 9 dollars each at Target! Amazon has them currently for 12.99 each here. Okay, I paid under 2 bucks each for these stockings....you think I'm going to shell out 5 times the amount of money for an initial??? Sorry, wrong number.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Here are some links to some other inspiring ideas on frugal Christmas decor here and here from the Thrifty Home blog.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
In the meantime, here are some great Christmas links from some fabulous bloggers!
Plan Your Peaceful Christmas: Give Back from Simple Mom
5 Minutes to Festive: Frame a Gift Bag! from the Red Chair Blog
Making a Christmas Question Jar Gift from Keeping Life Creative
How to Make a Jingle Bell Jar and other Mason Jar Crafts from the Inspired Room
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Having a hard time picking out paint colors for your home? I love House Beautiful's Color for your Homes: 300 Designer favorites. This is where I found the Grant Beige. It's a book of tried and true favorites over the years of notable designers, and they even have a fantastic reference guide for each color and its undertone shade. You can buy it here on Amazon or you can rent it from the library as well. I rented it first and loved it so much I bought a copy for myself. 10 dollars well spent!
Monday, November 15, 2010
What Simplicity and Minimalism Isn't About
8 Tips to Make Your Photography Better for Under $6
DIY Thanksgiving Display Board great crafty idea!
Alternative to Vinyl Lettering for around 25 cents (scroll down the article to show how she makes the vinyl lettering look on her computer and takes it to the copy shop)
Autumn Vignette showcases her cheap alternative to vinyl lettering from the copy shop - love it!
Sunday, October 31, 2010
I tried uploading this post several days ago to no avail - apparently my computer is rejecting my photos that I have touched up in Picasa and they are coming up as invalid images. Blogger won't recognize them as well. Still trying to figure it out.
So...I apologize for not more photos but this is one of my latest fall creations - when I was up in Oak Glen for apple season I took my boys to a nearby park and there were literally boatloads of acorns. They were gorgeous - a reddish brown too! I decided to fill up my hurricane vase with these lovely acorns. I then took a few fabric leaves that I had laying around from a small box of decorative pumpkins that I got at Walmart for only $6. I'm not always the biggest fan of Walmart but I must admit they had a great selection of fall decor this year! I really do enjoy their Better Homes and Gardens and Canopy line of products. I punched some small holes in those leaves and then wrapped some jute twine around the vase. (The twine can be found in the housewares?? section by the lightbulbs and tape measures, ect)
Now if you have a queasy stomach....please stop reading. Since acorns are a natural product of nature......lets just say it would be a good idea to boil them in water when you bring acorns home....as the ones that I brought home....a week or two later....we found maggots aka baby worms not turned into flies yet at the bottom. We couldn't figure out why we had a few flies around the house. Ummmm....yeah. (Ew ew ewwwww!!!!) So we boiled the acorns. A rolling boil. They lost some of that beautiful reddish color.....but now we're maggot free. And I'll take the latter.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
"Whenever I think I have to have something or that I've found a deal I can't pass up, I remind myself that there will always be something else. Something newer and shinier. The newest best things today are tomorrow's Goodwill donations. Target will always have a clearance rack, Goodwill will always have $5 jeans, yard sales will always have household stuff for $1, and there will always be catalogs with nice things in them making what I have now look like old news." -Emily, Remodeling this Life.
She has some excellent thoughts on gift giving and simplifying Christmas as well. You can read the whole post here. One thing that really stuck out to me is how they do Christmas presents for their children. Their kids receive 4 gifts from them. They receive something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.
We are doing that this year for our 3 boys. Brian and I had them write out their wish lists for the 4 categories, and as I have thought of things as well for them I have added to the lists they gave me. This will be so much more meaningful gift giving, and I want my kids to remember the real reason we celebrate Christmas - the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Not just all about Santa and the over-commercialism that Christmas has become. I could write a whole post just about that. My goal is to be completely done with getting gifts by mid November so that I can ENJOY the whole month of December!
I could write so much more that Emily has said. You should really check out her blog, its fantastic. I think I'll wrap up this post and talk some more about some of the other bloggers in another post.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
You might want to put some newspaper down as its a pretty messy project- be prepared with a broom and dustpan for afterwards! Totally worth it though! Love Love Love....although I used a navy blue ribbon I had in my stash, I want to change it to a chocolate brown ribbon when I get a chance - but I did not want to delay putting it up on my wall!
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Today I dropped off 4 trash bags of clothing, housewares, and other miscellaneous items to my local Goodwill. It's so nice to free up some space in our spare room! The thing that I love most about what Sarah does to purge is to use BLACK trash bags. That way, your kids (and husband)won't see what you are bagging up (aka toys, 40 gazillion shirts that your hubby doesn't wear anyways), and when its in the bag, its in. You can't see it's contents so its much less tempting to pull things back out of it!
Now, I am all about asking my husband permission to get rid of things that are his out of respect. My hubby had SO many t-shirts they took up one whole rack in our closet! Seriously, over 40. Maybe more. (Need I start in on the hat collection?) One thing that I came up with to prove he didn't wear or need EVERY. SINGLE. SHIRT. was to turn all the hangers backwards on his t-shirts. When he wore one of his shirts, after I laundered it I put it back on the hanger the way it regularly goes. After a few months it was pretty obvious which shirts he loved and which ones he really didn't need to hang onto.
He was a good sport and ending up purging a lot of ones that he really didn't need. He also let me donate half of his hat collection - which meant that I got to donate 20 hats (and gain back a nice chunk of overhead closet space over MY clothes).
Could I get rid of 40 trash bags in 8 weeks? For me, probably not because I am a habitual purger. Seriously. My husband gets worried sometimes that I get rid of TOO much stuff. I am consistently taking a few trash bags full of clothing and household items to my local Goodwill or Deseret Industries frequently as I don't like things to build up. I really don't like clutter. At all. And I am a believer of only keeping items that are useful or that I find beautiful AND love.
Going into the holiday season its a great time to clear some space in your kids rooms and throughout your house as well! Do you think you could find 40 trash bags to take out of your home? This also includes paper trash and other garbage to throw away. Imagine how much more open and airy your home would feel - I bet you'll feel like you had a weight taken off your shoulders!