Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Today is a very busy day, Christmas Eve. So much cleaning and last minute preparations to be done, but I wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Brown Paper Package - Mailed!


I mailed off my package for the Brown Paper Package Exchange... here all all of the goodies that I mailed off. I hope the recipient likes them!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Color Drip Candles


I picked up a 2-pack of these at WinCo while grocery shopping yesterday. They provided a lot of entertainment during dinner last night, as the children were excitedly discussing which color was going to melt next, what side of the candle the was going to run down, etc. If you find a pack, try them out! At less than $2 for the set of candles, it's an inexpensive way to add a little pizazz to your family dinner.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 11/9/09

It has been a while since I have written out our weekly menu plan! Here's my list of dinner ideas for this week:

~ Oven-baked chicken thighs with parmesan risotto (adults), roasted garlic mashed potatoes (kids), and veggies (asparagus for the adults, peas for the kids).

~ Coca-cola pork roast in the crockpot with boiled red potatoes and corn.

~ Lazy Mom's goulash over rice.

~ Hot turkey sandwiches (open faced, thick-sliced turkey sandwiches) with mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and green beans.

~ Pinto beans and shredded pork.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Nicholas was Zurg (from Toy Story).
Cecilia was a homemade bee (melt your heart moment, while I was making her costume she hugged me and said "you're the bestest mom ever, making me a costume instead of just buying it)... she wanted to be a bee because "I want to get back at all those stupid bees that sting me". Love that seven year old's logic. (Antenna and wings from the 99c store)
Abigail was a witch - she used last year's costume again, we just added a pair of witch costume pants underneath to make it a little longer.
Sabrina was a "vampire fairy".
Nathanial was the "candy cop" and spent the evening handing out candy to all of the trick or treaters... after setting up speakers, a strobe light, a black light, and a fog machine. Our house was a hit.





Friday, October 30, 2009

Vinyl Lettering Winner!'s random interger generator came up with this number...


And lucky number 15 was...


Angel, please email me at smrfchic @ gmail . com to claim your prize! I hope you enjoy the vinyl lettering, and I can't wait to see where you put it up!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Why did you put THAT on the table?

kitty litter cake

The other day Nate asked me to make a special treat for his office. Evidently he had been telling them about the kitty litter cake I made for his work way back in 1999, and everyone was clamoring for a repeat.

I'm sure you've seen kitty litter cakes before, but they're always a gross hit for Halloween or April Fool's Day. Here's how to make one of your own:

Start with your cast of characters. A box of chocolate cake mix, a box of white cake mix, a package of vanilla sandwich cookies, vanilla instant pudding, and green food coloring. Plus the eggs, water, and oil you'll need for the cakes, as well as the milk for the pudding.

Crumble up the vanilla sandwich cookies. I only used about one and a half rows from the package shown, but this was the only package with vanilla cookies left in it at my store.

Mix up the vanilla pudding according to the package directions and put in the fridge to set.

Bake the cakes according to the package directions... it doesn't matter what size pan you use because you're going to crumble them up.

Break the cakes up in a big bowl and mix with half of the plain cookie crumbs. Add in just enough pudding so that the cake is moist, but not soggy. I only used about half of the pudding, so one box should suffice. Dump it into your NEW and cleaned litter pan and pat it down gently into an even layer.

Mix the green cookie crumbs with the plain ones and sprinkle them evenly over the surface of the cake.

kitty litter cake
To mold the kitty poops out of your tootsie rolls, place the unwrapped candies into the microwave for a few seconds of time. About 8-10 seconds should be enough... too long and the candy melts into a crispy puddle. Have fun with shaping each candy into a unique and realistic shape, burying some halfway in the "litter" and even draping one over the side of the pan.

Serve with a NEW and washed litter scooper.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sign up for a holiday exchange.

I just signed up for the Brown Paper Package Exchange. If you'd like more details on this swap, just click on the little widget over there on the right. Thanks to Melissa for putting this together!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The lamp


I painted the vintage lamp just plain white for now. I think once the purple sheers are hanging behind it on the window and it has a pretty shade perched on top that the architectural interest of the lamp will be enough in just the solid color. Now I just need to find a nice replacement shade for it... I'd love to cover it in lilac gingham, but I need to find a shade that has the right proportion. The shade that came with the lamp is structurally sound but filthy (inside each of those pleats is a riot of dust and cobwebs).

Bread, mmmm, glorious bread!


Here's my first loaf of ciabatta bread created using the directions in Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. I'm looking forward to trying out more of the yummy looking recipes in this book but will be tackling them slowly since hubby decided to go back on our low-carb diet. The above loaf of bread vanished in about 5 minutes with my carb-addicted family. I hear that the authors are working on a new book that will focus more on "healthy" breads, with lots of whole-wheat and such.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

First Rainy Day Giveaway

Here in California, we're in the midst of a "record-breaking storm". We're supposed to get more rain in the next 2 day period than at any other time in the last 50 years. When it comes to rainy, gray, wet days I find it really hard to find my get-up-and-go, so what better way to pass the time than by writing a blog post... and hosting a giveaway?


The prize: Vinyl Wall Lettering, one of the biggest trends around right now! This one says "Live well, Laugh often, Love always".

How to win:
For one entry, post a comment below.
For a second entry, follow my blog through Blogger or an RSS reader (like Bloglines or Google Reader) ~ post a second comment letting me know that you're following.
For a third entry, post your favorite low-carb-friendly cold weather recipe (let's try to keep it under 30g carb/serving).
For a fourth entry, post about this giveaway on your blog and post a comment here with the direct link to your post.

Entries close Thursday, October 29th. Winner will be announced on Friday, October 30th.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Happy 15th Birthday, Nathan!!

This weekend, our "tank" turns 15.


Presents, cake, family... homemade pizza will round out the celebration.


He blew out all 15 candles in a single blow.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Time to play "Ketchup".

Last week was busy with all of the "usual" stuff... the daily laundry, dishes, matriculation, and such. On Friday I played hooky from my chores for a couple of hours and visited a friend.
Saturday morning I was able to finally do some "me" shopping to try to replenish my very sad and neglected wardrobe. Using birthday money and gift cards I purchased 6 new tees, a camp shirt w/ matching cami, 2 pairs of jeans, a hoodie, a pair of flip flops, a pair of mary jane tennies, and 2 pairs of sock "liners". I need to buy a few more cheap $5 tees before I feel truly comfortable throwing out almost all of my stained/holey/bleached out shirts. I do need to keep a few for cleaning the bathroom and painting. Saturday afternoon was another baseball game of course.
Sunday afternoon I got to take Nicholas to see his very first play. We saw a stage adaptation of "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" which happens to be his favorite series of books. He had a BLAST!
Niko posing
Niko and the sign
me and Niko

Today, in between grocery shopping, laundry, dishes, etc. I found the time to put a few coats of spray paint on two flower pots. The white stripes on these have been flaking off, and I just wasn't as "in love" with the bright color as I was when I bought them (on deep-clearance of course). I like them much better in their new coat of "hammered bronze" and will be filling them with mums for the season. Is it such a bad sin to use fake mums in them for a few weeks, since I will undoubtedly kill off real mums before the season is over?

Pots (before)

Pots (after)

Monday, September 28, 2009

To-do list

Maybe the act of posting my checklist for today will help motivate me to complete all of my self-assigned tasks. Maybe.

~ Make all of the beds with clean sheets for the week.

~ Play catch-up on the dishes that piled up over the weekend.

~ Mop the hallway and girls room.

~ Do the weekly grocery shopping.

~ Tidy the living room (pick up toys/papers, vacuum the area rug, dust).

~ Start poly-ing the dresser.

~ Finish painting the flower lamp for the girls room.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A birthday celebration!

As of last Friday, I left my twenties behind. That's right, I turned the big Three Zero. We had my favorite kind of weekend... quiet and drama free! Hubby treated me to sushi on Friday night, then a couple of hours of antique shopping at a huge antique mall on Saturday afternoon followed by an evening of dinner theater!

The antique mall was HUGE. Over 47,000 square feet of vintage and retro goodies. I saw quite a few lovely pieces that I would love to go back and get... Milk glass vases, cranberry glass compotes, a gorgeous set of pyrex bowls in the Gooseberry pattern to add to my growing collection (it will match my pink KitchenAid mixer!), lovely buffets and china cabinets and secretary desks and a darling gossip bench and.... *sigh* Oh, and while at the antique store, I found a smaller version of the vintage lamp shown in my previous post, but with roses instead of daisies and without such a large base... freshly repainted in a coat of white paint with a brand new shade, and selling for $30. I think I got a great deal! (Although I am thinking the smaller rose lamp might need to find a home on Sabrina's nightstand....)

Photo Credit: King Richard's Antique Mall

We saw "Singing in the Rain" at the Curtain Call dinner theater. As one of my favorite musicals of all times, it was very fun to see this Broadway style stage adaptation. The lead actress had an amazing voice... just so clear and lovely. All of the tap dancing was wonderful too! I keep realizing that I am humming "Good Morning" and "Moses Supposes" under my breath.

Photo Credit: Curtain Call Theater

Me and the hubby enjoying our dinner before the show!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thank you Tara! :)

I wanted to take a moment to send a quick "thank you" to Tara from Never Gives Up for the fun surprise in my mail slot this afternoon! She sent me a copy of Gilbert Morris' Charade. I looooooove a good read and am looking forward to starting this one as soon as I finish my current novel.

This little light of mine.

I stopped by a little thrift shop with my mom today after her doctor appointment and picked up this little lamp. I debated with myself over its purchase, putting it back on the shelf four or five times. I finally bit the bullet and paid the lady $5.00 for it.

vintage lamp

I am planning on giving it a coat of spray-paint in bright white (it's actually an off-white now), and painting the little flowers lilac inside... And putting a new shade on it, hopefully in lavendar or light green gingham. I think I will replace the little plastic finial on top with something else as well.

I am planning on sitting this on top of the girls' dresser. So my lovely internet friends, was this a find? Or should I have left it behind?

More pictures!





And for a special bonus, here's a sneak peek at the hardware for the dresser. I'm giving the handles a couple of coats of "dark bronze" hammered finish spray paint.



Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thankful Thursday

This Thursday I am thankful for...

...the opportunity to have my oldest attend public school from the comfort of our own home. Although the past week and a half has been stressful at times as we are learning the ropes, he is working hard to get on track with everything. It makes me so proud to see him posting his Facebook status at 6a.m saying that he's up early to get ahead on his school work, or to see him posting in Spanish at 10pm. to say that he's gotten a lot of work done. He is truly working at making this work for him.

...five healthy, happy children. Even though they don't always get along like peas and carrots, there are those moments of domestic tranquility that make it all seem perfect.

...a job opportunity that my husband is going after. Hoping and praying that it all works out as the extra income would enable us to finish the rest of the home remodeling projects that we need to tackle to make our Ugly Gray House our Pretty Little Home.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More work on the bedroom...

Over the last month or so, we've gotten a lot done on the bedroom. We finally finished painting and installing all of the new trim. Putting up the new baseboards in this room was difficult because the walls on either side of the door are curved, but after a lot of trial and error, they're done!

Here's a reminder of what the room started out as... This was Nathan's room. I forgot to take a picture before moving the bed into the center of the room to start removing the border, so just imagine it up against the wall instead!

From bedroom transformation

Once everything, including the carpeting was removed, we were left with this:
From bedroom transformation

We refinished the hardwood flooring:
From bedroom transformation

Then painted the room "Sassy Lilac":
From bedroom transformation

I bought a dresser to refinish:
From The Ugly Gray House

From bedroom transformation

And pulled out the old twin bed to give new life to as well. This bed was made in August 1945 and was used by my Dad (born in 1948), various family members, myself, and Nathan. It has needed to be refinished as far back as I can remember, but instead of sanding it down and refinishing it in the original maple, I decided to bite the bullet and paint it white. Painting wooden furniture just KILLS me by the way.
From bedroom transformation

From bedroom transformation

From bedroom transformation

From bedroom transformation

I found this soft and fluffy shag rug at Target and had to buy it when I saw how perfectly the color went with the room. It is so uunbelievably fluffy... but too thick for my vacuum to tackle on even the highest setting. Luckily, it's machine washable so I can just take it to the laundromat whenever it gets icky. Still, there is a NO SHOES rule now in place for their room.

From bedroom transformation

From bedroom transformation

We will be replacing the oak bunkbed with a white one in a few weeks. If this one was in good condition, I would simply paint it, but after seven years with my rough little ladies... well, the ladder was busted long ago, the wood is cracked in a few places, etc. It is just time to let it go.


Sabrina was dyyyyyyyying for a canopy. They're not really my thing, but she is over the moon with this and feels like a complete and total princess.

From bedroom transformation

Just a few more things left until the room is "finished". We need to buy curtain rods and hang up the lilac sheers on the windows. I need to finish painting the dresser white, as well as their bookcase. Then I need to find a small nightstand table for Sabrina. A couple of small lamps for the nightstand and dresser, and a battery-operated lamp of some sort for their bookcase. I also need to paint some shelves to hang on the walls between their beds, paint some frames for some paint by number paintings the girls did, hang some tulle butterflies that they painted, etc.

And then... work begins on the boys' new room. Just imagine blue and wood. And speakers and stars.