Thursday, March 31, 2011


My princess is wearing the crown of the lost princess. Who is the lost princess, you ask?

Rapunzel is the lost princess. See those ribbons? That is her long, magical hair.

This is Rapunzel's long hair after it was braided by the little girls in the town.

Confused? Watch Tangled. It is funny. Then watch it again.

Apparently, we are going to watch it 1000 times in a row. That's what I am told anyway.

Up-Close and Personal

A mysterious noise was coming from outside. It had to be investigated. It was our neighbor being loud with cars.

I guess it wasn't as interesting as she hoped it would be.

But wait. What do we have here? Mom has the camera. This requires a closer look.

Hey there.


Nice teeth.

She is crackin' herself up!

I wonder if she could get any closer?  Nice view, huh?

That's a little better. Hey, by the way girlfriend, your nose wound is healing rather nicely. Must be the stellar nursing skillz of your Mommy. That and Neosporin and Mederma.

Time to move to the floor by the toys.

This little plastic iguana apparently needed some love. Oh, and not to brag or anything, but I asked her to find the elephant and she did. She also found the monkey. She didn't know any other animals though. Her Mom better get to work teaching her things.


Time for a drink. All of this posing, smiling, and playing makes a girl thirsty.

Rajun Cajun Onion Rings and Beer Battered Shrooms

We continue to be a foster family to a deep fryer. It just sits on my counter, taunting me, whispering, "You know you want to make deep fried goodness in me. Do it. If you make it, they will come." So, I did. I made deep fried goodness. And let me tell you, it was good. I had a little help from Guy Fieri and his Rajun Cajun Onion Rings. Here's what he says to do:

Mix together some sour cream, milk, and hot pepper sauce in a bowl. Whisk it good. Get all of the sour cream lumps out. Oh, and for the hot sauce, I used Frank's Red Hot Sauce.

Cut up some onions into rings. I used 2 giant sweet onions. Then you put them into the hot sauce bath. Mix them around. Get down and dirty. Use your hands. Make sure every part of every onion ring is covered in sauce. Set that aside.

In a pie plate, mix together flour and a whole slew of spices and seasonings. There are quite a few. You can see them in the recipe.

I also made a beer batter for some white button mushrooms. Bobby Flay told me to use equal parts beer and flour. I added some salt and pepper. I really like Bobby Flay. I might have a little crush.

Here's the set up. Seasoned flour and saucy onions. Beer batter and button mushrooms.

To make the onion rings, remove a ring from the saucy bath and dunk into the flour mixture. You can repeat the process again if you would like.

To make the mushrooms, dunk a shroom into the beer batter.

Fry them at about 350 degrees until browned.

Drain on a towel and season them with salt.

Now, tell me that doesn't make your mouth water.

Here is how Guy "Wears my glasses on the back of my head" Fieri makes his onion rings:

Guy's Rajun Cajun Onion Rings

1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce (I used Frank's Red Hot)
2 large onions, cut into rings

1 teaspoon each of:
celery salt
onion powder
garlic powder
mustard powder
chili powder
2 cups flour

(I did not use mustard powder because I didn't have any. I also omitted paprika but I did add cayenne pepper instead)

Whisk together all of the wet ingredients. Bathe the onions in the saucy goodness. Set aside.

Season the flour.

Heat your oil to 350 degrees.

Remove your onions from the saucy bath and dredge in the flour. You may repeat the process if you would like.

Fry until golden brown.

Drain on paper towel and season with salt.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Framed Chalkboard

Remember how we made a dry erase board the other day with fabric, inside of a frame? Think hard. It was just a few days ago. Well, in case you forgot, this is what it looked like:

So, I got to thinking. Sometimes that can be dangerous, but in this case, it was brilliance. Well, maybe not brilliance, but it was a good idea. I thought, something needs to go on the other side of this giant wall in my kitchen. It was all feeling a little off balance. So what about a chalkboard? A chalkboard? Yes, a chalkboard. Here is a list of reasons why a chalkboard in the kitchen is a good idea:

1. Avery has a chalkboard painted on a wall in her room. Kendall loves it. Kendall is banned from the steps. This means no chalkboard. Chalkboard in kitchen equals happy Kendall.

2. Kendall thinks that dry erase markers look good on her face and clothes. Chalk cleans up a lot easier.

3.  Chalkboard paint comes in spray paint form. I know! I was amazed too! I got mine at Menard's for $3.50.

4. Between a chalkboard and dry erase board, I feel enough diversions have been created to result in optimal dinner cooking conditions.

Wanna do it too? Well, you can. All you have to do is get a inexpensive poster frame. I used the same one that I bought to make the dry erase board. Then they were all matchy matchy. You need chalkboard spray paint. This was not sold at my local Wally World. And be cautious when purchasing your paint. I saw it at Hobby Lobby and they wanted $8+ for it. And chalk. You will need chalk. I bought sidewalk chalk because it is bigger and tougher. My Wal-Mart had Crayola big packs of sidewalk chalk on sale. Score!

You will also need a helper. My helper was in charge of watching the first step and photographing the second step. She was really excited to use my camera.

Lay your plastic sheet from your frame on some cardboard. Lick the tip of a finger. Stick it in the air. Determine the wind direction. Stand upwind and spray. I bet you knew that though.

Avery took this picture. It's pretty darn good. I went back and forth over the sheet two or three times to make sure it was evenly coated. Let it dry.

After it dries, put it in the frame. It looks streaky in the picture, but in real life, it was not. How bizarre. How bizarre. How bizarre. Sorry.

Give your chalkboard a home. Look at it. It looks wet. It was not. It looks streaky, but it's not. Hmmm. Oh well. Give your kiddos some chalk and let them go.

If you don't mind chalk dust, a kitchen chalkboard is pretty amazing.

Let's break it down:

Frame: $12
Paint: $3.50
Chalk: $4

Total:, really, it is less than $20.

There you go. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for APPLESAUCE!

My kids are starting to scare me. They are eating food and a lot of it. Now, I have always kept fruits and vegetables in the house in hopes they would eat them, but usually I end up eating them all or having to toss them out once they got a little past the point of good. But now, now they eat them.

We have gone through bags of carrots. BAGS I tell you. Strawberries last a day. Oranges have no chance. But the crowd favorite has been apples. A three pound bag lasts three days. Avery eats them like candy. Kendall tries to use her little baby teefers to break through the apple, but she just doesn't have the strength yet.

With all these apples floating around, I thought to myself that making applesauce might be a fun new endeavour. I have never made homemade applesauce before, but figured it couldn't be too hard. I found a few recipes and tweaked them and adjusted them to come up with this concoction.

I started with the apples that wouldn't fit into our fruit basket. It ended up being seven apples. One of those apples was sacrificed though.

Kendall just wanted to make sure the apples were good before we went through the work of making the sauce. Avery was at school. I planned it so the applesauce was going to get done as she was coming home. Warm cinnamon applesauce after a tough day of 4K sounds like a great way to unwind to me.

Cut up your apples and put them in a saucepan.

Add some water, a little sugar, and the star of the show, cinnamon. Mix it all up. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the apples are nice and smooshy. Is smooshy a word? Well, that is what your apples will be like. Smooshy.

This is what the apples looked like about ten minutes into becoming saucy.

This was after 25 minutes. My apples were smooshy here. They really reduce down, those lovely chunks of appley goodness.

Put your mixture into a food processor or blender and turn those smooshy apples into a cinnamony sauce.

I poured mine into a mason jar that I had just floating around.

This was Kendall waiting patiently for her sauce sample to cool down.

Little Miss Independent must feed herself now. Even if her food is on a big people spoon that is not so easy to maneuver. Practice, practice little lady.

She really liked it. She dove in for more.

And more. She stood on that chair and ate spoonful after spoonful until I had to take her down to go get her sister.

When we got home, Avery ate a bowlful. That tall mason jar full of applesauce is now more than half gone, a mere 24 hours later. I think it might be finished off today. I don't know how long it can sit in the fridge, covered tightly, but I would guess probably about a week. I don't think you really need to worry about that though. It will be gone faster than that.

The recipe I made was only half of my original recipe. I wanted to do a test run before I went all out and made a full batch. I would hate to waste all of those apples if it turned out bad or my kids didn't like it. I will also half it for you in case you only want one jar full at a time.

Cinnamon Applesauce

Full Recipe

8 cups peeled, cored, and diced apples
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar

(The cinnamon is optional. The sauce will be just as good without it. Also, you can adjust the amount of sugar according to your tastes.)

Half Recipe

4 cups peeled, cored, and diced apples
3/4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8-1/4 cups sugar

Place all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Mix. Bring to a boil.

Reduce your heat to medium and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Pour the apple mixture into a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth.

Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

A Message in a Bottle

Two pumps of face lotion this morning, and I was greeted by this little bugger. I guess it's going to be a good day!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Framed and Fabric Lined Dry Erase Board

I woke up to these today. They are more of the best darn cupcakes ever. And the best darn ramekin cake ever. I can't wait to eat that when no one is around to snag any from me. That is all that is left from a dozen cupcakes made yesterday at 1:30. Don't worry. I shared. I shared a few with a friend of mine who just had a baby a week ago. She shared one with her little girl (not the new baby) and her fiancee. She is a lot nicer than I am.  Then she let me hold that cute little baby boy of hers for two and a half hours! He squeaked, he slept, he ate, he burped, and he soiled his pants. That is when I handed him straight over to his daddy.

Back to this morning. Since I wanted a cupcake but knew that it was not a suitable breakfast choice for the girls, I decided to make pancakes. I know, I know. Pancakes again. Well, to be fair, we haven't had pancakes in like, over a week. That is a record for us. We haven't had them since St. Patrick's Day to be precise.

We had some flowers. It is technically spring, even though Mother Nature apparently didn't get that memo. No complaints here though. We don't have snow in my neck of the woods.

This here is a failed attempt at Elmo. I figure it is only fair to show you what turns works and what doesn't. Elmo was a flop. I can draw a mean Elmo on paper, but not with pancake batter. FLOP!

Yesterday, Avery asked for a kitty. We are not really big kitty people here. And when I say we, in this instance I mean Eric. He is not a fan. So I decided to draw her one instead. She was tickled.

Then, later in the morning, the girls and I went to Wal-Mart. I avoid the joint as much as I can on weekends, but we went with my Mom and I wanted to get a few specific things.

We needed glitter and spray Mod Podge for a super awesome project we are doing tomorrow. It's going to be amazing and epic.

I also needed this stuff:

a poster picture frame, a piece of fabric, and glue sticks. You will also need a hot glue gun if you don't have one.

You will also need something to drink. My drink of choice today, and everyday, is an ice cold Mt. Dew in a can. I love this delicious fluorescent yellow nectar of the gods.

Sorry. We will get a room.

This is what you are going to make:

It is a framed and fabric lined dry erase board. My fabric is white with white flowers. You can't see those flowers though, even if you look really close. I chose a white background so any color marker would show up, not just black.

First, take your frame apart. Remove the film that is on the plastic. Next, take out the sheet of paper inside the frame, place it upside down on the back side of your fabric. Using a glue gun, go around the sheet, gluing the fabric on.

Put the fabric side against the plastic, put the back on, and turn it around. And if you are like me, you will have to open it back up again to remove the half dozen dog hairs that stuck to the inside of the plastic and the fabric.

Look at him lay there with his stuffed kitty. He stole that from Kendall who stole it from Avery. He carries that thing everywhere. When he takes it outside, I imagine he is sending a message to any stray cats. We had a stray cat come in our yard last summer. Koda chased it up a tree and it never came back. I keep Koda around for only a few reasons. One is to chase critters of any kind that happen to enter my backyard. The other is to put the fear of God into any intruder. He is good at that. We didn't get mail delivered one fall for an entire month because our mailman thought he was going to jump out of a two inch open screened in window and eat him. His bark is brutal. Anyway.

It is that simple. Doesn't that look way better than a standard dry erase board? I think so.
I hung mine low in my kitchen so the girls can color on it whenever they want, but especially when I am trying to make dinner.

I did a test run while the girls were napping to make sure the markers would erase. And low and behold, they do. I didn't even have to use much elbow grease. A plain towel rubbed the marker off with little effort.

This might be one of my favorite projects to date. It took ten minutes to make. It cost less than $20. I got my frame on sale at Wal-Mart for $12. I bought a pre-cut fabric square for $1.80 in Wal-Mart's craft/sewing department. The markers were $6.00.

I know it would cost less to buy a traditional dry erase board, but they are definitely not as cute.

I came across an awesome blog the other day entitled I came across an idea for this type of dry erase board from her site. Check it out. There are a lot of awesome, easy projects on there. I will definitely be trying more for sure.