Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

When I find something that I really like, no matter if it is food, a DIY trick, or a thrift shop, I like to share it with others.  That way they can enjoy it too.

I have a recipe for beef stew that has been my go to recipe for a few years now.  It is quick and easy so what's not to love?  It only takes a few ingredients and a few minutes to throw everything in the crock pot.

Enjoy!

Adapted from kraftfoods.com


1 cup beef broth
1/4 cup Light Zesty Italian Dressing
1/4 barbecue sauce
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1 lb boneless beef chuck for stew
2 cans sliced new potatoes
1-2 cans sliced carrots
1 large onion, cut into chunks (optional)
2 slices bacon, chopped (optional)
3 tbsp. flour
3 tbsp. water

Mix broth, dressing, barbecue sauce and oregano in slow cooker.  Add all remaining ingredients except flour and water; toss to coat.  Cover with lid.  Cook on low for 8 to 9 hours (or on high for 4 to 5 hours).

Transfer meat and vegetables to serving bowl with slotted spoon; cover with foil.  Set aside.

Mix flour and water until well blended.  Stir into juices in slow cooker; cover.  Cook on high for 15 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened.  Spoon over meat and vegetables.




Monday, September 15, 2014

Baby Girl Bedding

Hey friends!  We have a baby girl in the family!  We're beyond thrilled that we have our little angel with us now.  Autumn is perfect and she's so relaxed.  I'm a smitten mom and I just can't stop loving on her.

I promised I would be back with the info on the bedding I used for Autumn's crib.  With each boy we've used different bedding sets.  Finally, I have found the perfect one. 

In the past we've bought bedding sets from Target, Walmart, and Ebay.  I've never really been satisfied with the crib bumpers.  They are flimsy and as soon as baby can stand up they get stepped on and bent all funky.

So I went to etsy and I found a company that makes beautiful bedding.  Now, I will say they are a bit pricey for everything.  That's why I only purchased the crib bumper.  You can sign up for their emails or follow the company on Facebook.  They do regular 15% or 20% off sales.

The bumper is so soft and it comes with very thick padding.  It will not be easily bent when Autumn is able to stand up.

 

 
 

I purchased the sheet from Target.  It's the Circo Knit Dot Fitted Crib Sheet in pink.  I paid $9.99 for it.

Carousel Designs also sells the fabric for the bedding by the yard.  I purchased 1 yard of the same fabric that the bumper is made of to make the blanket.  The pink lace I purchased from Hobby Lobby while on sale.  The two pinks aren't exact matches but I don't care.  My mom has a friend that sewed everything together for me.  On the website Carousel Designs sells a crib blanket for $59.  For the fabric and lace I paid around $30. 

Finally, the crib skirt.  I made this myself.  I totally spaced it and forgot that I could have purchased the same silver/gray fabric that's on the bumper ties from Carousel Designs. The fabric I purchased is from Hancock Fabric.  I followed the tutorial provided by View Along The Way.  It only took me 4 days to figure this skirt out and sew it.  But I'm not a seamstress so no shocker there it took so long.

Total for everything I would guess I paid about $160-$170.  That's a pretty good savings by looking elsewhere for the individual pieces. 

This is beautiful for my beautiful little princess.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Tales From the Crib

Happy Thursday!  I hope everyone is having a great week.  Last week school started again so I only have 2 kids at home.  At least for now.  Baby girl will be here very soon! 

I thought since baby girl will be here before we know it I would share the details on the crib makeover that I finally completed. 

We bought this crib almost 7 years ago off Craigslist when I was pregnant with Levi.  Back then I had a love of cherry wood cribs and dressers.  My taste was totally different then.  After seeing this crib white I wish I would have painted this sooner.  Oh well!

Since this is our last baby I didn't want to spend a bunch of money on a new white crib so I figured I could just spray paint this for a lot less.  After 3 boys sleeping in this crib there were a lot of teeth marks, scratches, and scuffs but I didn't care.

 

I wasn't about to sand this whole thing down so I saved myself the trouble and bought 5 cans of the oil based primer.  It worked perfectly.

I sprayed all the pieces down on one side then I let them sit for a few days.  Once the side I had painted was cured I flipped the pieces over and did the same thing.  I did lightly sand down any rough spots from the primer in between coats on each side. 

I made another trip to Lowes and picked up another 5 cans of spray paint by Valspar in just plain white with a Satin finish.  Then I went back to work painting.  When everything was painted all white I sealed it off with Valspar Clear Gloss Sealer in the can.   

 
 
Overall, painting the crib took about a week.  It is not perfect but ask me if I care!  I spent around $50-$60 on all the spray paint which is cheaper than a new crib. 


I'll be back soon with the details on the bedding that I used and how I made the crib skirt.  Yeah, I busted out my sewing machine for that one.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Goodwill Rescue: Old Chair-New Life

Hey hey!  It seems it has been a while since I did any sort of post on the good ol blog.  I haven't really done any projects over the last few months due to moving and the growing monster in my stomach.  But I do have a "to do" list that I would like to get completed before baby arrives in just a few weeks. 

One of the projects that I wanted to complete was finishing up the Goodwill chair I bought last November while we were still in Wyoming.

When I saw this chair I felt like I did the slow motion run across the store to snatch it up before someone else did.  Why would someone give up such an amazing chair?  I do not know!


Back then I got busy as quickly as possible to finish the chair.  But it was already November and it was freezing or way below freezing at times which made it very difficult to complete this makeover. 

I did manage to prime the chair, take off the fabric on the cushion, and take off the fabric on the chair itself.  I went to Jo-Ann Fabrics and picked out a clearance fabric that is soft and I loved.  Then I recovered the cushion and dragged it down to the basement.

This is how it sat in the basement until we moved back to Texas in May.


Once here in Texas I pulled this chair out of our storage unit and realized there were a lot of nicks and scratches where the primer had come off from the move.  I pulled out the putty and filled in nicks and dents to make it look good again. 

I went to Lowes and bought Valspar Primer+Paint in white and got to work finishing this chair off.  After letting the paint sit for a few days then I sealed it with a clear gloss coat of spray paint also by Valspar.

Here is the beauty as of today.


I added the nailhead trim at the bottom to hold the fabric in place. 

Sidenote: doing nailhead trim just about drove me to the crazy house.  I'm too much of a perfectionist and that trim is anything but perfect.  But it works for now.  Notice I said "for now" because I'm not happy with those nails.  I discovered the nailhead trim by the yard and will eventually replace all that crookedness. 

I can officially mark this project off my list!


Thursday, February 20, 2014

How to Keep Your Fruit Fresh

Good afternoon ya'll!!  I hope it's been a great week for everyone.  Our boys will be out of school tomorrow so we will have a long weekend.  We don't have anything exciting planned since it's supposed to be super cold but they love being out of school anyway.

Today I wanted to share a product that I've been using for a while now to keep my fruit fresh.  I know it's not a great project reveal or an awesome kitchen reveal but when I find a product I like I want to share it with you. 

Levi alternates taking his lunch to school and having the school lunches.  Jax always takes his lunch to school since he doesn't have a school provided lunch option.  So back when school started last fall I did some searching around the good ol' web to find ways to keep their fruit fresh.  I came upon this product called Ball Fruit-Fresh Protector.


I don't remember the exact price but I found this at Walmart and I want to say it was no more than $3 or $4. 

The boys love apples and so I figured I would try this out and see if it would keep their apples from browning in their lunch boxes.  If it worked this would be a cheaper alternative than buying those pre packaged apple slices.  I could buy a big bag of apples along with the Fruit-Fresh and get more for my money??  Sold!!

For scientific research purposes I figured I would show you a plate of apples.  One side has the Fruit-Fresh and the other doesn't.  I let these apples sit out for 30 minutes.

Get ready for Pinterest worthy life changing pictures....

Ta-da!!!


Here is another look at the apples.



You can see that the apples without the Fruit-Fresh are brown and that's only after 30 minutes.

So you can thank me later for saving you money on fruit and your child's school lunch.

Have a great weekend!   

Friday, February 14, 2014

Teacher Valentine's Gift

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!  I hope your day has been filled with lots of love and kisses!

I know this is super late but I wanted to share what I made for teacher's gifts this year.  Maybe someone can save it for next year.  Heck, you could give this teacher's gift anytime really.  My inspiration for this came from A Night Owl.  I did a few things different so I'm sharing how I made these.



Aren't these super cute??  I just loved them plus they're really easy to make and put together if you are a procrastinator like me.

So here's what you will need:

mason jars with lids
graham cracker sticks (or Goldfish Crackers)
chocolate candy (I used m&m's and Hershey's Mini Milk Chocolate bars)
mini marshmallows
scrapbook paper
glue
string
Valentine ornaments (Mine are from Joann Fabric 60% off)

 

Once you have all the supplies you can jump right in and get started. 

Fill your jar with graham cracker sticks, marshmallows, and m&m's.  Gently shake your jar so everything is mixed up or you could do it all in layers.  I liked the mixed up look so that's what I went with.  I picked out the mini milk chocolate bars from the bag and put those on top of everything in the jar.

Trace your jar lid on the back of the scrapbook paper.  Cut out the circle(s) and glue it to the lid.  I filled my jars first then screwed the lids on.  This secured the paper and kept it from moving around.  I left them to dry overnight.

Once the lids were on I cut the string off the ornament and used a longer string to tie the ornament around the jar.

The cute tag you can find over at the blog I mentioned above.  Print that out on cardstock and cut them out.  Punch a hole in the tag and use more string to tie around the jar.

That's it!!  You're done!

I made 5 of these in about an hour.  All of the teachers loved them and thought they were so cute.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!


Thursday, January 30, 2014

It's been a while...

Well hello out there friends!  It has been a really long time since I've done an update on our Wyoming life.  I finally have the laptop at home with me and so I figured I would update the world on what's been going on.  So I'll just start from the beginning and fill you in on each one of us and how we're doing.

Matt- Matt finished up his classes for last semester and he did really well.  He was taking Chemistry 2, Medical Terminology, and Stats.  Those classes are pretty tough but Matt managed to handle it all.  Half way through the semester he finally got a job at UPS as a shift supervisor.  This job requires him to get up super early.  Like 4 am early!!  It was an adjustment and still is getting up that early and spending enough time studying without falling asleep.  This semester Matt is taking Organic Chemistry and Microbiology.  The Organic Chemistry is a self-guided class that was specially arranged just for him with the Dean of the school.  It's a long story of how that happened but I will tell you that if we had been told the truth about Organic Chemistry we would not be here in Wyoming right now!  But so far so good with the classes and work and studying.  Matt has submitted his application to 6 Physician Assistant schools across the nation.  We're nervously waiting to hear if he will get invited for interviews and then accepted to any of these schools.  Our schools of choice right now are in Mississippi, California, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and New Hampshire.  I'm really pulling for the first school in Mississippi.  Time will tell where we end up next. 

Melissa- This part is really hard for me to write.  I could sugar coat things and say how wonderful I am and I'm just having the time of my life.  But in reality that is not true.  I'm not having fun and really I'm not happy here.  There are many reasons why and I could spend a long time going over and explaining each individual reason but I don't want to bore you.  I will tell you though that I look forward to having our own space again and having all our stuff out of storage.  I try to stay busy with little projects here and there since I don't have anywhere to actually do big projects like a used too.  Sometimes when I'm up late because I can't sleep I think about my friends at home and how much I miss them.  It seems as if we're just kinda floating around right now since being here in Wyoming is only a temporary thing.  I want a place to feel like home and this just isn't home to me.  But I put on my happy face each day for my husband and children and I push through and take one day at a time.  I will say that one blessing that has come from being here in Wyoming is that I've been able to connect with my cousin.  I didn't know her before I moved here and I'm not even sure she knew I even existed.  But she plays basketball here at the college so we have very much enjoyed going to her games and seeing her play.  We love KC so much and we love having her over every Sunday for dinner.  I try to keep her well fed and give her a home cooked meal.  Let's face it college food sucks after a while!!  Her basketball season is almost over so we'll have to find something else to keep us busy and entertained.

Levi- Oh my precious Levi!  He is doing so well in school.  He loves his teacher so much and looks forward to going to school each day.  His little mind is such a sponge right now and he's just soaking up everything he learns.  Levi loves to read right now and when he gets sent to his room for timeout it's not really a timeout.  I usually find him reading.  I hope he keeps that up.  Last week he brought home his second report card and he did amazing in all areas.  I have parent-teacher conferences coming up in a few weeks so I hope it's only good things.  We didn't sign Levi up for Spring soccer which I haven't told him yet about.  If Matt is accepted to the school in Mississippi there is a huge possibility that I would have to withdraw Levi from school a few weeks early.  The classes in Mississippi start mid-May so we would have to be out of here very quickly after Matt finishes up his semester.  But hopefully wherever we land I can get him signed up for fall soccer and he can pick right up where he left off.



Jax- My hands are full with this kid!!  He is so full of energy and attitude...let me tell ya!!  He goes to Pre K 3 days a week.  He too loves his teachers and his "school friends" as he calls them.  I have started teaching him letters, numbers, and shapes because I don't think it's being taught in his preschool.  Not sure why though.  Jaxon feels so grown up and every day when I pick him up he and Levi tell each other their school day stories.  It is just the cutest thing!  I wanted to sign Jax up for soccer too since he is finally old enough but again we'll just hope for fall soccer.  When Jax isn't in school he's home with me and Colten just creating chaos.  But I wouldn't trade him for the world!



Colten- Colten is just my happy little baby.  He makes us smile and I'm so glad he's ours.  Since being here in Wyoming he's figured out how to climb over the baby gate, open doors, and climb out of his crib.  The baby gate is not even up anymore because it was pointless.  He's figured out how to pop off the door knob covers so they're pretty much pointless too.  Colten is saying many words now and so we're able to better figure out what he wants.  Every day when his brothers get home from school his face just lights up though.  That boy loves his brothers!  I hope it stays that way as he gets older.  I love that I get to have Colten to myself some days.  We play and chase each other and he just makes my heart melt.



I think that's pretty much all the latest with each of us.  Not too exciting but we're here and all alive and that is a good thing.  I miss everyone at home and I do think of you often.  I look forward to being back home this summer and seeing you all again.  Hopefully someday I can pick up my projects again and show them to you here on my blog.  After all, that's why I created this in the first place.

Have a great weekend!