Monday, January 30, 2012

Dresser Redo

Hubby and I decided we needed a new dresser. Of course we also didn't want to shell out a couple of hundred dollars for one either so we began to scour online classifieds and the thrift store. I wanted to spend about $20 dollars, but we ended up falling in love with this quality dresser for $35. It is sturdy, solid and needed a little TLC. The wood veneer was chipped on all of the sides and most of the metal handles were falling apart. I wish I had taken a "before" picture, but forgot.
After peeling away the old veneer and a lot of sanding, we added a little wood putty to cover up some blemishes and some tinted primer which you can see on the drawers above. On top of that we added a beautiful dark blue paint and then a couple of layers of wood lacquer to give it a nice clean finish. The finishing touch were these sleek little knobs and handles we found at Home Depot.
It was a lot of work and took a lot of time and I love the result. The hardest part was finding the perfect place for our new dresser to rest. Finally, we filled the bottom of our open closet with it which suites us perfectly for now, but most likely isn't permanent.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Brimmed Cap

I love this little hat. My daughter looks so grown up which reflects how I feel these days. Didn't we just come home from the hospital? I can't believe she is walking and growing teeth and communicating already! Anyway I love this hat. I crocheted it using this free pattern on Ravelry (you'll need to sign up for a free membership in order to view it). I used an off-white wool yarn and embellished with a clip-on hair pin which can be easily exchanged whenever I feel the urge. Oh and the pattern was easy. So don't feel intimidated! 

Monday, January 23, 2012

What I'm Reading

Hubby and I have gotten into reading novels out loud to each other and we recently raced through the entire Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. It was so good. The books follow the life of a teenage girl in an post-apocalyptic society who is thrown into the role as the rebel symbol against the oppressive ruling class. Parts will make you cry and parts will make you laugh. And then there are the parts that spurred long conversations about "could this really happen?"

I would recommend this book to everyone I know. Personally I even think it is appropriate for the younger crowd. Say ten year olds? But of course each parent should decide for themselves what is appropriate. I don't remember any crude language or obscene depictions although there are quite a few "heavy" parts where people get killed.

Really, the writing is beautiful and the world is intriguing and I would love to read these again.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Noodles

These noodles are so good and easy to put together. I changed up the original recipe just a little to fit my pantry.
1 lb noodles, fully cooked and drained (any kind you prefer)
In a small sauce pan brown 4 tsp minced garlic in some olive oil then add:
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. white vinegar
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. sesame seeds
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. red pepper flakes
1 lb. fully cooked frozen shrimp
12 oz. frozen broccoli
Toss the shrimp, broccoli, and sauce together in a large fry pan or wok on medium heat. Let it all simmer together until the broccoli and shrimp warm up. Toss in the noodles and heat for a few additional minutes. Serve hot.
Yields 4 servings

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Yogurt Covered Strawberries

I found this "recipe" the other day and immediately tried it out. I can't really call it a recipe because all you do is dip strawberries in yogurt and freeze them. I just wish I knew how they made theirs look so perfect. My daughter loved them and I will definitely be making them again especially because she is teething right now and these seem to help quite a bit.
 First clean your strawberries and cut the tops off.
Next dip them in yogurt (I used plain, full-fat) and place on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper. Freeze for a couple of hours and then you can transfer them to another container to keep frozen.
Enjoy :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Homemade Gnocchi

I made my own gnocchi the other day... it was SO GOOD. Also, it was easy. I made marinara sauce the day before in my slow cooker. The recipe made enough for supper plus two more portions which I froze in ziploc bags. Like I said, the gnocchi was super easy. Stir the ingredients together, roll out the dough, cut off each piece, boil for a couple of minutes. While the pasta boiled I cut a loaf of french bread in half, added some slices of butter, garlic powder, and cheese, surrounded the bread in aluminum foil, and baked in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes until the butter melted. When the pasta was cooked and drained I added the marinara sauce plus a little fresh Parmesan. Yum. If you like gnocchi, you have got to try this yourself.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Banana Muffins

I found this great banana muffin recipe on Cooking On Clover Lane. I like to make these to keep on hand for snacks to give my daughter and they are great for road trips. She loves them and I feel good giving them to her because there is very little sugar in them compared to other recipes.
3 ripe bananas (the more ripe the better)
a little less than 1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream (I usually replace this with full fat plain yogurt... works great)
1 TBS baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mix together banana, sugar, egg, and vanilla
Stir in sour cream (or yogurt)
Add dry ingredients

Scoop into muffin cups (makes 12. They will rise a lot)
Bake for 15 minutes

Friday, January 13, 2012

around the internet this week

I give you another weeks worth of surfing the web...
This has always been my mantra.
LOVE this mason jar chandelier.
How cute is this extra little detail.
Tent city. This could be so much fun.
For some reason this bib made me laugh so hard. I'll have to make one of these some day.
And finally, I love how simple and pretty these are. A must in my future home.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Jersey Knit Bracelet

I tried out a tutorial from V and Co. I love it. These bracelets are so easy and quick. I made several out of old shirts. The pink and white one were done using the 3-finger method and the black one using the 4-finger. I think this would be a great project for younger girls to try out.
 My daughter also loves them. She has been so into wearing bracelets these days. She is such a girl. :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Marathon Training

I have never been "a runner" and in 2009 when my sister asked me to train for a marathon with her I said, "yeah right". That September I watched her complete her first marathon along with my brother and his wife. It was awesome. I was so proud of them and I thought to myself that one day I would have to do one as well.
(sister-in-law, brother, sister)
That very same day in September, waiting for my siblings to cross the finish line, I talked with my oldest brother and his wife about how cool it was to accomplish running a marathon. My sister-in-law didn't think there would be much to it and was sure she could do one herself. My brother laughed at her and challenged her to complete one within the next year. Without ever having run before in her life, my sister-in-law began training and completed that very same race in September 2010 along with her husband who has always been an avid runner. I have two siblings who have not yet gone the 26.2 miles and one of them is in training to complete a marathon in May. So it is about time I jump on board. Hopefully the ability runs in my genes.
(source:: Kristi Mcmurry)
I started training December 28 after my sister-in-law concluded that it was high time I ran a marathon and drafted me up a running schedule. I hope to complete my training in time to run the May race with my brother. We will see. I am nervous already just thinking about the race. I will keep you up-to-date on how training is going and any tidbits I pick up along the way. Happy running!

Monday, January 9, 2012

What I'm Reading

After reading The Bridge of Peace, I was excited to receive another one of Cindy Woodsmall's books from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers.  After reading only one chapter, I was sorely surprised. The main character, a young Amish girl, is raped by a stranger on the side of the road. After realizing what I was reading I could not finish the rest of the novel. I know that some people enjoy reading realistic situations like this no matter how unsettling the text because it is reality and we can learn from it, but it is not the kind of thing I enjoy reading at the end of a long day when I just want to relax and put my mind at ease.

Although I did not read the remainder of the novel, I did however skim through to get the gist of the rest of the story. It seams this young girl goes through a lot of heartache and trouble as a result of her first traumatic experience. She is ostracized from her community and from those she cares most about over rumors and lies and misunderstandings. In the end, a few come to her aid, but things do not get resolved there. The Bridge of Peace is part of a trilogy so it does leave you wanting and I am sure if you enjoy this book, you would enjoy the following two.

This is not a novel I would recommend only because of the blatant imagery of rape which was too unsettling for my taste in novels. I do think that it is a well written novel following the woes of one young woman which many people could be enriched by. This just wasn't for me.
**I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

Saturday, January 7, 2012

around the internet this week

I finally decided it was time to join pinterest. And with that comes a sense of wanting to share all the cool things I have stumbled upon. Here are some of the things from this week...
25 ways to wear a scarf. Such a cool video.
Love this simple knotty tutorial.
How cool is this resort in Finland? You sleep in a glass igloo designed so that you have the perfect view of the Northern Lights.
 Hubby has promised me a table like this one day. If only "one day" were today.
And finally, I love these vases full of lemons filled with precious little white flowers. It makes me yearn for summer.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Office Chair redo

We live in a college town and one of the great things about that is you can always find free furniture on every corner. This chair I found on our front porch when the apartment upstairs was being renovated and I saved it from the trash planning to fix it up and use it at my sewing table.
To refurnish your own chair you will first want to detach the cushions in order to recover. Since my chair was made out of a slick vinyl we decided to also remove the old material before adding the new home decor weight material I bought at JoAnns for less than $5. Usually I would just recover the cushions right on top of the old material.
Now, using a staple gun attach your new pretty material to one side and then the other.
Now do a corner by folding down your material on top of each other until you get a nice crease. After finishing your first corner, you will then staple down the loose side of material coming out from the finished corner. Continue to finish off the other corners and additional loose side.
Trim off excess material and at this point we reattached a square, screen-like material that came off the original chair. You could leave yours open or add a square of fabric to make it more professional looking.
The top cushion of our chair was nontraditional and made completely from metal. So no chance of stapling fabric into place. We copied the existing system and poked our material through these metal grippers and then pushed the grippers down flat all the way around.
The bottom edge I hotglued into place and then cut out a piece of material to cover the exposed back which I simply ironed under and hotglued down.
Now check your work and get ready to spray paint.
I used a shiny cherry red from Walmart for $3.47 and covered the entire metal frame.
Once dry, all that is left is to screw the cushions into place and pat yourself on the back. A cute "new" chair for less than $10.
And my favorite part? This little detail I didn't even originally realize was back here. It is a plaque indicating that this chair used to live in the library at the local university.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sushi Night

I love sushi. Hubby supports my addiction and has one of his own. We have always talked about wanting to learn to make it ourselves, but never had the courage to until I stumbled on this post by Favorite Family Recipes.
It turned out so yummy and satisfying since we were able to do it ourselves. Here are the different rolls we have tried:

tempura mini shrimp
sesame seeds
**for this one we had the nori on the outside which creates a nice little package which is easy to pick up with chopsticks.

Thai hot chili mayonnaise
carrot slightly cooked with a little honey
mini shrimp
sesame seeds
**for this one we tempura fried the outside. Although it didn't look perfect, it tasted so good. Since doing this I have looked up how you are actually suppose to tempura fry a sushi roll and it seems like all we needed to do was dredge the whole thing in cornstarch. I'll try that next time.

jalapeno powder
cream cheese
tempura mini shrimp
sesame seeds
**for this one we tried the rice on the outside and it was nice to switch it up, but we had a hard time keeping it all together and cutting the roll. Maybe there is a secret I am missing.

Serve with soy sauce and wasabi.
Now go be bold and try it yourself! Or am I the only one scared of rolling my own sushi?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Twenty Twelve

Well it's a whole new year and I am so excited for it. I don't usually do new year's resolutions, but one thing I would like to accomplish during this next year is to train for a marathon. I may not get very far on my training, but it is nice to think about... Happy New Year!
Also, have you been to Goblin Valley? It is this whole maze of crazy rock formations which you can run wild and explore. We went with 7 kids, 2 dogs, and 8 adults and it was the perfect day.