Friday, September 30, 2011

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes Recipe
We eat a lot of tomatoes in our house, and I love this recipe for how to dress 'em up and make a nice side dish out of them, courtesy of   This looks simple enough, that even I can do it!


  • 4 tomatoes, halved horizontally
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

    1. Preheat oven to 450° F.
    2. Place tomatoes cut-side up on a baking sheet. Top with Parmesan, oregano, salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil and bake until the tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

And Then I Woke Up To Reality

Revamped Kids Play Kitchen From Old Bookshelf

Wow!  Now this is a labor of love - and what a terrific way to repurpose an old bookshelf (perhaps from a yard sale). has an amazing step-by-step tutorial on her blog for how she took an old bookshelf and a bunch of stuff from the thrift store and turned it into this way-fab kitchen.  Go HERE for all the details.  I Love It!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Little Thanks Goes A Long Ways

I think at some point every Mom wonders whether her kids will ever truly appreciate everything that we do for them.  And by appreciate I some point in the waaaaaay distance future.  Maybe when they have kids of their own.  Well I wonder if I might actually be seeing that distance on the horizon.  I keep getting little, tiny glimpses of it every now and then with my 15 year old.  Don't get me wrong - there are still LOTS and LOTS of times he takes us completely for granted.  Is incredibly self-centered.  Can't be bothered to listen to what we have to say.  But every once in a while itty bitty bits of gratitude show up.  Just when I least expect it.  (heck, maybe he's just trying to throw me off my game!).
Every morning I get up before the crack of dawn to make breakfast, pack lunch & prepare a water cooler bottle for Sam.  I then wake him up, wait for him to get ready, then take him to marching band practice while it's still dark outside.  Most days I don't complain.  I really don't mind it too much - and it's a good time for me to have quiet conversation with him on the ride (before he has time to get all the teen angst goin').  Yesterday when I dropped him off, he just casually threw out a "Thanks for doin' this every day, Mom."  Then he slammed the car door and was off before I even had a chance to recover and verify that I had indeed heard what I THOUGHT I heard.  This was no mere, off-the-cuff "thanks."  This was a verbatim "Thanks for doin' this every day, Mom."  And at that point I thought, oh my goodness.....he actually gets it.  He actually realizes that I'm going out of my way every day to do stuff like this for him.  It was nothing, really....but really something (if you know what I mean).

Custom Cosmetics Bags - CHEAP!! is running the CHEAP custom cosmetics bags promo again!  I am SO excited, because I ordered some last go-around, and was so impressed when they came.  They turned out AMAZING - high quality, vibrant colors, really nice.  The bags are typically $7.99-$13.99, but now they're priced 2/$6.  After your first two, any additional are only $2.50 each.  That is a steal!  And did I happen to mention that shipping is FREE?  Go HERE to get to the ArtsCow site.  Then do a search for Cosmetic Bags.  You may order as many as you want at this price.  Once you've finished creating your bags, enter the promo code COSBG250 at checkout.  This coupon code is good thru 10/21/11.
Yep, I know these are called cosmetic bags.  I ordered a bunch of 'em last time and they are NOT being used to store cosmetics.  There are 4 sizes to choose from (Small on up to XL).  One is being used for a coin purse.  One is used to carry toiletries when my teen packs for band trips, one is holding school supplies....the possibilities are endless.
I didn't just use family photos, either.  Nope, I got on the internet and searched for all my family's favorite celebs and added those high-res photos.  They printed beautifully.  We've got Justin Beiber bags, WWE Wrestling bags, Pokemon bags.  Bags with our pets on 'em.  They're all adorable.  Some will be Xmas and Birthday presents, and I guarantee you the recipients will LOVE them!  Get creative and have fun!  You'll be really glad you did!  Promise. Weekly Promo Offer 300 X 200

Marshmallows = Happiness

photo credit

Pretzel M&M Oatmeal Cookies

Wowzers!  These cookies look like they have everything but the kitchen sink thrown in there, but I am guessing they're pretty amazing to eat.  Here's the recipe, courtesy of
Makes 31/2 dozen cookies | Preparation: Line bake sheet with parchment. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 11/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ cup flour
  • 1 ½ cup oats, quick cooking
  • 1 9.90oz Bag of M&M Pretzel
1. Melt and heat butter until it is brown and nutty. Set aside to cool slightly. 
2. Place softened cream cheese, egg, sugar, dark brown sugar, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on medium until mixture is fully combined and shiny, about 1-2 minutes. Add browned butter and mix to combine. Turn off mixer. 
3. Place flour and quick cooking oats in a bowl and whisk to combine. Use a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon to fold flour mixture into wet mixture and mix to combine. 
4. Using a meat tenderizer crush M&M Pretzel in a plastic bag and add to cookie dough and fold to combine. 
5. Scoop one heaping tablespoon of cookie dough onto parchment lined baked sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until bottoms of cookies are golden brown. 
 Cookies will keep 2-3 days in a tightly sealed container.

Cupcake Ice Cream Cones

This idea is sheer brilliance.  For birthday or school parties you could pre-bake the cupcake cones, and then put frosting in individual baggies for the kids to decorate themselves.  Snip off the end, let them frost & add sprinkles - they'll LOVE IT!  For great ideas on how to transport these safely, and how to keep them from getting soggy, go HERE and scroll thru the comments section.  Thanks for this fantastic idea!


1 package dry cake mix (any flavor)
24 cake cup ice cream cones
water, oil and eggs per cake mix directions on box

Preheat oven to 350F.Mix cake mix per directions on box. If using a white cake mix, divide mix into four separate mixing bowls and use food coloring to make different ice cream "flavors".
Place ice cream cones in muffin pan and fill about 1/2 to 3/4 full.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until done.
Cool on a wire rack. Let cool completely if frosting.
Makes 18 to 24 cupcakes

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I'm Above It All - Oops, No I'm Not!

Did you get sucked into the whole Casey Anthony murder trial?  I SWORE I wouldn't.  I was certainly not going to participate in the circus that went with that trial.  I was WAAAAY too busy for all that.  And then I "accidentally" caught a few minutes of it while channel surfing.  Woops - that's all it took!  I was in.  Totally and completely.  I spent every day watching testimony, nodding my head along to all the analyst comments, glued to my set.  I was in the grocery store when my husband (who was aware of my addiction) called me to tell me they were 20 minutes away from reading the verdict.  Lemme tell ya - I freakin' shopped sooooo fast, and sped home just in time to be devastated by the verdict.  I'm just now gettin' over it.
So when my Mom asked me this morning if I was going to watch the Dr. Conrad Murray trial, I was almost indignant.  Heck, no.  I will NOT be watching that.  I will absolutely NOT participate in that - not doing it.  No way.  No how.  I'm ashamed to admit that I actually looked thru my DirecTV guide after I hung up and searched for In Session.  (Maybe just a tiny peek would be OK).  Totally relieved to find out that I don't get that channel anymore - I recently downgraded our account, and that channel went ba-bye.  Yay!  Issue solved.  Can't watch it, even if I wanted to.
So I turned on CNN.  See, I like to be "up" on current events.  I'm a good American.  I wanna know what's going on around the country.....well, apparently the ONLY thing going on in the world TODAY is (you guessed it) the Dr. Conrad Murray trial.  Frick!  Apparently they've decided to do wall-to-wall coverage all stinkin' day.  Seriously, they're playing audio tape of a ridiculously drugged up Michael Jackson muttering all manner of weirdness.  Did any of you hear that gigantic "wooshing" sound around 12:30 today?  Yeah, that was me being sucked in to the trial!  :(
Totally different subject, but I will not be updating the blog tomorrow morning.  Maybe not all day. I have an appointment to get an EGD scope done in the morning to find out why my reflux is so bad.  They're gonna put me to sleep and snake a little camera down my mouth and look at my throat and stomach.  Sounds like fun, right?  Here's hopin' they don't use Propofol!

Upcycled Messenger Bag

I want one!  Look how cute this is.  Noodlehead has done it again - giving you a new use for those old cargo pants that don't fit anymore.  As always, there is a complete step-by-step tutorial for how to turn your old cargo pants into a fun messenger bag, complete with photos every step of the way.  Go HERE for the tutorial.  I love the idea of taking something that you're ready to throw out and finding a new purpose for it.  I know of some nieces who would totally LOVE this!  Tim, time to bust out the sewing machine!  :)

That's All Anyone Can Ask

How To Freeze Soup

If you're like me, when I make homemade chicken noodle soup I make a HUGE batch.  Even after several meals of it, we still have leftovers and inevitable end up tossing it at the end of the week (what a waste!).  I stumbled up The Mommy In Charge website and she's got a recipe for chicken noodle soup that toddlers will like (not too many spices).  What really caught my eye, though, was the fact that she FROZE the soup in a muffin tin, then popped em into ziploc bags and returned to the freezer.  Whenever anyone wanted fresh soup, you just grab a few "tins", thrown 'em in a bowl and microwave.  Voila!  Fresh homemade chicken noodle soup whenever you want it!  Sheer brilliance, and I'm feeling pretty dang stupid for not coming up with this myself.  Thanks The Mommy In Charge!  I will definitely be doing this next time I make soup!

New House Party Hosting Opportunity

Host a Shutterfly Holiday Card House Party
ANOTHER House Party hosting opportunity.  I apply for them all, and get selected lots of times.  It's awesome!  Here's the scoop on this one:  The holidays are right around the corner. Get started on choosing your family photo and browse holiday cards while socializing with friends, co-workers and family. Shop the new 2011 Shutterfly collection of exclusive holiday card designs that are certain to bring smiles to everyone on your holiday card list.  Go HERE to apply.
You'll love your exclusive Party Pack, which will contain:
  • Promo codes to redeem 1 set of 15 free premium Shutterfly holiday cards for you and your guests
  • Promo codes to redeem 1 free Shutterfly photo calendar for you and your guests
  • Holiday card holder
  • Shutterfly photo holiday cards samples
  • And more!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Things I Am Grateful For Today

  • A delicious smelling pot roast cooking in the crock pot.  (Why don't I do this more often?)
  • A laundry room.  Every time I start complaining about the mounds of laundry I do every week (especially after a stomach virus has wiped out 1/2 the family), I remind myself that there are many people who would kill to have a room in their house devoted solely to washing clothes, I don't have to go to the laundromat with a stack of quarters, and I have lovely children who are creating those huge piles of clothes!
  • My husband, who takes on an awful lot of pressure being the sole provider to our household of mass consumers.  I know there are times he wishes he had more freedom and less pressure.  Yet he continues to support our mutual decision to keep me home full time.  Yay, Tim!
  • Friends like Kelly, who upon hearing that I was sick wanted to know whether I had anyone to take care of ME, and did I need anything!  Something only a fellow mom would understand.  Thanks, Kelly!
  • Chocolate covered pretzels - need I say more?!

Mark Your Calendar!

What's better than a Chicken Fajita Taco? A free one.
Last week we had National Guacamole Day - next week we've got National Taco Day!  Me thinks we must have some "special" day for every day on the calender, but I'm not complaining as long as it keeps translating into FREE FOOD for me!  Mark your calendar - on October 4th from 5-8PM Taco Cabana will be handing out a FREE Chicken Fajita Taco to all who ask.  One taco per person.

Got A Nickelodeon Fan In The House?

SpongeBob SquarePants: Bubble Ride Nickelodeon Collection
Tiny Prints has some really cute invitations, cards and thank you notes with favorite Nickelodeon characters on them.  Go HERE to check 'em out - especially if you've got a birthday party coming up!  There are lots to choose from, including Dora, Spongebob, Diego, Backyardigans and Wonder Pets.  CUTE! Weekly Promo Offer 400 X 200

Does This Ever Happen To You?

How To Remove Watermarks From Wood

mayo trick
Seriously, who knew!  Apparently Centsational Girl did.  Check out her site HERE.  She has this amazing tip on her website, and if you're like could use this from time to time.  I've got a nightstand with a water mark on it, and I'm going to see if this works (just as soon as I get some mayo from the store!).  To remove a watermark from wood, simply apply a coat of mayo to the watermark and let it sit for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight).  Wipe it clean the next day and there should be not trace of the watermark.

Feeling Lucky?

enter for a chance to win FREE SHOES for LIFE (you're gonna need a bigger closet!)
Famous Footwear is giving away Free Shoes For Life.  You can go HERE to enter.  It's a very short form, and will only take a moment.  And hey - you can't win if you don't enter, right?  Shoes For Life is awarded in the form of one $400 gift card per year for 50 years.  (sounds great, huh?)  Sweepstakes ends 10/29/11.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Custom Crossword Puzzles & Word Searches

Wordsearch Puzzle Generator
I LOVE this site!  Armored Penguin will enable you to create custom crossword puzzles and word searches for FREE.  This is a fun idea for birthday parties, school parties (customized for the classroom/teacher) or your next family get-together.  You type in words and clues and it generates a puzzle and answer key.  Did I mention it's all FREE?  Lots of fun!

Monster Sandwich

Be Amazing Today

You're Amazing

Toilet Paper Roll Bird Feeder

We have two cats who LOVE to sit on their little window perches and watch the birdies torment them outside the window.  This is a great way to 1) give the kids something to do, and 2) give the cats plenty of birds to watch.  As with most great ideas, it's super simple:
  • Grab an empty toilet paper or paper towel roll.
  • Spread peanut butter all over it (the kids will have a ball doing this, trust me!)
  • Roll it in bird seed.  You might want to pat the seeds down a little just to make sure they stick.
  • Hang your seeded tube on tree branches, and wait for your first customer.
You can also do this with pine cones.  Just use string to tie them onto the branches!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

This Goes Without Saying

Pineapple Strawberry Limeade

I want a glass right now! has this great recipe on their website, and it looks so yummy.  


  • 1 12-ounce can frozen pineapple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 6-ounce can frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
  • 4 cups cold water * 1 liter club soda, chilled
  • Ice cubes
  • Fresh strawberries (optional)
  • Short (6-inch) wooden skewers
  • Assorted fruits such as halved orange slices, halved lime slices, orange sections, raspberries, strawberries, sliced kiwifruit, and mint sprigs


In a large pitcher combine pineapple juice concentrate, limeade, and water. Chill for at least 30 minutes. To serve, transfer fruit juice mixture to pitchers; add club soda, ice cubes, and fresh strawberries.
Serve with Fruit Swizzle Sticks, if desired.
Makes 14 (6-ounce) servings.
Fruit Swizzle Sticks: On short (6-inch) wooden skewers, thread assorted fruits and mint sprigs. Make-Ahead Tip: Up to 24 hours ahead, prepare the juice mixture and chill well.

Yep, Sounds Familiar

Ugh, Have We Got Cooties!

Sorry for the very late posts today.  We are a house filled with cooties, apparently.  I can tell that school is back in session - 'cuz we're all sick!  In the last month:
  • Sam has had a cold
  • AJ broke his wrist and we found out this morning that he has a sinus infection
  • Zach missed three days of school this week with vomiting and diarhea
  • Yesterday I had vomiting and still feel puny today
Heck, even big ol' Alice must have caught something because she vomited two days ago.  I can tell that I'm really sick, because I just got back from grocery shopping and
1) Did all my shopping in one place (this NEVER happens)
2) Did not use ANY coupons.  Not one!

Here's what this little shopping trip has taught me first and foremost.....couponing save me a buttload of money!  I didn't buy that much, and my total was over $168.  I was so sick and ready to get out of there and come home to lay down, I didn't even care.  Yeah.  I'm sick.
At this point I'm thinking that instead of donating a full case of Lysol to the elementary school I should have kept some for myself and completely fumigated this place!  Here's hoping (and praying) that we can have a quiet weekend and get everybody healthy again.  'Cuz this stinks.  :(

Playdough-Filled Balloons

I don't know about you, but dinner time is the witching hour at our house.  If the wheels are going to come off at anytime during the day, it will be while I'm trying to get dinner on the table.  I came across this beauty of an idea earlier in the week and it struck me as a great way to short-circuit that dreaded witching hour before it even starts.  Jessie over at Play Create Explore has this great craft on her website using items you likely already have around the house.  All you need is playdough, balloons and Sharpies. You really don't even HAVE to use the Sharpie, you could just leave 'em blank but I know my kids will want to "personalize" theirs. Here's all you do:
  1. Roll your playdough out in a snake shape.
  2. Have your "helper" stretch out the balloon opening as far as it will go, while you stuff the playdough in.
  3. Make sure to squeeze out all the air bubbles.
  4. Tie off your balloon.
  5. Personalize with Sharpies.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Recycled Reusable Sandwich Bags

I LOVE THIS!  I am not a sewer, but my hubby is and I'm sure he could whip up a bunch of these over the weekend!  What a cute idea courtesy of Noodlehead.  She has an entire step-by-step tutorial complete with pics so you can't mess up.  Gotta love that!  This is a super creative way to repurpose old pants (maybe bought from Thrift City or yard sales?), and keep all those doggone Ziploc bags out of our landfills.  Go to the Noodlehead website HERE for all the details!

Turning School Glue Into Paint

You have NO idea how many bottles of Elmers Glue I have in my School Supply Closet.  When it goes on sale before school starts - like when I can get a bottle for a nickle - I totally stock up!  I am set for glue for quite some time.  This is a great use for glue other than sticking things together!  I never would have thought to paint with the stuff.  Almost Unschoolers had the brilliant idea to add a few drops of food coloring and turn standard Elmer's Glue into puffy paint.  LOVE IT!  Go to her site HERE for complete instructions.  I will definitely be doing this!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Know A Baseball Fan?

If you have a baseball fan on your Christmas list, you might want to head to Ben's Outlet and check out this Jackie Robinson Limited Edition Souvenir Sheet.  It was priced at $49.99 but is slashed to $4.99 today only.  Did I mention shipping is FREE?
Here are the details:
This display-ready collector's edition binder includes two pieces of classic sports memorabilia commemorating Jackie Robinson, the Brooklyn Dodgers' beloved Hall of Fame second base baseman and the courageous Civil Rights icon who broke baseball's color barrier.
Tucked in the binder’s right leaf is a 23-karat gold souvenir slip, framing a replica 30 dollar stamp with Robinson’s likeness from the islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Embossed on the gold slip are relief depictions of Brooklyn’s Ebbet’s Field, the MLB logo, Robinson in various positions of game play, and his retired number 42. Issued for the 50th anniversary of his breaking the color barrier.
Facing it on the left side is a souvenir slip featuring a 2 dollar Jackie Robinson postage stamp from St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It is stamped with the words “First day of Issue”, “Baseball Hall of Fame Induction”, and the date.
Package Includes:
  • 23Kt gold souvenir sheet with likeness of 30 dollar Jackie Robinson stamp from St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • First-day-of-issue souvenir sheet with 2 dollar Jackie Robinson stamp from St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Comes with hand-numbered certificate of authenticity
  • Includes display binder
  • Mint condition

An Excuse To Not Clean House

Pepperoni Rollups

I found this great (and super easy!) recipe over at Dinner With The Donnells.  Since it's a rainy, dreary day (hallelujah!), I'm thinkin' these little babies would be perfect for when my 3 boys come home from school absolutely STARVING.  I love that the ingredients are something I typically have around the house anyway.  Here's the recipe courtesy of Dinner With The Donnells!
Pepperoni Roll Ups
Crescent Rolls
String Cheese
Ranch/Marinara Sauce
(You can make as many or as few as you like.)
Separate the crescent rolls into triangles. Place 4-5 pepperonis on each triangle and top with half a string cheese. Roll up and bring up sides to seal.

Bake according to directions on crescent roll package.
I always serve these with a side of ranch and marinara and they promptly get gobbled up. Enjoy! :)

Cuteness Overload

Fabric Scraps Mosaic

Jo James over at Cart Before The Horse has come up with a lovely way to use up old fabric scraps you may have lying around.  She's made this fun fabric mosaic to hang on the wall.  I'm thinking waaaaaay outside the box here and guessing that my little guys would be all over this.  We don't have old fabric scraps, but I'm thinkin' it wouldn't be too expensive to go buy some leftovers from the fabric store, or something off the clearance racks.  Heck, I could probably go thru their closets right now and find enough stained play clothes to cut up that they could have fun for hours.  All you need is fabric cut into little square & rectangles, a glue stick, and something to stick 'em to.  I'll probably just use cardboard!  Looks like a fun rainy day project.  Thanks, Jo!

99 Cent Cone At Baskin Robbins

Baskin Robins
Today's RedPlum Dash For Deals coupon is for a 99 cent cone with the purchase of any other.  Go HERE to print your coupon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Things Overheard In The Park House Recently

  • "When I'm a grown up and I get to wrestle John Cena, I think I'm gonna let him win.  You know - take it easy on him."
  • "What's for dinner?" (overhead 50 gajillion times - no exaggeration)
  • "Curse you Mario, and your stupid brother Luigi too!"
  • "Can I go get the mail in my underwear?"
  • "Mom, I have the perfect costume for Halloween!  I'm gonna dress like the Undertaker from WWE, but hold a bunch of tightie whities in my hands and be the UndieTaker - get it?"
  • "Take my bra off your head and go do your homework!" (seriously, what's up with THAT?!)
  • "Will you go get Jack-Zilla for me?  I need a snuggle."
  • "How come we never take the cats for a walk?  Why do the dogs get all the fun..."
  • "If our smoke detectors were going off and you were posting on your blog would you even leave?" (they HATE the blog - can you tell?)
  • "I want to join the choir.  Does that mean I'll have to sing a lot?"

What The What?!

photo credit

Ideas To Maximize Your Budget At Tom Thumb

I freely admit that I was a Kroger girl before this whole couponing thing blew up.  Now that they've stopped doubling & tripling coupons....not so much so.  I'm just a little bit hacked off at them.  I resent that instead of effectively dealing with the few "extreme" couponers who take advantage of the system and clear shelves, they took the blanket approach and just cut us all off.  Nope, I'm NOT a happy camper.  Sooooooo....I am taking my grocery money elsewhere.  At least for a while.  Maybe they'll come up with some amazing prices that I can only get there and then I'll go crawling back.  But for now, I'm punishing them.  :)
Which brings me to Tom Thumb.  Now, I'm not a HUGE Tom Thumb fan because I think that a lot of their prices are inflated, and there is that pesky little issue that they will only double/triple ONE coupon for the same item.  Others are taken at face value.  That makes it a little trickier, but I sorta take that as a challenge!  Here is how I am maximizing my savings at "The Thumb":

  • Fill all my prescriptions at their pharmacy.  For every 2 prescriptions filled I get a 10 cents per gallon discount on gas.  Between the five of us, we fill a number of "scripts" every month, so this adds up surprisingly quick.
  • Sort thru their flyer and buy what they already have discounted with their Tom Thumb coupons, then stack a manufacturer coupon on top of that.  You can save all sorts of bucks doing this.
  • Get a flu shot.  Yes, you should do this every year anyway.  But if you do it at Tom Thumb, they'll give you a coupon for 10% off your grocery bill.  If you spend $100, that's a $10 savings.  Not too shabby for something you should do anyway.
  • Buy gift cards there.  Now thru October 19th you will earn 4X the gas reward points.  No, you cannot buy Tom Thumb gift cards and totally take advantage of this.  They were smart enough to exclude those.  Good thought, though!

Kid's Clubhouse

Country Living has a super-easy way to make a kids clubhouse for any table.  I love that you can simply roll the shades back up when not in use!  Who'da thunk it?! 
1. Working with a square or rectangular dining table, measure the distance between the insides of the legs on all four sides, and purchase four roller shades in corresponding widths. 

2. Measure the height of your table from the floor to just under the table's apron. Unfurl four roller shades on a clean work surface, and measure and mark this height from the bottom of each shade. 

3. Using the photo below as inspiration, pencil a playful hideout scene freehand on the unrolled shade, making sure to stay within the marked area. Trace over your drawing with a fine-tip Sharpie. 

4. Turn your table upside down and, following package directions, install bracket hardware. Make sure that the side featuring your artwork will face outward when pulled down, and leave enough space to accommodate the thickness of the shade when it's rolled up.

Country Living  has all sorts of good stuff on their website.  You might want to check it out and snoop around a little.  Let me know what you find that's fun!

Homemade Drain Cleaner

How many times has this happened to you - your sink gets clogged and you have no Drano in the house.  Cheryl over at Tidy Mom has a great homemade drain cleaner made with stuff you likely already have around the house.  Here are her directions for how to unclog a drain with baking soda and vinegar:

Unclog a drain with Baking Soda and Vinegar

  1. Pour 3/4-1 cup of baking soda in the drain.
  2. Pour 1/2 cup vinegar in the drain and immediately cover the drain (I use a plug or set a plate over it – you want to keep everything inside the drain)
  3. Leave everything to sit and work for about 30 mins (don’t use the sink during this time)
  4. After 30 mins, remove the cover and let hot water run thru the pipes for about 2-3 mins.
  5. For really tough clogs you may need to repeat – but I find if I do this on a regular basis (about once a month) it keeps my drains clear and fresh with out any problems.
Better for your pocketbook, and better for the environment - love it, Cheryl!

Nyan Cat Cake

funny food photos - Nyan Cake
Only way to make this better - use an actual strawberry poptart for the body.  When I posted this, my 6 year old asked if I'd make him this today.  Sure, I'll get right on that!  :)