Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mason Jar Soap Dispensors

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I love these mason jar soap dispensers! I wanted one from first sight. I however didn't wanna pay the price for just the lid. So I did what any self respecting crafter would do, I made my own.
I grabbed a mason jar and started to cut a hole in the top. Not a tough job but I needed a wide one and wanted to limit the number of sharp edges.  Needle nosed pliers worked great to widen and smooth out the hole.
I had a bottle of Bath and Body works foaming kitchen soap to use. The top was great for a smooth finish. I just super glued the rim of the pump to the flat lid.
Add a little silicone to help seal the pump and the rough edges. Hot glue works well too. Make sure to let this dry completely.
Add a bit of paint for the finish of your choice. I would have preferred a hammered nickle finish but of course couldn't find that spray can (until I finished the project!) hidden at the back of the shelf. 
Black would have to do for now.
I tried a matte gold too. Not bad but I like the black or hammered nickle better.
I love them. And they work great. I'm putting this on my Christmas gift list. I am shooting for a homemade Christmas this year. Dear family, you'd better get your wishes in when you can!
Love, Love, LOVE it! It looks amazing on my sink.
Linking up:
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Keeping It Simple

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Lego Table

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When I saw this I knew I needed to do it.
Big brothers tend to have issues with little brothers wrecking their Lego masterpieces.
Now little brother can join in with his own creation that is just his size.
And hopefully it will help to corral the Legos to one corner of the living room.
I got the table from a yard sale for $3! 
I might have a bit of a problem finding the Lego pieces...lol
This is only a small, a very small portion of our Lego's.
This is after all, a house of BOYS!
Big brother was none to thrilled with mom gluing his Lego bases on a table but amazing things happened...ALL the boys, big ones included, loved this little table.
And here's a sneak peek at the beginnings of another Lego masterpiece. They build all around it and even take turns using it. I don't know how much better the Lego's are contained but little man is happy.
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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Picture Clocks

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I love this. I have something for clocks, we have several but I'm sure I could find a spot for this one too. Or better yet, add it to the homemade gifts list.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Halloween treats and Stocking stuffers

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These are great fun for Halloween.

Wrapped rolled coins for stocking stuffers. This is great for my boys!! They are wanting their own money to spend more and more.
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This weeks menu 8/21

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I planned this at the beginning of the week but never got a chance to finish posting it. With school starting I find my evenings jam packed with dinner, homework, scouts, and work. And we've only been in for 2 days! Hopefully we will get the evening routine smoothed out. Mornings are not a problem for us, it's the evening. We wake early enough to have spare time in the morning but there is only so much to cram into the evening hours.

BBQ Chicken
Cabbage rolls
Burrito Casserole
Beef Stroganoff
Chicken Nachos

I want to make oven fried chicken for Dear hubby for lunch, anyone have a great tried and true recipe. I know it's simple but I have never made it. Please share if you have a great recipe. Dear hubby could use a smile in the middle of a rough day.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Back to school!

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We've had an amazing summer! Lots of fun. Lots of outings. Lots of projects. But all good things must come to an end.
Today was officially the end of summer vacation.
The boys were all so excited to return to school. We are a bunch of nerds. Yeah, we admit it. We love reading, computers, science and math (well, except mom and math, we don't mix). All nerds are cool (eventually) so back to school is a great time at our house. The boys get excited to meet their teachers, friends and new classmates. School shopping is a breeze with boys. Just t-shirts and jeans. It makes for a low stress event. I even planned to make a special breakfast and all they wanted was cereal- ok, works for me!
 The only exception would be little brother who is left home alone. He was really mad when he couldn't go to school with the big kids. Never fear my dear, pre-school is tomorrow morning! Ahh, 2 hours without children, what's a mom to do? Hmmm, shall I start at the top or bottom of my wish list! hehehehe
This year I feel more at home at the school. I know the teachers and most importantly the secretaries. Plus I am able to be more involved in PTA. We hope to make an even bigger impact for the kids this year!
Add all this to the feel of fall in the air, harvest decor plans, baking, warm soups, homemade gift giving.....Ahhh, great things are happening.
Yep, it's an exciting time all right!

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Americana Porch Decor.....

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I have been working to finish some projects. You know, all the great ideas you start but never get a chance to finish. This is one of my projects that I wanted to finish for the 4th of July but will get to enjoy it for Labor Day.
I used some leftover bead board to paint my stripes. After taping off I painted the blue square. Then I used my cricuit to cut a star template. I didn't get all 13 stars on but still love how it turned out. When I finished painting I added a brown glaze to antique it. Now I can't decide whether to hang it or let it stand in the corner by my front door.
I think I will ponder it until Memorial day. Soon I will be redoing my porch decor and putting fall up. Horray! I love the fall colors. Fall baking. Cool nights and warm days. Spicey apple scents. Yep, fall is my favorite season. Just before my favorite holiday- Christmas!

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Best part of Gardening!

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Can you guess what I may be up to this week?
I pulled a couple to beets to see how they were doing. I knew we were close to harvest time.
I was hoping to wait until Monday to weed the garden and pick beans but I realized they wouldn't last so I got dear hubby to help. Of course he took to the harvesting part like a pro. He said "this is the best part of gardening" while he picked the beans and peas. In the meantime, I am pulling all the weeds. That's ok. It's all good! I love company when I am working in the garden and the weeds aren't too bad to pull from our sandy soil.
This week I will be canning beats. We stopped at Cal Ranch and picked up a camp stove. Now I can go out back and cook without heating up the house. My power bill will thank us as well.
This weeks Bountiful Basket was great. We miss the apples but I suspect they are coming soon. 
This week we get to enjoy:
5 bananas
1 bag of grapes
1 lb strawberries
5 plums 
2 mangos
1 canteloup
2 red peppers
3 tomatoes
3 roma tomatoes
3 onions
6 ears of corn
2 heads of romain lettuce.
All this for just $16.50! It really is the best way to get some great produce in the house. We eat so much more fresh stuff with this. Can't beat that in the store. YUMMY!

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

This weeks menu 8/14 & Cafe Rio Dressing!

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We will be visiting family this weekend so our menu is short but I have a couple of recipes to entice you this week....
First, at Casa del Johnson's you can join us for......

Now for a recipe to make your friends drool. I love Cafe Rio's pork salad but the dressing is half the delight. I have the recipe for the pork but didn't realize that I had the recipe for the dressing too. Thank you to my Relief Society friends in Idaho. The put together a small recipe book to give as birthday gifts last year. We moved before my birthday came up but I had been looking forward to this treasure. Ward cook books are some of the best! I begged a copy and they had sympathy on this country gal. I often forget it sitting in the top of my cupboard but always pull it out when I'm in need of inspiration. I was delighted to find this recipe. I hope you enjoy it as well!

Cafe Rio Cilantro Ranch Dressing
1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
3 Tbs salsa verde
1/2 tsp tabasco sauce
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
2-3 small cloves garlic
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup sour cream
grated lime peel and juice from one lime
buttermilk to thin to correct consistency
Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Serve with Cafe Rio Sweet Pork.
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Thursday, August 11, 2011

A skirt and some bling...

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My friend and I made this artwork for her daughters room. I showed you here but thought I would get a close up. I still love how her room looks!
I love how the bling gives it just a bit of sparkle! It is just FUN.
A while ago I started making a skirt but somewhere along the line I didn't measure right and it became clear it would not fit. DANG IT! What to do. I had splurged on nice suede-like fabric. I was thrilled to find it would fit my dear friend. I love making things for others. It makes me smile to see someone fall in love with a homemade gift!
She loved it. Just add a blouse and nice pair of boots!
Happy Birthday Friend!

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bento style lunches

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My dear hubby works 10 hour shifts out on the Utah desert. He doesn't get an official lunch break but rather eats on the run. He doesn't like anything salty to make him retain water. He needs only finger foods and prefers high moisture content foods, like grapes and watermelon.
I asked him for requests and he said, fruit and vegis are nice...(yep, we always have those thanks to Bountiful Baskets)...string cheese (uhmm, yeah, I buy this ALL THE TIME! But 4 boys tend to devour string cheese)...and sandwich alternatives.
He gets really tired of sandwiches, understandably, but I'm not sure what else can be eaten on the run.
I managed to get my brain engaged on the topic at 2am (I was working that night) and came up with an idea.
I thought on the Bento box idea from Japan. If I could get a divided container and fill it with finger foods, he could just grab it and go.....
hmmm, on to something there. So I stopped by the store on the way home. They had divided ziplock containers. I picked up 6. 
Then I presented my idea to dear hubby. 
He LOVED it. He wouldn't have to fix his lunch at 0530 am! 
We made a list of what we had in the fridge to fill his lunch and shopped for what was missing.
I filled the main compartment with an entree, added a fruit and a vegi to the smaller slots. I left any condiments off, hubby has a stash at work that he can just add when he is ready to eat. This meant I could make the meals ahead of time without fear of them going soggy. 
I made a list of 'extras' he can add for a treat or something more. 
I just put it in the cupboard next to the menu so he can just look at the list and grab what he wants.
Hopefully, this will make his mornings easier and give a bit of variety to his meals.
Here are the ideas I had:
Entree: BLT wrap, meat and cheese slices, deli style sandwiches, PB&J sandwich (his request), chicken strips....

Vegis: carrot sticks, celery and PB, tomatoes, cucumber slices,

Fruit: grapes, strawberries, plum, peaches, applesauce

Extras placed in snack size bags ready to grab: frozen candy bar, raw almonds, string cheese,  yogurt covered raisins, frozen gogurts, cookies.

Hubby was excited to have all this ready made. 
I am wondering about something similar for school lunches???

Sharing here:
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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hot mom HOT!!

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Our back yard faces west which makes it extremely hot in the afternoon. We have planted some trees and plan to build a covered deck next summer but until the trees grow and the deck is built it is hot Hot HOT!

We put a screen door on the back door earlier this summer, which I love. I don't have to worry so much about yelling, "Shut the door".

Even with all this we still have a problem. The back door gets too hot for the kids to close leaving the sun to poor in during the afternoon hours. Mr. M was telling me "hot mom! HOT!"
I didn't want them to get burned so this is what I came up with.....
I used cow magnets to hook the towel over the hot door. Cow magnets are really strong. Farmers use them to prevent sharp objects from going through a cows digestive track and tearing things up. You can get them from Cal Ranch or any other farming and ranching store. I love that they hold lots of papers or thick fluffy towels.
The towel gets warm but now I don't have to worry about little shoulders and arms touching the door and getting burned. It is just a temporary fix for the rest of the summer that didn't cost me a thing!
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Monday, August 8, 2011


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A couple of weeks ago I noticed a hummingbird zoom around the back yard. I was thrilled! I love to watch these amazing little birds. We had some nectar but our feeder got broken in the move last year. My next trip to the store included picking up a new feeder. We filled it up and stuck it to the window where we could watch.
and wait.....
This morning I caught it slipping in for a sip. By the time I got my camera it had already zipped away. I thought I would be sneeky and keep the camera close but with 4 boys around I've not yet caught the little bird. I am hoping to have more start hanging around. Next year this will, hopefully, be full of flower blossoms waiting to have the nectar stolen.
If I fill the birds up maybe they will help to pollinate my fruit trees. Hummingbirds are like bees that way. They just have an added benefit of being beautiful to watch!
Keep coming little birdy!
We look forward to your company!
So share what your favorite Hummingbird and Butterfly attracting flowers are. I still have room for more perennials!
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This week menu 8/7/11

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I enjoyed a lovely birthday of relaxing and visiting with friends yesterday. My request was to not cook and not do dishes. I am proud to say my house of boys delivered! Dad cooked and all the boys pitched in to clean up.
I had planned the menu already so here you go. Hope this helps give you some ideas....

Burrito Casserole
Grilled Chicken with vegis
Chicken Nuggets
Taco Salad (I have lettuce ready in my garden!)
Hawaiian Pineapple Chicken
Grilled Ham and Cheese- extra yummy on homemade bread!

Next month we will be purchasing 1/2 a cow and thankfully restock our freezer with some beef. For now we are using chicken more because it's simply cheaper. Thankfully there are oodles of recipes for chicken. Plus it is lean protein.
I am looking ohhh, soo forward to fall.
It is my favorite season, warm days, cool nights and the BAKING!! Oh MY!
And guess what?! Fall is just around the corner!
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