Monday, April 23, 2012

DIY weekend

So I had a burst of DIY-nergy this past weekend and made a couple of fun projects (and started a few I'll surprise you with later!).  

I've been wanting to put a bulletin board/magnetic board of some type in my oldest son's room for quite some time but as I'm fairly never gets done.  Until now!  I have seen so many fun fabric covered boards but he is just not a fabric-covered kind a kid.  His walls are a grungy gray (used to be blue with a texture on them and I put gray venetian plaster on them last year...the blue and texture show through a bit so it came out way cooler than we planned!) so I needed something to go with that grunge idea.  

While shopping around Saturday in the cookie sheet area of a store (thinking along the magnetic lines), I had another of my rare brainstorms!  (Maybe my morning Spark drink is finally kicking in?)
I brought the $4.99 cookie sheet home and began pounding, scratching and distressing away!  Using a hammer, a screw, the concrete on my porch, etc...

And wah-lah!  We have a small (11x17) grungy magnetic "Stuff" board for a 13 year old's room.  For the magnets, I had some plain black round strong magnets from previous crafting (can get these at your local hardware store).  Nothing fancy here.  
I think a larger sheet with maybe a thin black frame would look cool too, but we opted on just the simple today.  I might even go back later and put some black pain lightly over some of the scratches.  He loves it, which is the important thing.

My second project was a Pinterest inspired idea, originally found HERE.  I made one for the same reason she mentions...many times I forget to purchase the items my boys want because they never made it to my paper list.  (She has a GREAT craft blog by the way!)
Mine is an actual chalkboard so it can move with us if we are ever so obliged to do so.  After painting the frame and sanding it on the edges a bit, I used scrapbooking stickers for the words, which are removable if I get tired of the title and want a change.  Since it is hanging on the door between the kitchen and laundry room (which is where our pantry is) the eraser is attached with some old ribbon via a thumbtack on the back of the board.  Hopefully it will be harder to lose that way!

I LOVE it and hubby has even used it already!  Reason enough to have it hanging up.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Let It Cook Roast

We haven't had just a nice plain roast in quite awhile and over the last 3 years I've been in a rut using the same old recipe (which is actually for wild game and it uses bacon...but I never use the bacon and rarely do I have wild game.  Married to a hunter but I keep him too busy to hunt as he would like!).  It's a great one, don't get me wrong, but I wanted to try something just a bit different.  So here is my combination of old recipe and ideas from a couple of internet recipes...

You will need:
1 roast (I used a smaller 2.5lb shoulder this time around, but others will work great too)
1 envelope of dry brown gravy mix
1 envelope of Lipton Golden Onion dry soup mix
a dash of dry ranch dressing mix (approx 1/2 Tbs?)
1 1/2 cups water
a couple of potatoes, peeled and cut into good sized chunks
baby carrots
whole mushrooms cut in 1/2
1/4 of an onion cut in two pieces

Spray your crockpot with cooking spray then add your veggies.  The amount of carrots and mushrooms really depends on your family's likes/dislikes.  But really...what is better than vegetables cooked with a roast?! 

Place your roast on top.

Mix your dry mixes with 1 cup of water and pour over the roast...drizzling some over the sides onto the veggies also.  Add 1/2 cup of water around the sides of the roast where veggies are showing for some extra moisture.

I also sprinkled about a tsp or two of an Italian seasoning I have in my spice cabinet (it's a Pampered Chef mix) over the whole thing before putting the lid on.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours, depending on the size of your roast.  This came out very tender and flavorful.  I think it would be even more tender if about 1/2 way through cooking, you push the meat down into the juices a bit more.  I think I might add more ranch dressing mix too.  It was so easy and yummy!!

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Fat Boys!

This is a post from a previous blog but it bears repeating :-)
Last year, my hubby ("T") and I were introduced to some of the best bran muffins EVER.   A professor of T's from college recently retired so he and T have spent some quality hunting and visiting time together.  Because of that, I met Marsha, Mike's wife, who is a very recently retired home-ec teacher.  Not only did she bring us a batch of these muffins last spring but she also gave me one of the cookbooks she created before retiring loaded with her best home-ec recipes! 

Fat Boy Muffins are amazing.  Not only are they tasty but they are good for your belly (and other parts of ya).  I just keep the mix on hand in the refrigerator so we can eat them all month long.  When you try this recipe (because I'm fairly sure you will), go ahead and make the whole big batch because the mix will stay fresh in your refrigerator for up to 6 weeks!  It's so nice to be able to just dig some out to bake fresh muffins whenever you want them.

Fat Boy Muffins

In a large bowl (like a giant tupperware type bowl) mix together the following:
4 room temperature eggs
3 c sugar
5 c flour
5 tsp baking soda
1 c oil (I use canola)
1 qt buttermilk (low fat)
2 Tbs vanilla

Then add:
2 c raisins (I sometimes do 1 1/2 c raisins and 1 c cranraisins)
2 c pecans (I don't add these)
1 15oz box Raisin Bran (I have only found a 20oz or larger so I just eat the leftovers for breakfast!)
This is how much batter you still have after 12 muffins have been made.
Mix well and fill muffin cups about 2/3 full (If you have a Pampered Chef large scoop, I use one of those per cup).   Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes until golden brown.  Makes approx. 60 muffins.  These are just about 145 calories each (when made without nuts) and full of bran/fiber, etc...oh and did I mention YUMMY??!!!
I also long ago realized that it's worth the extra $1 for cupcake holders anytime I use a muffin tin because I truly do not enjoy cleaning muffin if you are like me, use cupcake holders. If not, use a good non-stick spray in your tin.
T and I eat on these for about a month.  JM (our oldest son) doesn't eat them because there is just too much "stuff" in them for his taste but he does agree they smell wonderful ;-)

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Plate hangers...

My hubby and I both like old, rustic and lodge-like things.  Hence the log home we currently live in.  And the 1913 home we bought after first marrying (had such amazing old wood floors!)

I  tend to veer towards metal and wood when decorating, especially metal since many of my walls are already wood (log home, remember?).  So when my mother-in-law gave me these great decorative plates, I needed a way to hang them that fit my taste, my budget (low) and my home.  
I found these great drawer pulls at Hobby Lobby, on 1/2 price of course.  They couldn't be more perfect and they don't look like all other curvy or long hanging plate hangers.   I even found some rusty screws out in the garage to finish the look ;-)   
 Have any interesting ideas for hanging things in your home?  Please share!!  
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Saving Coffee Creamer

**New thought...after taking your cube tray out of the freezer, run some hot water over the bottom for just a few seconds.  This will help you spoon the creamer cubes out more easily.  Also, freeze them in the bag quickly as they start to melt!
After several years of blogging for family and friends, and due to the fun new world of Pinterest (come on...who else is completely addicted like me?  It's ok, you can admit it, that's the first step!)...I have decided to separate out posts that focus on recipes, household tips and homeschooling ideas to keep my family posts a bit more private :-)

So here goes the first post on Mom's on the Computer...again (something I frequently hear from my oldest son and hubby).  I have come up with a way to save coffee creamer!

I love coffee and I love creamer even more...but I don't drink it everyday so a bottle of creamer can go way past it's due date in my refrigerator.  Have I said how much I love creamer?  I love buying it even more...trying new flavors, I just can't resist those pretty bottles. 
So...I had a brainstorm one afternoon (these are rare in my head!) and it's probably been done but I'm still claiming it ;-).  When you are down to half a bottle or sometime before the due date, pour your creamer into an ice tray.  Each "cube" will be approx. 2 Tbs of creamer.  

Place this in the freezer and leave overnight or longer.  

Then take a spoon and pop each cube out into a ziploc bag labelled with the creamer flavor.  Then immediately put the ziploc bag back into the freezer for use!
Now I will admit, these do not pop out clean and easy like ice cubes, but they do pop out in their cube form more or less.  And when you pull them out of the ziploc bag to use, again you will get a bit of creamer on your fingers, but that's easy to lick off...I mean rinse off!  These will also cool off your coffee for you a bit, which I love, but you can always heat them in the microwave for a few seconds before adding to your hot coffee!

I currently have Peppermint Mocha creamer cubes and Cream Brulee cubes in my freezer :-)  Soon to add Sweet Cream because I had to purchase the large bottle of that one (so not sad about that!). 

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