Monthly Archives: September 2012

My Fall Mantle


I know you’ve just been DYING to see my Fall mantle, haven’t you?!  Of course you have, silly!  Well, I shall warn you right now that I am a minimalist.  It is my firm belief that more stuff equals more stuff to either dust or dust around.  I don’t like dusting.  So, I put it on the kids’ chore cards.  🙂

Aaaannyywaaayy, here’s the Fall version of our mantle this  year –

Gotta love that fan!  If you come to my house, do NOT turn on that fan.  It will FREAK.YOU.OUT.  Seriously, it is so unstable it looks like it’s about to fly right off the ceiling!  Crazy.  We don’t use fans due to allergy sufferers in here, so it doesn’t really matter.  Unless you accidentally flip that switch.  Then it gets downright exciting.  🙂

Yeah, I was avoiding talking about the ugly brick hearth & horrid brass insert.  One day we’ll deal with them……one day.

I love this owl.  He came from Hobby Lobby & I used my 40% off coupon, so he was pretty inexpensive.  He makes me grin EVERY time.

Another Hobby Lobby purchase.  I have always liked fleur de lis.  They remind me of the French Quarter in New Orleans.  (Like you didn’t know where the French Quarter was, right?)  The architecture there is so amazing with all the old brick & wrought iron & courtyards.  Love it!

I think I paid about $2 for this.  I truly don’t remember where it came from, or I would tell you.

This was my great-grandmother’s wash stand.  Though it isn’t a mantle, I thought I would include it.  Sorry about that shadow covering the left side.  I do have some mad photography skills, don’t I?!



Tomato Graveyard


You know, I’ve been married almost 17 years now & a mom for almost 13.  We’ve had tomatoes for a number of those years.  I don’t really like tomatoes, other than a slice or two here & there on a burger or salad.  My hubby & kids, however, LOVE those things.  They just slice ’em up & eat them with a little salt & pepper – or not.  Eww.

After all these years, I have finally learned one thing about tomatoes – when to pull up the plants.  Yep.  I’m a genius.  It’s not time, simply because the plants look like this –

How sad is that tomato bed??  The little blueberry bushes aren’t looking too hot, either.  But, I digress.

It is time to pull up the nasty things when you see THIS languishing on the counter top for WEEKS –

We just won’t even talk about what the bottom of that bowl looked like after I threw out the tomatoes.  If we did, your love for me would die an immediate & final death.  It was so gross.  Why do moms get all the gross jobs?  😦

It probably would be easier to throw the things in the garbage, but that leads to bugs.  I hate bugs worse than rotten tomatoes, so we don’t do that.  We send them to the Tomato Graveyard.

The dog sometimes decides to get one & drop it in the middle of the yard for fun, but he’s cute so we forgive him.  🙂  We don’t have to deal with the bugs or rotting veggie smell, because our yard is a little on the large side.  Here’s the top part –

And from the driveway –

Tomatoes are birthed on the left side of the pic & returned to dust on the right side, just out of the lens range.

Don’t you just feel enlightened by my sharing of our tomatoes’ circle of life?  You know you do.  Actually, I just still haven’t finished the fall decor & felt like writing a post anyway.  Fall mantle tomorrow….hopefully!  There are some sneak peek photos on Facebook.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!


**For some reason this did not post when I told it to.  Oh, well.  Better late than never!**

Today is the eleventh anniversary of the arrival of our party on legs!  She has been a joy from day 1 & brought us loads of laughter.  She will not, however, be laughing when she sees that I wrote this post.  Definitely not an attention seeker like her mama!

  Yes, she looks kinda like Patrick Swayze.  No, I’ve never met him.  🙂

  How fun is that?!

  She used to love curly hair, sparkles, rainbow toes & pictures…

  Now she just loves running, loooonng hair, helping with special needs children and NOT getting her picture taken!  Yes, this is about as dressed up as she gets…..  I try.

Happy birthday, sweet girl!  You are growing into a precious child of God & I pray you continue to do so.

Deluxe Chocolate Marshmallow Bars


Hope everyone is having the fabulous weather we are enjoying down here!  I finally broke down & made a dessert that the family has been requesting for quite a while.  It’s super easy, but it makes a LOT & if it’s in the house, it’s on my hips.  When you see the ingredients, you’ll understand – chocolate & peanut butter.  Yum!

What you need for the base & middle layers:

3/4 cup butter or margarine

1-1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-1/3 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking POWDER (not soda!)

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 Tablespoons baking cocoa

1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional (I don’t use them.)

4 cups miniature marshmallows  (I use Jet-Puffed.  They just taste better to us.)

*Cream the butter & sugar with your mixer.  Add eggs & vanilla; beat until fluffy.  Combine flour, baking powder, salt & coca; add to creamed mixture.  Stir in nuts, if desired.  Spread in a greased jelly roll pan (I use a large cookie sheet with turned-up edges).

Be sure to spread the chocolate base mixture evenly.  This is where you may find yourself wanting to lick the spatula repeatedly.  No worries, the heat from the oven kills the germs, right?  🙂  I put parchment paper under mine to ease in clean up.  It’s totally optional.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes.  Remove from oven & sprinkle the marshmallows over the top evenly.  Return it to the oven for 2-3 minutes.  Remove from oven and spread the melted marshmallows evenly over the cake, using a knife dipped in warm water.

Cool COMPLETELY.  Trust me on that…

Now for the topping:

1-1/3 cups chocolate chips (I use milk chocolate.)

3 Tablespoons butter or margarine

1 cup peanut butter

2 cups crisp rice cereal

Once the bottom layers are completely cool, combine chocolate chips, butter & peanut butter in a small saucepan.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and well blended.  Remove from heat & stir in cereal.  Spread over the bottom layers.  Chill.

After dinner, place the dessert on the counter & step away rapidly.  The next time you see the pan, it will be 1/2 eaten.

This recipe came from some cooking magazine I got years ago.  I have no idea what the name of it was, but the recipe was submitted by someone named Esther Shank from Harrisonburg, VA.  So, thank her for the extra miles you now have to put on your treadmill.  🙂


Shared at 52 Mantels  52 Mantels

Cute Halloween Craft


Yes, I know Wednesday has passed & I did not share a restaurant review with you.  Sorry.  We didn’t try any new restaurants this week, but I guess I could review one of our favorites…..  We’ll see.

But TODAY we’re talkin’ Halloween crafts!  Woo Hoo!  Last year my oldest wanted a cute something to wear to school during the week of Halloween.  (We don’t do skulls, crossbones, monster crap, etc around here.)  She LOVES her hair, so we decided on a cute headband craft.  It’s super fast & easy!  (My kinda craft!)

Take a regular, plastic headband –

Then you need a piece of scrap cloth, some pipe cleaners, 2 googly eyes, and a hot glue gun.

First, you will wrap your strip of cloth around the headband & hot glue it on the inside.  (Sorry I don’t have step-by-step photos, but this was very much pre-blogging days.)  While the glue is cooling off, take 2 white pipe cleaners (we used sparkly white ones) and cut them in 1/2.  These will be your spider legs.  Hold all 4 pieces in your hand & take your long (orange) pipe cleaner in your other hand.  Wrap the long orange pipe cleaner around the 4 pieces until it’s as large as you want it.  This is your spider’s body.  If you want it thicker, use 2 orange pipe cleaners.

Once the body & legs are together, glue your spider to the headband & then glue on googly eyes.  Viola!  All done!

Yes.  I am aware that my spider looks like he has an elephant trunk.  But it’s still pretty cute & she still loves it!

Linked up at 52 Mantels     The Shabby Nest  under $10 under 1 hr party 2012 320 SycamoreAdd your LINKS!  UndertheTableandDreaming

Halloween Costumes


Is anyone else as excited as I am about the cooler weather?  We actually need jackets & long pants this morning!  Yay!

I’ll post the fall decor as soon as I finish a couple of things.  While you’re eagerly anticipating THAT (I know you are), I thought I’d do a little early Halloween post.  The girls have been chatting for a week or so now about what they want to dress up as for Halloween.  Which means I need to fix the sewing machine….  Just in case your kids are the same way, I thought I would post some pics of what we have done in the past.

50’s girl.  There is a free & easy poodle skirt tutorial here.

A Who.  You know, from Dr. Seuss “Horton Hears A Who” or from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.  I just took 2 t-shirts & cut one off just under the arms.  For me, the tricky part was sewing the right side of the cut t-shirt to the wrong side of the other t-shirt.  Once the shirts were sewn together, I tacked on some glittery Christmas garland at the ends of the sleeves, the bottom hem & the bottom of the upper shirt.  The striped hose were from Wal-Mart, the earrings are actually plastic ball Christmas ornaments attached to clips.  The hairdo got a lot of attention for sure!  Just take a small plastic cup or (empty) water bottle (8 oz) and put it on your head.  Pull your hair up around it & secure with a ponytail holder.  I tied pieces of red, green & white ribbon to my ponytail holder before putting my hair up.  Yes, I had a LOT more hair then.  The slippers were a gift from years past.  Since they were blue, I just got some fabric spray paint from Hobby Lobby & sprayed them green.


The Ghost of Christmas Present from Dicken’s A Christmas Carol.  I made the cape using a tutorial similar to the one here.  Then just use Heat N Bond to attach the fur trim.  The white robe under the cape was made out of rayon lining material.  It is the devil to work with.  Just use cotton & thank me later.  There is a YouTube video “how-to” for the robe here.

In the middle is my “Genie”.  This costume was actually worn by ME in COLLEGE!  It was a little big in the waist on her, but nothing a safety pin couldn’t handle.  My word how fast they grow up!  We put a t-shirt under the top for modesty & because it was COLD.

My Indian came from Party City…..I think.  She had to have it for a school function & I just didn’t have time to sew right then.

My pictures of the girls as cats and the “Cat Princess” have apparently been lost.  The “cats” wore black leotards & tights with store-bought tails & ears.  The “Cat Princess” wore a pink sparkly gown with a tiara & sparkly wand.  Because they had no leotards in town in her size.  Sometimes you just gotta go with it.

So, what are your plans for Halloween?  We’re just in it for the candy & fun costumes.  Okay.  We’re just in it for the candy.  🙂



Recycling Ice Cream Buckets


So, is it recycling or upcycling??  I dunno.  What I DO know is that we go through a LOT of ice cream in this house & that leaves a LOT of ice cream buckets laying around!  Yes, I could send them to the recycling center, but since I have a small addiction to storage containers & the lids are pretty much air tight, I keep them.  So, here are some ideas for reusing your plastic ice cream buckets.  Ours look like this –

I tried painting a few of them with Rust-Oleum paint.  It worked fine – until I had to move in front of the A/C unit.  At that point, the paint started cracking – possibly because the unit was on & so the air dried the paint too quickly.

Most of them are still plain-jane looking, since I’m not so good at cutsey.  But, they would be easy to spiff up with some ribbon, lace, twine, vinyl letters from a Silhouette (that I’m STILL trying to win!), etc.  You cutesy, I’ll be utilitarian.  🙂

Here are some ways we use our buckets –

Corral travel mugs

  Cookie cutter stash

  Toys at church specifically for our special needs friends

  Pet care items

The uses are infinite!  Think small books, hair care, spray paint, craft paint, paint brushes & supplies, packing tape, safety glasses (in felt pockets – that’s for another day), small stuffed animals, ribbon (just punch holes in sides to pull through), party supplies, neighbor/party  gifts, etc.

Hopefully, that’s given you something to think about.  Make yours cute & send me some pics, so I’ll have a clue what to do on that end!