Friday, January 20, 2017

Fly on the Wall-January 2017

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 9 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.




2016 ended in a good way for us, which takes the sting out of the bad. 

I graduated from college again. Maybe with two associate's degrees I can find my dream job. 

_________________________________________________________

Bob and I celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary with a cruise to the Eastern Caribbean aboard the Carnival Magic! This trip was wonderful! We went with another family (who have cruised before, so we weren't completely clueless) and plan to go again in 2020; that's how much we enjoyed ourselves!

This particular cruise left Port Canaveral and went to Amber Cove, Dominican Republic; St. Thomas, USVI; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos. 

The scenery was breathtaking!


Rough seas the first few days, but made for nice pictures (even if I was feeling very green).
  
From the aft (back) of the ship.

From the top of Paradise Point in St. Thomas, USVI. It was a scary gondola ride, but it was totally worth the view!
We all fell in love with Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos. Unfortunately, we didn't stay off the ship for very long because I had a terrible headache that day and wanted nothing more than to curl up in bed for a while. 


 The kids did NOT want to get out of the water in Grand Turk. We are keeping our eye on future cruises, hoping to book one that goes back to Grand Turk so that we can enjoy it more fully.

____________________________________________________

Bob and I finished part of our latest project:


That wall was plain, and we had a lot of wood left over (still do, despite all we put on the wall), so Bob decided to cover a wall in the den (you can tell by the mess that this is the kids' hang out) with wood before we build the wall-to-wall shelving he has planned for it. I'm happy with it, but I would have preferred a reddish color and I got outvoted. So, guess what? That wall-to-wall shelving unit is going a reddish color! Take that Bob and kiddos!


Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:






Monday, January 9, 2017

Blog With Friends-January 2017-Easy Fleece Hat

Welcome to Blog with Friends, January Edition!! I don't like frost and don't have fun in it, but if I have to be outside when it is frosty, my head HAS to be warm. If my head is cold, my whole body is cold!




Boo has had this had for a long time; it's her favorite. I've borrowed it a time or two and can understand why it is her favorite: it's so warm!



Anyway, it's starting to show it's age and I have already had to fix it once, so I decided to make her a new one and one for myself while I was at it.

I bought one of those cheap fleece blanket throws from Walmart for around $4. I will get approximately 5 hats out of it. Not bad for $4!

Anyway, it's really simple if you have a sewing machine and some fleece:

Pieces to cut:
A: One 8-inch diameter circle.
B: One 4 1/2" by 24" rectangle
C: One 6 1/2" by 24" rectangle




Instructions:
1. With right sides together, sew piece B to piece A (circle).



2. Sew back seam of piece B; if necessary, close gap at seam of pieces A and B.



3. Fold piece C in half, long direction, and sew ends together.



4. With the hat still inside out, place piece C over edge of hat (B) with the end seam edge facing up (right side facing wrong side) and sew around.



5. If necessary, trim edges of seams and then turn right side out. Finished!! (Can add trim or decoration at this point if you choose to)



You can print a copy of this pattern here, along with an 8-inch circle you can use for a pattern. Make sure that you print the actual size; do NOT scale to size, otherwise, your circle will be too small.


Now for some other great blog posts!!

Karen at Baking in a Tornado made Angel Cake with Chocolate Whipped Cream and Berries. YUM!



Melissa Robinson at My Heartfelt Sentiments made DIY Frosted Fun Cards so you can sprinkle fun greetings for those special occasions with these handmade cards.



Kia at Think in English will show you how to Listen, Speak, Read and Write in the Language of Winter with some language learning activities focused on winter and fun. 



Dawn at Spatulas on Parade made a Frosty Fun Double Chocolate Cherry cheesecake filled bundt cake



Lydia at Cluttered Genius give us ideas on what to do inside when you can't go outside



Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hurricane Matthew: Keeping informed during a storm

We live in Eastern North Carolina. Originally, we were under a tropical storm warning, but Matthew didn't do what it was expected to do and things were worse than I expected them to be. It was rough, but I've learned a few things this go around (the last one was Irene) that I'll share in a series of posts.

Today is about keeping informed. I really like to know what is going on around me. Before we lost power we watched the local news quite a bit. After that, it was a little more challenging to get information.

Facebook and my cell phone were my best friends. We lost power right after dinner on Saturday night. We don't have a generator, nor a battery-operated radio (should probably get one). We used the car to charge our cell phones and tablets (which is way slower than the outlet in your house).

Here is a list of apps and Facebook pages that have helped tremendously to keep us informed:

Facebook can be tricky because they don't show you everything in your feed, even if you select "most recent". At least it doesn't for me. So, even though information is being repeated, I'd rather "Like" the pages of multiple sources than just one.

  • Your local power company (which I didn't find until the day after our power was restored; it's found for the next time)
  • City/town public services page, even if you don't live in the city/town, but in the county.
  • County emergency services page (my favorite page!)
  • Local news stations' pages
  • Local newspaper's page
*Note: I found that clicking the pages feed helps a lot! You don't have to wade through so many posts to find the information you need.*

Phone Apps (I have an Android phone, so all of my apps came from the Play Store):

  • Local news station's apps. 
  • Weather channel
  • ReadyNC (or whatever you might have in your state): It gives information on road closures and emergency measures. 
  • Local radio station
  • NextRadio- I can turn my cell phone into a radio!
  • Facebook

Yes, this all eats data, but if you are like me and cannot stand not knowing what is going on, you bite the bullet and deal with the data issue later.

We weren't without power as long as some people--only 2 1/2 days--but it seems a lot longer while you're living it. Everything in our home is electric, so we couldn't cook or take showers. There are times when I wish some of that was gas, but not enough to switch.

My next post will be the "Power Outage Survival Kit" that I am putting together. There are things that we bought this time around that worked out great for us and I'll show you what they are. 

And below is a terrible picture of the flash flooding around our storage building. We had about 1 1/2 to 2 feet of water inside of it during the worst of the flash flooding. We've got a few things in there that might be ruined. We won't know until we get them fully dried out and try to run them. 

Flash Flooding around our storage building.
Do you have any apps or Facebook pages that you rely on in an emergency?

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Great TV Debacle-Fly on the Wall August 2016


Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 10 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.


Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

MenopausalMother         
Spatulas onParade                                          
Searching forSanity                                         
Never Ever Give UpHope                                   
Dinosaur SuperheroMommy                          
Southern BelleCharm                   
MollyRitterbeck                              
Go Mama O                          


On July 3, we found a nice (we thought) Samsung 4K TV on clearance at Walmart for $500. We were preparing to "cut the cord" and drop our cable and wanted a smart TV, or at least one that would be easier to switch over to our Roku since we expected to be streaming more. Anyhow, we brought the TV home and set it up and had to immediately take it back to the store.

Can you see what it was doing? Something was seriously broken. So, since Bob had already bought a TV for $500, we set out to find another for around that price and headed to Sam's Club. They had a TCL Roku TV on sale for $489! We immediately bought one since the reviews looked good. We had it exactly one month and this showed up on the screen:

Really?!?! Again? I called TCL since the TV was supposed to have a one year warranty on it. They asked me to email them a picture of what it was doing. The response I got made me see red! "Unfortunately, cracked screens are not covered by the warranty." They went on to suggest that we contact the store we bought it from and see what they would do. Thankfully, Sam's Club has a 90-day return policy; we didn't exchange it for another TV of any kind. We went to our local furniture store and bought one from there with a 3-year warranty. 

Now, I have to ask you: How in the world does a TV screen crack after sitting on a TV stand for a month and no one had touched it? (No, I hadn't even cleaned it).
______________________________________________________________________________

We are now cable-free! We already paid for Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime while we had cable. We got a 3-month Trial of CBS All-Access, and we decided to try Sling TV so we can get TNT (can't miss The Last Ship!). I am so happy with our set-up at this point. Most of the time, we can choose what we want to watch instead of flipping through channels. Paying for Sling TV brings our monthly savings to $85/month. That's more than what I spend in gas every month.

______________________________________________________________________________

I am starting my last semester of school this month. I'm excited! I thought I was ready to go back to school, but I realized that I was still burned out almost immediately after starting in January. 

Clone of Bob should graduate this year. This is a relief to me because I have to admit that I am so sick of homeschooling that my "give a darn" is losing it's energy. Boo is easy and pretty much works independently, so she won't be so hard. Even she only has 2 years to go. 

______________________________________________________________________________

Bob's grandmother passed away last week. While the reason for going "home" wasn't a good one, we got to see family that we hadn't seen in years and finally got the meet the new babies in the family and see how much the others have grown. Below is a pic of Boo with my great-niece.


Don't forget to scroll up and buzz around the other bloggers' homes!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Blog With Friends-School Color Cookies


Wow, it's been a while since I participated in a BWF group post! It's nice to be back!

Since we homeschool, we choose our own school colors. Boo love turquoise and teal and Clone of Bob has always loved green.

I made cookies a while back using sugar cookie mix, black cherry Kool-Aid and cherry chips. They were so good! So I decided to see what other flavor combinations I could come up with using Kool-Aid to flavor the cookies.

For this one, since we're talking about school spirit, I've decided that our school colors are teal and green, As a matter of fact, even thought the kids aren't going to have a traditional graduation ceremony, they should still get a tassel. I can order them online in any color combination that I want to, so they will be green/teal with the year they graduate on them (2017 & 2018).

I made these cookies two ways and I much prefer the second method, but I'll walk you through both and let you decide.

The first method involved rolling out the dough, stacking the two flavors and rolling them together, and then slicing and baking them. It turned out nice, but with the colors I used, it didn't give me the swirl pattern I was hoping for.

The second method was just taking some of each color/flavor and rolling them together by hand into a ball, flattening, and baking. The second was much easier and faster.

Ingredients:
  • Two packages of sugar cookie mix (any brand)
  • 2 eggs and two sticks of butter/margarine for the cookie mix
  • Two different flavors/colors of Kool-Aid dry mix. 
Directions:

You will make two separate dough mixes. Repeat step 1 for each. Continue with the rest of the steps for the first method of baking.
  1. Mix egg, butter, and Kool-Aid in a bowl with a mixer. Slowly mix in cookie mix.  

FOR THE FIRST COOKIE METHOD:
    1. Add 1 Tbsp. flour to thicken a little bit for rolling (do this during mixing).
    2. Cut in half, wrap in plastic wrap and place in freezer for about 30 minutes. Mix the second batch and do the same.
    3. Roll each dough ball separately. (I roll my dough between two pieces of wax paper. It is so much cleaner than using flour and my rolling pin doesn't get dirty.)
    4. Stack one on top of the other and then roll them together. Wrap with wax paper or plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for about an hour.
    5. Carefully slice, each slice about 1/4" thick. 
    6. Place on baking pan and bake approximately 9-10 minutes. Allow to cool on pan for about 2 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack, paper towels, or paper bags, whatever you prefer.



FOR THE SECOND COOKIE METHOD
    1. Take a small piece from each type of dough and roll them together (you want your balls to be about 1 inch in diameter). Place on cookie sheet in a position where you will see both colors and then flatten with the back of a spoon or your fingers. 
    2. Bake for 9-10 minutes. Allow to cool for about 2 minutes before removing to your choice of final cooling spot. 

Makes approximately 72 cookies.

What I love about this is that there are so many flavor and color combinations you could go with. If one of your school colors is white, just skip adding Kool-Aid to one of the batches of cookies. If they're black, well, you might have to get creative there.

Now for the other posts!

Karen at Baking in a Tornado made School Spirit Mini Cupcakes: Mini cupcakes you can make in your school colors. Perfect for back to school treats, parties, bake sales. Yum!


Minette at Southern Belle Charm made and easy School Color Bracelet. I love the color on this one!


Melissa at Home on Deranged gives us tips on How to Choose the Right Elementary School.


Dawn at Spatulas on Parade gives us Crazy Hat Days and More. Looks fun!


The Lieber Family gives us a neat way to Organize Your Desk with School Spirit.


Lydia at Cluttered Genius gives us 9 Tips for Chaos Control Before School Starts. Even homeschoolers can use this...maybe especially homeschoolers.


Friday, June 17, 2016

Fly on the Wall-June 2016...I'm Back!


Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 9 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.

I've been on hiatus for the last few months. I've been busy going back to school and homeschooling the kids and such. The Spring semester of college was a stressful one for me. I finished that a month ago, but has taken some time for my ambition to return.

________________________________________________________________________

Back in December, Bob did some work to the kids' bathroom. Remember the whole "It Started With a Coat" post? Yeah, it went something like that again. Bob had to use the bathroom one Saturday morning, but he wanted to let me sleep in. So, he decided to use the kids' bathroom. While sitting there, he was looking around at the lack of counter space and the lack of storage and next thing I knew, we were remodeling the bathroom. 

Not a full remodel, but the counter top is bigger, he built some very pretty shelves, we painted and replaced the mirror. Replacing the mirror was not in the plan, actually, but I wanted to take it down so that I could paint the whole wall, not around the mirror. It turns out that they had glued that thing to the wall using caulk or something and the only way it was coming down was in pieces. That was fun. NOT. However, I DO love the new mirror. Sorry, the pics aren't the greatest...


_________________________________________________________________________

We bought Boo an antique Art Deco Highboy dresser back in December. Due to weather, it sat in the shed until last month, when we finally decided to work on it. I really wish I had taken pictures along the way. If you could see the before pictures... Anyway, it had water damage and a lot of age on it. It was still a very solid piece of furniture, though; that's why she wanted it. I wanted to strip and stain it, but after testing a spot and realizing it wasn't going to take stain well, I ended up painting most of it. We had to remove the veneer coating since 75% of it was peeling off or water damaged. Paint really was the only way to go with it. 

To break up the black, we bought these great stickers from Amazon and bought new hardware for it, and it looks 100 times better than before. 



__________________________________________________________________________

Last month, we started work on the back deck. It was built about 8 years ago, but we never sealed it or waterproofed it the whole time it was out there. Last summer, Bob had to replace a decking board because it had rotted through. 

Last fall, Bob got his hands on a bunch of free, rough-cut cypress. It's really pretty wood (he used it for the shelves in the bathroom). We had to plane it down and seal it, but used it for the deck after we tore up the old stuff. We put a lot of sweat (and sunburns) into the deck and we still aren't finished. We also bought that "Rescue It" paint for the railings and such. That was a job, painting all of that, let me say. We still have to paint under the deck, rebuild a set of stairs, cut new tread boards and stain them, and cut and stain new top rail. I sure hope this lasts, because it has been a lot of work (and money, despite the free wood).




I also painted my favorite bench. We paid $50 for it (original price $215) because the box had been crushed and they didn't know if it had been damaged. It turned out that there was a small chip in it, and that was it. A great deal, right? Well, the color faded within months of buying it. Since we were doing the deck, I decided to paint the bench. The blue, I picked, but Clone of Bob suggested the silver and black to set the box apart from the rest of the  bench and I have to say that I like his idea.



__________________________________________________________________________

We went on a trip for the first time in about two years. We went to Tennessee to see friends. We flew into Atlanta because it was half the price and our friends picked us up. Let me just say that the airport in Atlanta, GA is HUGE and they really should make it clear to people that the train is the best way to get your luggage from baggage claim. I swear we walked a mile trying to get our bags and out of that crazy airport.

We took them to Skyzone (a place where they literally bounced off the walls), the Nashville Zoo, and on the day we flew home from Atlanta, to The World of Coca-Cola. I had enough Coke Rewards to get six of the seven of us into it for free! It wasn't a lot, but it was a nice getaway.


In the meerkat habitat at the Nashville Zoo.

World of Coca-Cola with the Polar Bear.

Skyzone in the foam pit.
_________________________________________________________________________________

We actually did a lot of stuff over the past few months, but I didn't have my "blog brain" going and didn't think to make any tutorials. Maybe I'll get better at it in the future.

_________________________________________________________________________

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

JuiceboxConfession                                            
MenopausalMother                                             
Spatulas onParade                                           
Searching forSanity                                                                
Dinosaur SuperheroMommy                                      
Southern BelleCharm                                                                  

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Where Have I Been?

Well, the last few months have sucked the creativity right out of me. We haven't had any major issues or anything. I think it's just those pesky winter blues again. Of course, they started early.

Anyway, in December, I was this > < close to closing my blog. I even announced it on Facebook. I actually felt better after making the decision.  

My kids, however, convinced me to keep the blog. I'm not sure why, but I agreed to give it a little longer. 

I'm not sure when I'll start posting again. But knowing that the blog is here and waiting patiently for me is good. Part-time job (grocery store...gotta get back into the work force somehow), full-time college (again), homeschooling my kids and managing my house are really going to limit my time, but I hope to find some extra time for projects and posts somewhere along the way.