Monday, April 30, 2012

Soft and Chewy Oatmeal cookies

Rainy days are common in the South, but when it's cold and raining, what's a girl gonna do besides bake?  I got my apron on and with the help of my son, we made some oatmeal cookies. Doesn't this batter look yummy??

We made small round balls with the dough and baked them in our oven.

 Here's a plate of about half of them. They were delicious and the kids loved them!

Here is my recipe:


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 bag of chocolate chips


In a medium bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in oats and chocolate chips.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls, and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.



Friday, April 27, 2012

Joe's low-key 33rd

Joe celebrated his 33rd birthday last weekend. It was VERY low key, since I had my sewing class the night of his birthday.  We had about 15 minutes together from the time he got home from work until I left for class.  However we did go out for a nice Indian food dinner at Tandoor in Chapel Hill. The restaurant had delicious food and awesome decor.  On Thursdays they have Bollywood night. I definitely want to go back for that.

On his actual birthday he came home to a little pile of gifts from me and one from his parents on the bottom.

As I said, he only had 15 minutes to eat and blow out his candles so you can see here that he had to blow out his cheese cake candles before he started eating. I just wanted to make sure that happened before I left. I made a quick dinner which included his favorite appetizer, steamed artichoke, spaghetti and salad. Oh and I couldn't forgot to include some beer!  As you can see things aren't fancy around here, since I have to feed three small children at the same time!  Although I probably could have maybe put out a placemat for Joe or maybe a table cloth.  Oh well.

I got Joe a few books, Family Legacy and The Electric Cool-aid Acid Test, a C.D. by the Minutemen, and the new Super Mario Bros. game on Wii that I found used at Best Buy.  And no birthday would be complete unless you got silicone ice cube trays shaped like fangs. Yeah we are weird like that. Don't you think they will be awesome at our next Halloween party?  Oh, forgot to mention what was in that big box. Joe got some fancy slip-on shoes for the summer from his parents. I was supposed to pick out nice sandals, but Joe has to wear close-toed shoes to work, so sandals were not an option for him. And he's usually bare foot on the weekends. That's how Hawaiians roll.   Can't forget to mention that he got two seasons of the Simpsons on DVD from my parents and a summer membership for the YMCA from his parents.

That concludes my birthday celebration for Joe. But look what his best friend Josh sent:  Yes. That's a signed Kevin Smith toy.  Awesome.

A book called Holy Terror. This one's too violent for the kids, but Joe's in love.

Garbage Pail Kids Flashback cards. Should we open them?

Klean Kanteen water bottle with optional sports lid. Joe rides the bus to and from work, so this is great for his backpack. 

Last, but not least "The Original Fighting Robots!" Rock'em Sock'em Robots! Can I just say this has been a hit with the the kids. See below.

That's how my children roll. Naked Rock'em Sock'em Robots matches are the best! They will hate me later for this pic!

Joe had a Lovely birthday celebration. So thank you for everyone who helped make it special.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Painted White Vintage Lamp

I've seen lamps like this one called Mariposa by Z Gallerie

and this Turned table lamp by West Elm, but their price tags leave me sighing. 

Turned Table Lamp by West Elm

So when I spotted this one at the local Goodwill for $6, I had big plans for creating a similar effect like the lamps above.  So I cleaned it up with soap and water and gave it a good sanding with some 220 grit sand paper.

Then I applied one coat of spray primer.

To get a nice finish, I had to use about 6 light coats of Valspar's Lacquer Hi-Gloss spray in White.

Then when it was all nice and dry I brought it inside to test it out.  It worked of course, as they say they test all the lamps at the Goodwill. The only problem was they forgot to test whether you could turn it off.  Unfortunately it turned on, but the off switch wasn't working.  So off to Lowes I went and picked up a replacement socket. My super awesome husband took over at this point, following the instructions included with the replacement socket, and this tutorial.  

First, he removed the felt circle on the bottom, revealing two large metal discs that anchor the metal rod, through which the electrical cord runs. He ran more of the cord through the knot, to give himself a bit of slack on the other end.

He then gently disconnected the socket from the base ( a slight pinch, then pull), revealing the connections from the power cord.

He then removed the shell and insulation (looks like a cardboard tube).

He cut the cord and tossed the old socket, then stripped 1/2" from each wire, and gave them a little curl to wrap around the screws on the new socket leads.

He tied an Underwriter's knot just below the wires, then connected them to the new socket. Underwriter's knots prevent tugs at the bottom of the cord from fraying the connection at the socket end.

The new socket shell slipped onto the socket, wires fit carefully under the shell, and the socket popped right back onto the base.

Now to test:

So far, so good...


(Yes, this is actually the same picture as above, but the new socket does work)

Budget Breakdown:
Lamp at thrift Store - $6
White Spray Paint - $6
Lamp Shade - $14
Replacement socket - $3
Total - $29 for my lamp

$149 for this almost identical lamp at Z Gallerie. That's a $120 Savings!!!

Did you find something like this at a thrift store and turn it into a modern lux decor item for your home? It's crazy sometimes what you can fix up with a little imagination and little know-how.


p.s. Did anyone watch Nate Berkus yesterday?? Nate did the same thing with a vintage gold lamp. I must be channeling his psyche! 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Curb Alert

Our kids loved seeing this big Daddy roll up. We all watched in amazement as this truck delivered 4 cubic yards of triple shredded mulch. Now that's what we call a good time. 

Get ready!

Here it comes!

Okay that probably wasn't as exciting as it was to our kids when they watched it getting dumped in our front yard. Oh well.  Having this much mulch delivered at once, meant it was going to be a long day for Joe to get it off our lawn before it burned up our grass.

So Joe spent the day spreading it out over this area on our front hill.

He had a little helper spread it. During the mulch spreading process, Joe decided it was a good idea to transplant these Iris's from our garden (to free up useful food growing space.)

Here's a little section of spread mulch. Doesn't it make such a difference in color on the ground? The dark mulch looks so nice under the green plants.

The hill is finally mulched over. It's making a big difference in water retention for the plants on our hill and in our garden.

Here's another view of our hill.  We could definitely use some landscaping advice on plant placement.  We may be transplanting some of them in the future.

Forgot to mention that I spent a whole day weeding out this hill before the mulch went down. The mulch will help keep down the weeds too. A big +!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Triangle Bunting Banner

It's always fun and so much more personal to make birthday decorations for your little ones, instead of buying them from the store.  Plus if you make them well they can last for years of birthday fun.  

For each of my three children, I made triangle shaped birthday bunting name banners to hang from the mantle for several days before and several days after their birthday. I hope it makes them feel very special to have their name in big letters across the fireplace.

To start, I just grabbed enough scrap book paper for each of the letters in their name, a paint brush, pencil, acrylic craft paint, scissors, a ruler, and a cup for holding the paint.

For my son's name, I cut out 7 triangles using the pencil and ruler. This would be a great time to use a compass if you own one to make perfect triangles. I don't own a compass so I just "eye-balled" my lines.

I drew free-hand letters with my pencil and then outlined them with my paint.  You could be fancy and use a printer to make your letters, but as my husband likes to say, this give it a shabby-chic hand made quality. Once they dried, I just popped into the local mailing store to have them laminated. Truth be told, laminating is not really cheap. In total I spent $16 to have these done. But I figure it will probably last until at least their 18th birthdays (fingers crossed.)

To hang it up, you can make two slits on the upper corners of your triangles and string a ribbon through it.

Here's a cute close-up for you.

This one covers the whole mantle! You could make smaller size triangles if you have a really long name, or even bigger ones for a shorter name.

Hope this inspires you to create something home made for your child's next birthday.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Outdoor side table

My Dad made this lovely table years ago for me out of an old oval TV dinner tray and metal base that he hand crafted with his welding skills.  It was painted black on the top and red on the bottom, but as you can it has seen happier days.  The black paint has been peeling and the base was becoming rusty.  

I couldn't stand to watch it rot away since my Dad made it for me, so I thought I would give it a good sanding, both on the top and bottom and really clean it up.

I spray painted the base with Rust-oleum Painter's Touch Ultra Cover Satin Finish in Lagoon (left over from my mirror project.)

The top was painted with a brush using an indoor/outdoor high gloss paint that I had sitting in the shed. Not sure of the color, but it's a mix of black and magenta tones. I put on three coats of this stuff to really give it a lasting quality.

Here is the after side shot. Wow, the color on the base looks so different depending on the light.  I was happy to use up some left over paint for this project, thus making the whole thing free.  

And it's getting good use outside by the kids.  At some point it will nice to have some covered patio space so it can take less of a beating outside.  Until then, hopefully this paint will keep it nice.

Happy Monday!
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