Sunday, November 30, 2014

Link Party- Now updated with Link Parties List

So I just joined my first link party (very exciting)! It is being held at Tatertots & Jello (above is the image for the link party) and there are a lot of links! It's really inspiring and great to see so many ideas in one place from fellow bloggers.

I thought I would share a couple of links I found really interesting with the rest of you.

The first link is to a a site that is not in English but on the right hand side you will find a Google Translate drop down to switch to English.

The post I am linking to is her Simple Toys for Little Ones (just click the above photo). 

They look like little taggy blankets but smaller and more pillow like. I can't wait to try making one for L.

The second link is to Little House Living, which is an awesome Blog! She shares recipes, crafts and homestead living. She has a lot of great posts.

This is the link that originally brought me to her blog. The link shares some amazing free sewing patterns and I love the fact that she has them all organized into categories. I found some great projects to sew up for L and some to make as Christmas gifts (stay tuned for those posts). 

I am really excited to join more link parties in the future. It seems like a great way to get your blog out there and to find new bloggers to follow!

I'm really just starting out on my blog journey and feel like I am learning new things every day. If you have any tips for me or just want to say hello leave a comment!

Update: I figured I would add more as I go along and find more link parties. So from now on here is where you will find all the parties I link to. I'm going to keep this list updated each week as well and list by day of the week. I have personally linked to all of these parties, please join in the fun!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Handmade Table

This project was actually done about a year ago, but I finally found the pictures so I thought I would share.

We originally started by buying the table legs from Lowes for an existing table I got at a garage sale. The original table had metal legs that were rusted on the bottom and I didn't want them scratching the wood floors, plus I just thought the table would look better with wood legs. So after disassembling and sanding that table we realize it is so warped that it wouldn't have worked even with the original legs, back to the drawing board we went.

 I had been envisioning all these beautiful farmhouse tables I had seen plastered in magazines and all over Pinterest and thought hey why couldn't we make that. So back to Lowes we went. I knew I wanted a medium sized table and I had just watched a You Tube video on a fun new tool called a Kreg Jig (watch more than one video on how to use it before thinking you are a pro after just one video like I did, I was wrong). If you plan on making more furniture or cornered projects I HIGHLY recommend getting a Kreg Jig, it is an awesome tool! At the bottom of the post I've included a link to amazon with some of the awesome tools we use and some extras that we plan on purchasing in the future.

On to the nitty gritty details. Here is the project list of things you will need to create your own table:

2" x 6" x 10' for the top of the table. We used 6 and got them at 10' then had the store cut them in half. Our table ended up being 5 ft. long by a little under 3 ft. wide (2 ft. 10 in. to be exact). Make sure you check each one to make sure it's level, slight imperfections can be sanded but if it's really warped it won't work. Also make sure you like any knots or "blemishes", if you stain it these will show through.

2" x 4" for the apron and added stability under the table. The length will depend on the size of the table, we went in 2 inches all the way around the table. As you will see later we measured everything, cut, then laid it out to make sure we outlined where everything was to go.

4 Table Legs. You can get them for as little as $5 a leg you just have to search a bit. We got ours on sale for $5 each. I ended up looking up traditional leg height to figure out what size to get (It's 30 inches total height). So we ended up going with 28" legs taking into account the height of the table top itself.

Kreg Jig

Medium and Fine grit sandpaper.

Sander (you could sand by hand if you don't have one but it takes forever).

Miter Saw or Circular Saw (Miter saw is easier)

Kreg Jig Screws. If you are using 2" boards for everything, you will want 2 1/2" Fine Thread screws.

Table leg top plate (optional). We did not use these, but they probably would have been a good idea rather than kreg jigging the legs (you have to re-tighten every 6 months to a year depending on amount of use the table gets).


Drill, the kreg jig has it's own bits to use with your drill.

Tack cloth or damp paper towels. I tried both and preferred the paper cloth method, the tack cloth works but leaves a sticky residue. With paper towels you do have to go over all the sanded areas a couple of times and then wipe it all down again with dry towels. Let it sit for a couple of minutes after just to make sure it is truly dry before you start to stain.

Stain or paint. For this table I went with the same stain for the whole table, you could change it up and do the legs and apron different than the top or whatever style you like. Surprisingly you really only need a half pint of stain, we ended up buying two since we used a decent amount on the table we originally planned to revamp (that's why you will see the legs already stained in most of the pictures). Granted this also depends on the size of table.

Paint brushes.

Polyurethane, again really only need a half pint depending on the size of the table.

Supplies are all gathered, lets get started!

So as I said before we had the store cut the boards for the top in half for us, we then just needed to sand the edges.

We laid all the boards for the top down in the order we wanted them based on markings and knots, flipped them over, and labeled them. 

Next we measured the 2" x 4" for the apron. We marked where the legs would go first, than measured and cut.

After all of that was laid out we measured and cut the last of the 2" x 4" for the support under the table (this is added last). I don't have a picture, but the basic idea is to lay the boards flat underneath the table top.

Then the fun part, Kreg Jigging! I got out so much frustration and really worked my arms (honestly if you are even moderately out of shape, totally out of shape like me, or in shape like people I don't know your arms will HURT). You will also get wood shavings all over yourself and the general area. 

For the table top I kreg jigged both sides of the inside boards and one side for the two outside boards. For the inside I did three holes evenly spaced on one side and two evenly spaced on the other. For the two outside boards I did three evenly spaced holes.

While I Jigged S started screwing the table top together. We learned the hard way that you NEED clamps for this part, one at each end. Your table top will really look wonky if you don't use them. Our second table (later post) we actually used much longer clamps to go across the whole width of the table and then the smaller ones on the ends. 

Once the top is completely together, I started Jigging the apron. Now really for this whole project I went a little Kreg Jig crazy, I just wasn't sure how far apart to go, and how many would have the best hold. I ended up going about every 3 inches all the way around (too much!). Realistically you could do two on the short parts and three on the long parts and it would hold great.

We ended up going the Kreg Jig route for the legs (again you will have to tighten the screws every so often based on how much you use the table, or in our case how many people push off the top of the table to stand up). You can also use table leg top pates and just screw in the legs. I have not used this method on any of the tables we have made so I don't know how well they work or how stable they are. 

I did two holes on the inside of the legs, then screwed them into the apron. I also did one hole on one side of the leg going down into the table top. 

Once you have everything put together, re-measure the 2" x 4" you cut earlier for the underside of the table. Our shifted ever so slightly, so we had to cut two and sand down the third. If you couldn't tell we were really worried about the table being stable. You don't need three boards under there, personally I would just do one smack dab in the middle. 

I did two holes on each end of the boards and jigged into the apron.

Once she was all put together we flipped her up and sanded the heck out of it. I'm talking baby smooth sanded. We used the medium grit. Like I said in the supplies list you can used tack cloth or the paper towel method, whichever you like best.

So Pretty.

As you can see it was pretty dark out so we called it quits for the night. Also ignore the messy garage, we were doing quite a few projects at the time. The rug happened to be an old remnant from when the house was last carpeted and really helped when we were laying everything out and when we had to flip it (it will be pretty heavy). 

The next day I couldn't wait to start staining, I was so ready to see the finished product. We brushed the stain on the whole top, waited about 5 minutes from when we first started and then wiped the stain off starting in the same spot we started staining. When wiping the stain off we used cotton cloths you can buy in bulk at any hardware store and the second time paper towels. I highly recommend the cloths since you don't get as much stain on your hands and they don't really leave behind any fluffies. 

Wait the suggested amount of time based on the stain directions and see if you like the color or want to do another coat. I ended up doing two coats since I felt the first was too sheer. It's really up to you how you want the table to look, so go crazy or traditional. 

Once the stain was fully dry it was time to make the table shiny, oh and seal it too. I polyurethane the entire table legs and all for the first coat (this you really do have to do more than one coat). Again wait the suggested amount of time based on the directions. Once it's dry use the fine grit sand paper to get out the imperfections, bubbles and dust. DO NOT use the sander for this part, you just need a light sand for this. Once sanded it should feel smooth and look fairly glossy. You only need to sand the first coat, you can still spot sand if you get a lot of dust or it doesn't look right, but I would do another coat over that. I ended up doing two coats, the first on the whole table and the second on just the top. I paid A LOT of attention to the space in between each board with both coats, we still get crumbs in there but the attachment tool on the vacuum works perfectly to clean it up. 

Let it dry at the very least overnight and you are good to go. The table will be heavy and you should always lift from each end with two people when moving it. This will also help with the legs.

We made this table quite a while before I was pregnant so it fit great in the kitchen, until we added in the highchair. We soon realized it was becoming quite tight in there and we would need a shorter table. So we built another that I will share along with a lovely bookcase revamp in a future post, so stay tuned!

Have you built a table or something similar? Share your story, pictures, tips, or anything you find helpful!

Update: Just added to Creating my way to Success and Skip to my Lou.
Skip To My Lou

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Christmas decorating ideas all in one place

I'm going to start by apoligizing for this post being a slight regurgatation from other sites. We had to take L to the hospital last night and he still isn't feeling the best today, so this is the best I could come up with tonight. Sorry.

I'm sure I will be trying many of these, so I will keep you updated. Don't worry I plan on doing a much better post tomorrow night of my own Christmas decorations I've started, so stay tuned. 

As always share your thoughts, tips, ideas or hate mail.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Crockpot Honey Garlic Chicken

This recipe was a doctored version of another Pinterest find, but I originally found it on Rachel's Nest, the original recipe can be found here. Mine ended up looking more like the version seen on Rachel's Nest. It really sounded good and like a recipe I could just dump in a bag, freeze, take out and dump in the crockpot.

I used two chicken breasts instead of the four she uses and to begin with they were frozen when I put them in the bag. The rest I kept the same:

3 Garlic Cloves, chopped (I seriously recommend using the chopper like she did, mine got lost in our move so I chopped mine by hand.)
1/2 cup Soy Sauce
1/2 cup Ketchup
1/2 cup Honey
Pinch of Basil (I forgot this part)
Salt and Pepper to taste

I mixed up the sauce and then dumped that in the bag. I always label my bags with: the name of the recipe, how long to cook and if I need to add anything. Normally I would also add the date that it was bagged, but since I was going to be making this in the next day or so I left that off this one.

The night before I was planning on cooking it I just pull it out of the freezer and put it in the fridge to defrost. I, personally, put all frozen meals that need to defrost in a specific spot on the door of my fridge. To me this makes it easy to find, reminds me of what I'm going to make for dinner (I have a tendency to forget if I've taken something out or not), and keeps the bag upright and if it does leak the mess is limited to one area.

The next day I just dumped everything in the crock pot and cooked per the directions (Low: 6-8 hours, High 3-4 hours). I cooked mine on high since I got a bit of a late start that day.

It comes out looking quite burnt, but that really is just the sauce. Overall I really wasn't impressed, contrary to the picture where half of it is gone. I did eat it all and so did S, but he made a valid point when he said it tasted like old meat. It was also very dry and sticky. I doubt we will be trying this one again, or if I do I will be adding only half the amount of soy sauce.

Cleaning the crockpot was the worst part of it though. So if you have crockpot bags or even tin foil (doesn't work as well since it will typically leak into the bottom depending on the size of your crockpot) I would use that to cut down the mess.

And then here's me over here with no tin foil or bags:

If you give it a try and like it or tweak it or hate it let me know. I'm always looking for ways to change up a recipe and make it my own, feel free to share how you make a recipe your own!

Friday, November 21, 2014


White crayon finally got to see the light of day! Today we did white crayon relief art. The basic idea is that you draw with the white crayon then let the child paint with watercolor or in our case food coloring and water.

Some people use ice cube trays, but I like to use small glad containers as I can have each color separate.

I only fill each container a small amount so that it stays flat in the bag making it easier to move around for L. I also take a knife or even hands and split the ice circle in half, and even that you could get a couple pictures out of.

For our pictures I decided to go with a snowman and a pumpkin for a fall and winter picture. Obviously I couldn't take a picture of the drawing since it wouldn't show up so I'll show you what it looked like after L painted.

The snowman is a bit hard to see since it was our second picture and L was ready for nap time by that point. As you can see the pumpkin got ripped, that was the last use of that bag and I think it got far too wet in there and the paper stuck to the bag.

This time I let L paint in his pack and play since it was close to nap time and I didn't want him getting overly cranky in the highchair. 

Once the paintings were dry I grabbed a glitter glue pen and traced over the crayon to make them sparkle. I also cut down the pumpkin to get rid of the ripped part. Here are our finished pictures:

I think they turned out pretty good and I already found some new ideas for future crayon/paint art. Give it a try, share your art or just leave a comment. L and I are always looking to hear from our critics.

Update: can now be seen on Hip Homeschool Moms
Hip Homeschool Moms

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Crockpot Enchiladas

I found this recipe at Heritage Schoolhouse (here). I'm not sure if it's because I used burrito sized tortillas but mine looks NOTHING like her's as I'll show you later.

I really didn't tweak this one very much since I wanted to stay as close as I could to the original. As I said earlier I used burrito sized tortillas and as I'm reading the recipe in my kitchen I get to the part where she says you may have to overlap to do two I laughed. There was no way I was going to fit two in my crockpot. Just one folded up on the sides. It's what I had so I just went with it.

The other HUGE mistake I made was to use way too much enchilada sauce. The only can I could find could have doubled this recipe (shows how much I pay attention). I also couldn't find enchilada sauce at Aldis so we had to go to Target as well and the can I found was double what I needed (which of course I didn't realize till after I poured the whole thing in).

I used light red kidney beans as my "ranch style beans" and they tasted pretty good in it. We did also toss lettuce and tomatoes on top, I would have done some sour cream too but we were out.

Overall it was pretty good, S even had 3 helpings! The taste of enchilada sauce was pretty overwhelming for me so I think next time I would pay more attention to the amount that I need to put in.

As you can see there is a BIG difference between mine and the original recipe (on the right).

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Crock Pot Chicken and Stuffing

I am so sad I did not get a picture of this glorious meal. It was beyond delish, even S liked it and he rarely likes anything I make. This recipe I found by googling crock pot recipes, call the pinterest police I’ve gone rouge. The site is called iSaveAtoZ and it has some amazing recipes not just for the crock pot, eggnog cookies anyone? The recipe for the chicken and stuffing can be found here.

So again I had to tweak this one based on what I had on hand and for the fact that I didn’t need 4 servings. I tweaked this one far less than the pizza pasta recipe, but the only real tweaks I made were cutting the recipe in half and using canned green beans instead of frozen. Here’s how I made mine:

I put two frozen chicken breasts on the bottom of the crock pot, the recipe states to use defrosted, but I chose this recipe last minute so frozen it was.

Next came the stuffing, S and I LOVE stuffing so I really covered the chicken breasts till you couldn’t even tell there was anything under the stuffing.

I used one can of cream of chicken soup and ½ cup of sour cream. Now I’m not sure how they got the soup mixture to look like that in the picture (I’m guessing they actually smoothed it over the top), but mine did not look like that. Mine looked like globs on top of stuffing, could I have smoothed it over the top? Sure, but really who was has time for that when the recipe clearly states to just top it over the stuffing (that really leaves it open to interpretation). Either way whether you smooth or glob it still tastes pretty darn good.

I completely drained the green beans before adding them to the top of the mixture. I really should have been paying more attention when I was grabbing the can out of the pantry, because I added cut green beans not whole and astetically it would have looked better with whole, but again who am I trying to impress.

Last but not least I added ½ cup of water to the top.

Since the chicken was frozen when I started I turned the crock pot on high for about 4 hours, after that I switched it down to low. When I switched the heat I fluffed up the top mixture and stirred it a bit to make sure the stuffing was getting enough moisture.

Let me tell you the smells coming from my kitchen while this was cooking were amazing. It was like a whole Thanksgiving meal in one beautiful, easy to clean up pot. The chicken was so moist and almost hit the melt in your mouth level of amazing. I would give this one five stars and will be making it again in the near future. The added bonus of this recipe is that the cost is pretty low while not being horribly unhealthy.

As always let me know if you’ve tried this, something similar or just think it sounds amazing. Stay tuned for future crock pot madness.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Oh the snowflakes inside and out

I decided quite a while ago I wanted L’s first Christmas to be magical. Even though I know he won’t remember he can still look back at the photos. So in my Pinterest search I found quite a few DIY ideas that would be really low cost and fun to make.

I decided to start with something simple that I could decorate the windows with and it wasn’t overly Christmasy since I was starting in the beginning of November. Now when I started this Minnesota was still having fairly good weather (50s and 60s is pretty good for the beginning of November), since finishing we have now dropped to the single digits and have, at the very least, 6 inches of snow. I’m sorry Minnesota I may have cursed us by making…snowflakes. Oh but what pretty snowflakes they are.

Now when I was a kid we always made snowflakes out of paper and for the most part the whole class had pretty similar looking snowflakes. I was imagining mine would look much the same as they did then. Pinterest saved me again from furthering the cookie cutter snowflake. I first found the idea of using coffee filters on this  site. You can obviously find coffee filters just about anywhere, I got mine at Target for less than $1 for 100.

Now on the site it’s not super detailed on how to fold and she gives a very basic example of some that she made. I folded mine in half three times, I will say it is a lot easier to get the fold even if you flatten the coffee filters. It took me a bit to realize my snowflakes weren’t being cut evenly because of the fold so I grabbed two old textbooks and put three or four filters in between. Much better after that.
The designs and ideas on the above site didn’t really grab me, especially after seeing many gorgeous paper snowflakes. So I decided to adapt them for the coffee filters. Underneath each picture is the site where I found them and then I will show you the ones I made so far. I mostly free hand cut from the designs and even made a few by just cutting. The fun thing about most of these designs is that you can flip them for either the fold or the other side.

Designs I have found and used:

Sweet Home The site is not in English but has so many designs you could go snowflake crazy and you really just need the pictures anyway.

Lapappadolce you can switch this one to English but as I said above not really necessary. Very detailed pictures.  If you search snowflake on the site there are many more designs.

Now I will show you how I do mine. I decided to use the following pattern found on Life is Sweet:

First fold is just in half (I didn't flatten my coffee filter for this one as you will see)

In half again

And last fold in half

Then you cut. I free hand cut while looking at the picture, as you will see mine do not always turn out exactly like the pattern but that's ok. If you really don't like one you can either hide it among the others or start over.

Here is my patio door covered in snowflakes (ignore the dog nose art, I refuse to wash the outside of windows in winter and hey they should be able to join in the artistic fun too).

I hope you all enjoy making snowflakes as much as I did and hey show them off here too, I would love to see others!

Update: This project and many others from other sites can now be seen on It's So very Cheri