Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ooey Gooey Butterscotch? Chocolate Brownies

In my church we have a young women's group that I'm a leader for.  All of us leaders got together for a meeting one day, and the Young Women's President made these delicious chocolate-y peanut butter-y marshmallow-y treats.  I was searching for the recipe for a couple of weeks before I finally broke down and asked her for it.  I should have known it came from Our Best Bites!!  I love that blog and would not at all mind having the cookbook.

The original recipe calls for peanut butter chips, but my friend used crushed up Reese's PB cups--YUMMMMM!  I didn't have PB chips or PB cups, but I did have butterscotch chips and really didn't want to have to run to the store.  The butterscotch chips were okay, I think the PB chips would have been better, but the PB cups are seriously the best idea ever!!  If I make it again I will be making it a point to go out and buy some Reese's.

Chocolate, peanut butter, sweetened condensed milk, and marshmallows...seriously, what is better than that?!?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Update on the Twiggy Vase

A couple of weeks ago I made a "vase" out of twigs.  Now that we're officially in the holiday season I switched out the fake flowers I had in it for these winter-y Christmas-y branches, and I love it. 

I'm still trying to accumulate Christmas decorations and our house seems to be looking a little sparsely decorated, so this is perfect for one of our counters that needed some Holiday cheer.  (And, yes, I did do my Christmas decorating before my least one of those sinks in the background is full of clean dishes!)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cinnamon Roll Pie Crust

I found this pie crust on pinterest and knew I had to use it for an apple pie this year for Thanksgiving!  This was really easy and fun to make!  

I just used a Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust, buttered it, and generously sprinkled cinnamon all over it.  I rolled it up, cut it into small, mini-cinni-rolls, and squished them into the pie dish.  I used the ends without much cinnamon to fill in some of the cracks where the dish was showing through.

I forgot to get a picture after the pie came out of the oven (and it didn't last long), but here's the recipe of my mom's that I used, anyway.

Apple Crumb Pie
5-7 apples (5 cups of sliced apples)
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp flour
1 9-inch unbaked pie shell

Arrange apples in unbaked shell.  Mix sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour and sprinkle over the apples.

1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup butter

Mix the sugar and flour, cut in the butter, and sprinkle over everything already in the pie.  Tap it down a little, if needed.

Bake for 40 minutes at 400 degrees or until done.  Cool.

This is the easiest pie ever, and the crust made it even better!!  My mom usually uses tapioca instead of flour in the first mixture, and I actually like that a lot better, but I don't know how she does it!!  Next time, gadget.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Onesie with Felt

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

For the little guy's first Thanksgiving I had to make this cute onesie I saw here.  I think she used puff paint or something, but I just used felt and some googly eyes.

It was a little tricky sewing all the pieces on.  I really wish I had just done an iron-on transfer or something.  It took a little while, and the , but it turned out really cute!  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How to Make Laundry Detergent

A lot of the things I pin are budget-friendly ideas.  Even with my husband in school, we're trying to stay as much out of debt as we can.  He works full time while going to school full time, and I work part time from home while I stay home with the baby.  It's busy, and we don't spend nearly as much time together as we would really like, but we keep telling ourselves it will be worth it when we don't have student loans for years and years.

I found a tutorial on how to make your own laundry detergent and decided I had to try it out.  The detergent supplies cost less than $10, and since you only use 2 tablespoons per load, it is suuuuper cheap!!  All the tutorials I've seen for this say it costs between 5 and 8 cents a load.  To compare, I found that Tide powder detergent is about 17 cents a load and liquid Tide is 20 cents a load.  Since I added the Sun Oxygen Cleaner (not pictured) to mine, it added another few cents a load, but I would be adding that to any detergent I use, so I didn't add it into the price.

First, get the supplies.  For each bar of Fels-Naptha (or other laundry soap), you will need 1 cup Borax, 1 cup Super Washing Soda, and 1/4 cup Baking Soda.

I used Fels-Naptha (which also is great to pre-treat clothes and get out stains of anything--we used this at my house growing up and it works miracles), but I've also seen tutorials using Pink Zote soap and Kirk's Castile.  I've even seen some using plain old Ivory soap, but I think something made for laundry will work better.  For the bar soap I think you can use whatever you like or have at your local store.

I picked all of this up at Wally World (even though my husband is trying to convince me not to go there), and it was relatively cheap.  I'm sure that you could find even better deals if you're a coupon-cutting deal monger, but I don't have patience when it comes to shopping around.  I ended up using a different container that I already had because I wanted something I could scoop out of instead of pour.

Then, you grate the bar of Fels-Naptha (or laundry soap bar of your preference).  When the entire bar is grated, dump the shavings into a food processor and grind it up until it's a coarsely ground powder.

Lastly, you mix everything together, throw it into an airtight container, and find/make a cute label to slap on.

The original "recipe" doesn't mention any kind of oxygen cleaner (like Oxi-Clean or Sun Oxygen Cleaner), but I'm obsessed with it, so I figured out you need about equal parts laundry detergent and Oxi-Clean.  It's easiest to add the Oxi-Clean after you mix everything else up; you can just dump approximately the same amount into your container and shake it up.  This isn't an exact science; I added about 2 cups to the 3-ish cups of detergent I made.  Then use 3 or 4 tablespoons of detergent instead of 2.  

The blog I got this tutorial from had a cute label that I copied into Word (don't worry, she made it available to use) and tweaked just a little.  I've only used it in a few loads so far, but I'm loving it!  It smells nice but isn't too strong (except while you're stirring all the detergent particles into the air) and is so cheap I don't know if I'll ever go back to buying detergent.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sticky Muffin Buns

I seriously have no idea what to call these.  The Pioneer Woman calls them Monkey Muffins.  You can look at her website for the recipe and lots of pictures that will make you drool so much you'll have to make them before you do anything else.

The great thing about these is that you don't have to mix anything at all!!  You just dump it all in a muffin tin and let it bake.  And you can make as few (or as many) as you want.  These would be easy in ramekins for just one or two people.

Here are a couple of pictures to get you enticed (although Pioneer Woman's look a little better...).

We may have been too excited to eat these that I forgot to take a picture right when they came out of the oven...

The cinnamon and sugar kind of slipped down the sides of mine instead of staying on top...and f.y.i. that is extra sweetened condensed milk in that empty tin (does that look like an egg to anyone else....??).

Even though the tops didn't look perfect, as soon as I popped them out onto a plate they looked absolutely delicious.

They tasted ten times better than they looked.  And they are super easy.  These will definitely be made again (maybe one morning that the family is together this week...??)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Twiggy "Vase"

I've been big into decorating lately....or at least trying.  The house we're living in is kind of overwhelming to me as far as decorating goes.  We've lived here about a year and a half and I haven't really decorated at all because we weren't supposed to be here for very long.  We're still here, and I'm starting to think that I should try to make this a little homier for us.

This little project I've seen a lot on Pinterest.  I saw this first:

A super cute candle holder.  I really like this idea because you can see the flames through the twigs, and it seems so perfect for fall.  

Then I saw this one: 

And I knew I had to make it.  Immediately.  

I used an old cho mein noodles can, covered it in black paper, cut the twigs to size (a little bit random, but all roughly the same height), and hot glued them on.  Easiest, cheapest fall decoration ever.  

I filled it with some rocks I had been using as a filler in a vase (you could easily use rice or beans or something else) and threw in some fake flowers I had.    

I love that you could put whatever you want in these.  I love the look of the one above that is completely full of twigs and fall leaves and a little sunflower.  I'll probably run outside and cut some more twigs to put in mine to fill it up some more.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ten-Minute Caramels

I found this recipe the other night on Pinterest and almost immediately ran downstairs to the kitchen and whipped these up.  

First, dump these ingredients into a bowl:
1/4 c butter
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c light corn syrup
1/2 c sweetened condensed milk

Give it a quick stir.

Microwave for 2 minutes.


Microwave another 2 minutes.


Microwave another two minutes.


And pour it into a lightly buttered dish.  

Let it sit until it's set up.

And enjoy the easiest caramels in history!!

These are actually really good.  I still prefer the original, super time-consuming caramels, but for how little time these take to make, sooo worth it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

How to Trim Your Bangs

I have cut/trimmed/butchered my bangs A. LOT.  I've watched about a million youtube videos to get the perfect bang trim, and I finally found one that "makes the cut."  You can find the video here.

The before:

The After:

The one thing in this video that made the difference for me was the angle she held her hair when trimming her bangs.  Everything else I had heard before, but this was a game changer!

Easy does it!  You want to go slowly and go over your bangs multiple times when you're making cuts so that it will lay nicely and blend.  If you didn't take enough off go back and do it again.  If you take too much off....I hope you know how the braid those bangs back (and you have enough left to do it)!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Crocheted Knotted Headband

So I saw this a while ago and have been wanting to make one for a while.  First I made this one...

 And it fit my baby's head...also the knot didn't really show up very well.  I thought maybe it would look cooler with two different colors.

So I made this one...

And thought it turned out kind of weird looking.  I wondered if maybe it would look better on, and it kind of did.

Ummm...Nope.  Not loving it.

Not really at all.  Trust me, it looks better in the pictures (and I don't even think it looks that great in the pictures...).

See those flower earrings??  That's another project that did turn out amazingly.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Save My Pants!! Phase 4: Taking in the Waist Band

The first few posts about saving my pants were Turning Flares into SkinniesRepairing a tear at the ankle, and Making the Pockets Stay Tucked.  Now for the final step--taking in the waistband!

This part was the trickiest, but this tutorial (found via....Pinterest!....shocking) is the one I used, and it makes it sooo simple!  I'm not even going to try to do a better job.  Just go there and follow the instructions.  I'm not going to lie, it wasn't a piece of cake, but with the tutorial I really think anyone could do it.

So....the end result....

The waistband fits perfectly.
The pockets will never come out again mwa-ha-ha-ha.

They look like mom jeans..........

I'm not loving these now any more than I was before...I really think the main problem is that these jeans were already so old and worn.  Also, I can't pull off skinny jeans.  They always look the best on skinny mini girls.  Third, I don't think these pants could handle all of the changes I made (or maybe I couldn't handle all the changes the pants needed?).

My recommendation--don't do all of these things to one pair of pants!!  If it's just one thing to fix I think it will turn out looking a lot better.  I would still recommend practicing all of these things with a pair of pants you wouldn't be heartbroken to lose just in case.  

Good luck if you try to tackle any of these fixes.  I would love to see how you do, and if you have any tips I would love to hear them!

EDIT:  I just today found a new way of taking in the waistband that is 1) requires no measuring, 2) is waaay less time consuming, and is 3) such a better idea all around.  No, I have not tried it yet, but I'm 100% positive it's better than what I tried!

Go to this blog to see how it's done.

Save My Pants!! Phase 3: Making the Pockets Stay Tucked.

If you missed the first couple of posts on these pants, you can check them out here, where I Turn Flares into Skinnies and Repair a Tear at the Ankle.

I needed to fix the pockets on these pants.

They are little exhibitionists and are constantly coming out and exposing themselves.  I had to put a stop to it.  BTW--No, I didn't purposefully pull out the pockets for the pictures.  They are that annoying that I didn't even have to...

This is the easiest fix for these pants, and I should have done it years ago, because it's been a problem since day one.  I kept going back and forth between if I even wanted the pockets to be functional, because I really don't use front pockets.  I decided that to maintain the look of the pants and keep the original stitching and everything it would be easiest to just stitch the pockets up and cut them off.  So that's exactly what I did.  (See the bottom of this post for an idea on keeping the pockets.)

Keep your pants right-side out, then make sure the inside of the pocket is very flat.  Pull along the outside of the pocket so that everything is very smooth like this.

Then pin it...

Then sew it...Right along the same line that is already there.  That way no one will ever know you were there. Until someone borrows your pants and says, "What the heck, my chapstick has no home in these pants."

Repeat on the other front pocket.

When both pockets are sewn completely shut,

turn inside out and cut off the excess.  Or don't.  Whatev.  This part is only for comfort.  If you want the option of someday having pockets again you can leave them and then just unpick them if you decide you need them back.

And tomorrow I will show you the complete reveal for the pants with the waistband fix.  :)

If you want your pockets to be functional (and stay tucked in), here is an idea for along the edge of the pockets, through the front layer of your pants, then go over it with embroidery floss to match the seams on the rest of your pants.  It would look kind of like this:

But on jeans...sorry.  All I have with those kind of pockets are khakis, but I'm sure it could look cute on jeans too.