Monday, January 30, 2012

Cinnamon-Sugar Pretzels

Who doesn't love a crunchy sweet & salty snack!  Disclaimer:  This is absolutely not a healthy snack...but it's tasty!  And probably not as unhealthy as, say, these Sticky Muffin Buns, or these Ooey-Gooey Butterscotch Brownies, or even these easy Ten-Minute Caramels.  They are, however, just as easy as the ten-minute caramels, but they have more baking time.

Start with:
2/3-cup vegetable oil
1/2-cup sugar
1-tsp cinnamon
(mix these together--I just used the liquid measuring cup I used to measure out the oil)

1 bag pretzels
(put these in an oven-safe dish or roasting pan)

Pour the oil mixture over the pretzels and give it a stir...

Throw it in the oven (at 300 degrees).

Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring every ten minutes.

And you're done!!  Wait for a few seconds minutes for these to cool before scarfing them up.  These are good cool, but I really liked them when they were still warm from the oven.  

THE FINAL REVIEW:  It was a great (once in a while) snack.  When I saw these on Pinterest it looked like the sugar had caramelized into a kind of toffee, and it didn't (at least when I tried it).  The sugar was definitely just as granular as it started, and it didn't really melt over the pretzels like I was expecting it to.  I had extra sugar and oil in the bottom of my dish after baking these for about 40 minutes, so I wish I had used the entire bag (I used about 3/4 of the bag).  Overall these were good, but I think next time I have a hankering for something sweet & salty I'll try these pretzels instead.

For the original tutorial go to  

Friday, January 27, 2012

Fit Friday: Week 3

best running shoes for women

Scott and I are going to San Diego soon.  Maybe I can run on the beach like this girl...?  That is one long stride, right???  And some short shorts...don't know if I can pull that off.  My legs are, like, 5 inches long and do not have the capability for either of those things.


--Begin with a 5-minute warmup walk, then complete two sets of the following:  Run 90 seconds, walk 90 seconds, run 3 minutes, walk three minutes.

Monday, January 16--1.65 miles--171.1 calories
Wednesday, January 18--1.67 miles--171.6 calories
Saturday, January 21--1.702 miles--177.1 calories
     + Friday, January 20--0.587 miles--59.5 calories

So on Friday I started my workout, but I just ran out of time and had to quit way early.  So I started all the way over on Saturday...I am using Saturday as a makeup day for if I can't make my run during the week.  I hate working out on Saturdays because I want it to be a rest/hang out day with the fam, but it's definitely nice to have a chance to make up a workout that I miss.  I'm the type of person to give up on my entire goal if I screw up one week (or if I'm really feeling ambitious I'll start all the way over), so I really needed to give myself a second chance somewhere.  This works perfectly for me!

And how am I doing on the plank challenge...???  Umm...remember about five seconds ago when I said I'm the type to give up if I don't do something exactly right...?  Ha.  I kept forgetting to do my plank before bed (it was a part of my night routine until I started having to stay up late and work, and by the time I got in bed I just crashed), so I kind of plateaued at 2:30.  I've still done it when I remember (about half the time), but I only go for 2:30 and then I'm practically to the floor anyway. I still want to be able to plank for 5 minutes, but I'm pretty sure I won't make that in the next four days (remember, my goal was by February?).  Maybe I can get it by the end of February.  This year IS a leap year, so I am getting an extra day then normal--Okay, let's just say I will be planking 5 minutes by February 29!

P.S.  The first two or three days the plank made me pretty sore, but I haven't been sore since.  At all.  I shake and shake during the plank and for about a minute afterward, but then I'm good.  So if you try it, do not give up.  It really does get better.

P.P.S.  I saw these on Dr. Oz a couple of years ago...

Bare-Foot Running Shoes

And I think they're totally weird.  But I kind of want to try them out.  Not anytime soon, but maybe if I turn into a run-aholic...My toes (like my legs) are really short and stubby, so I wonder if these come in different toe-lengths.  I've seen some people with toes twice as long as mine; I don't think these are "one size 6 1/2 fits all 6 1/2."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fat Quarter = 5+ Yards of Bias Tape

Yep.  You heard me.  Headlines are being made right now, thanks to this idea.  Five (I actually got more like 5 1/2) yards of bias tape from a $2 fat quarter!!

I forgot to take pictures until I was halfway through (and then I forgot again until I was completely done), so for real step-by-step instructions go to this blog.  She has a really great picture tutorial.  Make sure you follow every step or you may end up with this...

that you have to unpick for the next hour (it probably won't take you an hour, unless you have a sad, unsleeping baby that you have to take care of in the middle of the un-picking).

The thing that is even more amazing is that you waste hardly anything!  My bias tape is all ironed and rolled up, so it looks kind of tiny? but that teeny pile above it is all the fabric I cut off and didn't use (about 1 inch x 1/4 of a yard).  HOW AWESOME IS THAT!

Then you can use it for a cute blanket (that was going to be a carseat blanket...until the baby grew out of his carseat...).

Isn't it so much cuter than just the plain, solid colors you can buy??

Then give it the baby test!


Is this going to change your life like it has mine?!?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Easy Rainbow Cake

We had a church youth activity this past week I made this cake for.  We had an "unbirthday party" for all the girls where we played games and had treats...and CAKE!  I mean, really, what's a birthday party without cake.  I was really excited to have an excuse to be able to try out this pin.

It is unbelievably easy to do (so my style) and turned out great.

You basically just take a white cake (I've heard that yellow works well too)...

Separate it into as many dishes as you want colors, add food coloring, and drop it into your cake pans.

Unfortunately, the only pictures I got were of the batter and the leftovers...

One piece of cake (which only lasted about 30 seconds for this picture).

THE FINAL REVIEW:  Love it!  Definitely take the recommendation to buy gel food coloring.  It made the colors really vibrant, and I don't think it would work quite as well with drop food coloring.  I've seen recommendations to use half the tube of food coloring per layer on this cake; I didn't do it because it seemed like a lot.  The colors do look more vibrant as batter, so I would add a little bit at a time until you think it's good, and then add just a little more to account for that, but I didn't come close to using half a tube.  This was really fun and sooo worth a few extra dishes.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fit Friday: Week 2

Image via


--Begin with a 5 minute warmup walk, then run 90 seconds, walk 2 minutes, for a total of 20 minutes.

Monday, January 9--1.76 miles--181 calories
Wednesday, January 11--1.8 miles--184.3 calories
Friday, January 13--1/85 miles--188.8 calories

Okay, I had a breakthrough!!  On Friday I was really tired after my run, but I didn't feel like dying!!!  I sat down for a minute and then I felt so good I started playing Dance Central, and let me tell you, if dancing could kill I would have had a room of dead bodies (I'm really glad that it can't, though, because it was just me and the baby in the room...).  I felt so good all day!!  Even during the run I felt better than I had the previous week.  

Scott and I also started this five minute plank challenge earlier this month.  If you don't know what a plank is (no, not this kind of planking...), look at the first picture at the beginning of this post.  So, you start just doing a ten-second plank, then every day you add ten more seconds until you're at five minutes.  Easy, peasy.  We got a late start, so we figured we could just start at one minute and then add ten seconds every day, and we would still be done by the end of January.  Aghhhhhhh I'm dying.  About 30 seconds into my plank I would rather be this guy:

image via

But we're sticking it out.  We've missed a few of days (the first night we just plain forgot and then the next night we were out late), so we'll see if we can get to five minutes before February.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Update on the Homemade Detergents

The laundry detergent--I like it.  I LOVE IT.  I need (to make) some more of it.  The single batch I made to try it out lasted about a month and a half.  I do about 5 or 6 loads of laundry a week, so if you make the tutorial it should last at least 30 loads.  I just started using less detergent (about 1 1/2 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp of Oxi-Clean), and my clothes are still coming out just as great.  So it could last even longer this next time!!  And you better believe I'm quadrupling the "recipe" this time because I love it so much.

The dish detergent--HATE IT.  I've been using it for about a month, maybe a little longer, and I absolutely hate it.  I was using vinegar as a rinse aid, and for the first couple of washes I thought it was great, but after a few more loads the dishes that I wash repeatedly (bowls for baby food, tupperware containers, glasses) started accumulating a super nasty film.  I ended up washing the dishes after they went through the dishwasher more often then not, so I switched back to the store bought detergent, and, still using the vinegar as a rinse aid, I have sparkling dishes again!  I haven't even used half of the detergent I made (I may have doubled the "recipe" for the dishwasher detergent because of my false expectations), so I'm trying to figure out if I can tweak it to use for my laundry!  I can't imagine the salt would hurt anything, but I don't know how I feel about washing my clothes in lemonade...

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Sock Bun

This little guy is a cool one!  I found this video (via Pinterest) about, wait, what???  A sock bun??  Yes!  A bun using an old sock!!  

At first I was skeptical that this would even come close to working on my hair (or anyone's hair for that matter...) since it's kind of thin and I don't have a ton of it.

But this worked amazingly well.  You can either wear it as a hairstyle, OR (this is where it gets good) use it to curl your hair WHILE YOU SLEEP!  It's basically like using those old school foam curlers, but you get soft waves instead of tight curls.  I'm still perfecting this, so I may do an update with some pictures of that when I get it right.

This is so easy.  You get an old sock (I used one of my husband's longer, black trouser socks--don't worry, it had a hole in it so I didn't steal it, I "saved" it from the trash) and cut the toe off.  Then you roll it up so it looks like a donut, and then you slide your hair (ponytailed) through the middle, and roll it up.  

For more detailed instructions watch the video on Youtube.  The major trick is how you roll it.  Once you have a roll or two, start spreading your hair out so that it's rolling around the entire sock every roll (rather than spiraling the hair around the sock-donut).  This stayed pretty well all day, and I didn't pin it at all.

How great, and EASY, right??  Thank you, Pinterest, you've done it again.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fit Friday: Week 1

Pinned Image

For the record, this isn't a New Year's Resolution, it just happens to be January when I'm deciding to do maybe it is a New Year's Resolution and I'm just in denial...but I'm seriously doing this.  I'm training.  So far it's only for a 5K, but I have this crazy idea that I'm going to do a mini-triathlon this we'll see what it turns into.  But going from a mostly sedentary lifestyle to trying to run is HARD.  So here we go.

I found this 5K training plan that I'm using.  It says it's for beginners, so I don't know what that means I am...!  It starts with running a minute at a time--easy, right?  It KILLS me by the end!!

I'm going to update on how my past week was every Friday, mostly just to document how I'm doing.  While this isn't really my normal crafty project, it's definitely going to be a project, and I need some accountability to keep me on track.  I'll be running three times a week using the training plan I printed out and hung in front of the treadmill.


--Each day, start with a 5 minute warmup walk, then run 60 seconds, walk 90 seconds, for a total of 20 minutes.

Tuesday, January 3--1.654 miles--170.1 calories
Thursday, January 5--1.7 miles--174.1 calories
Saturday, January 7--1.8 miles--185.5 calories

I'm hoping this gets easier.  Waking up a half hour early just to make my body ache feels like torture.  The positive side is that since I started this plan I've been more productive than I have been in a long time (maybe since I first had Duncan 8 months ago?).  I think starting my day off right is making a difference.  Now I just need some Wheaties.

Pinned Image

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pepperoni Roll Ups

When I saw this idea, I just knew my husband (and I) would absolutely love this.  Think about it--cheese and pepperoni surrounded by a flaky crescent roll--doesn't it just sound delicious?!

I didn't have the foodorial (like will catch on someday...) pulled up, so I just guessed on the assembly.  

I separated the crescent rolls into triangles, layered on some pepperoni slices, and laid an entire string cheese on top.  On the site I saw these on, she only used half a string cheese.  Then I just rolled them up (trying to stretch everything to make it fit).

So...this is what I ended up with.  I used a crescent "square" instead of triangle on the one in the middle.  I was trying to see which would work better.  Oh, and the other two in the middle were just string cheese--I was thinking breadsticks...

When they came out of the oven, they looked pretty delish.  But, even with marinara dipping sauce, they just were not doing it for either my husband or me.

THE FINAL REVIEW:  I probably won't do these again...I didn't love the buttery-ness of the crescent rolls with all the oils from the pepperoni and cheese; it just didn't seem to mesh.  If you're looking for some awesome pizza-style appetizers, try these pizza bites.  I could literally eat all of them.  If I made them when my husband wasn't home.  Otherwise, he would smell them and come running.