Monday, May 31, 2010

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Blog Inspired Cooking

Let me show you my recent kitchen creations inspired by two blogs I follow.

The first is Braided Lemon Bread which I read about on the blog Smitten Kitchen.  I give the recipe an A for appearance with a B for taste.  It was pretty good, but not great.

The second is Spaghetti Dogs which I saw pictured on the blog Petunia Face.  Logan thought these were the best things ever.  My plate had the addition of an onion & ketchup sauce.  This idea / recipe is a twist on a "delicacy" (ha) from my grandmother's kitchen.

Those Spaghetti Dogs make me laugh.

Lite-Brites Done Right

In honor of today's Indianapolis 500 let me present you with a ... do I call this a sculpture?  Art?  Craft?  I'm not sure.

I saw this ... hmm ... car for sale yesterday at the Midland Antique and Art Market in Indianapolis.  Yes, it is made out of Lite-Brites.  A closer look -

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Two USA Today Goodies

This blog is supposed to be about my house renovation, but it seems there are too many interesting tidbits in the world for me to stay on topic all the time. For example, these two goodies from the USA Today.

#1 - Why do mothers judge one another and their parenting?
To my knowledge I have never had another mother critisize my parenting out loud to my face.  I wonder why that is?  Could it be that I try my best not to hang out with dorks or is it that other mothers sense my charming "you are going to get a middle finger in your face if you say something stupid about my parenting" trait?  Lets be honest, it's definitely the latter.

#2 - Author writing about Sarah Palin moves next door to her 
Joe McGinnis is the author!!!  For real.  Joe McGinniss wrote the book Fatal Vision about the Jeffrey McDonald case among other interesting true crime books.   I would be so thrilled if Joe McGinniss moved next door to me.  I'd be over at his house asking him about a million questions a day.  I bet he'd give up his writing project just to get rid of me.


I absolutely do not have permission to post this photo on my blog, but I am willing to risk the consequences. This is my cousin's baby Ella. One cannot have a baby this cute and think her picture is not going to end up on the world wide web!

My sister gets to keep Ella every day while my cousin and her husband are at work.  I am so jealous.

My New Boyfriends

Plural you see. Look at them. Aren't they just the best?

I ordered them online recently from One Kings Lane.  I have had this clipping from a catalog of these exact same guys for some time, so when One Kings Lane had a Legend of Asia sale I snatched them up.

If you aren't signed up to receive One Kings Lane daily emails about their sales I suggest you do so.  You know that "Oh goody!!" feeling you get when you receive a new catalog in the mail from a company you really like?  That is what it is like opening up the One Kings Lane daily emails.  Plus, you get to see this beautiful dog with each email - 

ABC News describes membership shopping sites such as One Kings Lane in an online article:
"A growing trend of membership shopping Web sites brings the sample sales of New York City and Los Angeles — special events selling brand name items at discounted prices — directly to your computer.  Best of all, these deals are available to everyone. All you have to do is register ... The sales usually begin at 11am or 12pm ET, depending on the site, and last between 36 and 48 hours. All items are marked down from their regular prices, sometimes by as much as 80 percent."

Below is a list of the shopping sites of which I am a member with the blurbs from each site as to how they describe themselves.

Gilt Groupe
Get access to today's premier fashion and luxury brands at up to 70% off retail. Membership is free and we accept new members daily.

HauteLook brings the thrill back to shopping through exclusive, limited-time, online sale events. Each day, HauteLook partners with premium fashion and lifestyle brands to create private, upscale sale events at savings of up to 75% off retail prices. HauteLook is free to join and everyone is welcome.

One Kings Lane
The world's top home decor brands and designers at up to 70% off retail. Free membership, new sales daily.

Rue La La
Rue La La is an exclusive online destination of premier brand, private sale Boutiques that are open just two days each.

Monday, May 24, 2010


B.E.D. = Best Ever Dog.  Today is our dog Dolly's 6th birthday.  She is a good dog, a really good dog.  Thanks to her for tolerating this kind of treatment on a daily basis -

Motivational Speaker

I'm starting a new series called Cartoon of the Week.

This one is dedicated to my husband -

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Springfield Antique Show & Flea Market

Last weekend Logan & I went to the Springfield Antique Show & Flea Market in Springfield, OH which is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Indianapolis.  Mike was away for the weekend so the timing of this trip worked out well, not that Mike is opposed to attending a flea market.  This big flea market is held 2 times a year in May and September.  It was OK.  I am giving it a grade of a solid C.  I would have preferred more cool large accessory type items.  Instead there were lots of glassware, plates, dishes and primitive style things.  I did come away with a few good finds.

Cool cage lights for our garage ceiling -

Glove mold for me -

Glove mold for Logan -

A cool wall basket something-or-other I am planning to hang on one of my bathroom walls -

Pretty cool, huh?  It is hard to tell from the pictures, but the white dots are half round stones of some sort -

This to use on one of Logan's bedroom shelves -

Logan really wanted me to buy this chair -

Logan was very good while we were shopping.  She didn't have too much to complain about since this was how she shopped the majority of the time -

Stair Risers

See the tile on the risers of these stairs?

(photo via House of Turquoise)

I am SO doing that. Mark my word. OK, I am not physically going to do that. Merlyn the wonder tile man is going to do that.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Neighbors Think We're Crazy

And you know we just don't care.  In the corner of our front yard there are/were these big, tall and skinny evergreen trees that I despised.  I didn't like how they looked.  I didn't like that they blocked the corner of the street (when you are at home all day every day the action going on in the street becomes very important).  Here is a view of the trees (as well as the rear of one of our guests) from the day of Logan's party -

Mike suggested that he would trim the trees way down and transform them into a row of shaped evergreen shrubs.  I said they couldn't look any worse than they did already so I didn't care what he did.  One afternoon and a chainsaw later I got what I asked for -

Now we've got all of this to get rid of -

Isn't it green here right now!?!?  Indiana can be so green in the spring and summer.  The tale we were told by the neighbors who were wondering what in the h*ll Mike was doing with these trees was that a previous owner of our house had a falling out with the neighbors who used to own the house across the street so she planted those trees to block her view of their house.  She certainly accomplished her mission.  Luckily, we don't have any neighbor issues (who knows after this tree masacre though) and I am very much enjoying the street corner opened up for me to see.  Who knows, maybe Mike will Edward-Sissorhands me something like this one day -

The Search is Over

I've finally found the Corduroy Air-cushioned Inflatable Headboard for which I've been searching.  Whew!  I was getting nervous.

Here at

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Yucky Words

I overheard the parents of two of the other kids in my daughter's preschool class conversing Monday during pick up time.  One parent suggested to the other that they make arrangements for a "playdate" for their kids.  I really dislike the word (or phrase or whatever you want to call it) "playdate".  Whatever happened to just asking if another kid can "come over and play"?  The word "playdate" for me is in the same yucky word catagory as the word "precious".  Except when coming out of the mouth of this guy of course ...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sitting Chair

I don't have a lot to compare it to, but I believe Indianapolis has a crappy Craig's List for a city it's size.  Here's a goodie I found this morning.  It's not the chair in this ad that makes this listing stand out, it's the title.  Sitting Chair?  Exactly what other kind of chairs are there?

Sitting chair - $40 (South)

Comfortable old sitting chair
$40 OBO
Call 490-3573
  • Location: South
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

That is a pretty cute chair though.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Check Is In The Mail


Do you know about  If not, you should.  Say, for instance, you are ordering something from an online retailer such as Nordstrom, Barnes & Noble, Target, even eBay (there are over 1,200 stores) you first sign in to the website then choose the site where you want to shop.  A new screen with an eBates ticket number opens up that directs you to your intended site.  With every purchase you receive a percentage of your shopping total that is placed in your eBates account.  The percentages vary per site but usually range within 3% - 10% of your purchase amount.  Once a quarter eBates either sends you a check for the amount you accumulated that quarter or makes a deposit into your PayPal account.  I've been a eBates member for about a year and have earned $165.00.  That's it.  Seriously.  They do have a refer a friend program that if you refer someone you earn $5.00 in your account.  Here is my refer-a-friend link if you'd like to join:

That really isn't why I'm writing about this though.  I was about to order something on eBay, remembered eBates then thought it would be a good "Helpful Hint from Heloise" sort of thing to tell you about.  I actually saw Heloise speak one time.  I thought she was a hag.  All she wanted to do is talk about herself which was not helpful at all.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Oh My!

I just read about the photographer Emily Gilbert on the Decor8 blog and saw the photo of this bathroom.  Oh my!  I LUV that bathroom - the wallpaper, the ceiling and trim colors, the mirror, the chandelier - LUVly.  The plaid curtain fabric I only like so-so, but the rest I LUV!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Cake Conversations

I made a really good cake for Logan's birthday party if I must say so myself.  It was a tie dye cake made with Pillsbury white cake mixes and iced with homemade buttercream icing.

Is there anything better than butter AND sugar spread on a cake?  Not yesterday at my house there wasn't.  I had made the cake layers a couple weeks prior to the party, wrapped and froze them.  I highly suggest doing this before a big party.  It made the icing part much more enjoyable.  Friday morning I took the layers out of the freezer letting them thaw while I made the icing.  I had 4 layers which I think where made from 3 boxed cake mixes.  Yes, I'm pretty sure I used 3.  The cake iced beautifully and it stood up straight with no lumps or bumps.  I put sprinkles on top because Logan really digs sprinkles.  I then refrigerated the cake overnight.

The day of the party these are the conversations I am certain took place.

Logan thinking, "Big deal.  My Mom makes cakes like this for me ALL the time."

Logan asking, "So ... what kind of cake did YOUR mother make for your birthday?"

"What about you?"

"Oh, your mother bakes cakes professionally?  Hmm ... I'm guessing you've had cakes as good as this one before then."

"Please, I don't have time for hugs, I have to go talk to some more people about THEIR birthday cakes."

"YIPPEE!!!  I win!  I have the best birthday cake at this party!!"

The insides -


I thought I'd list out the resources I used for Logan's Birthday Party.

These printables were a jpg file I ordered from TracyAnnPrintables on -

I bought 8 1/2 x 11 size printable labels from WalMart.   Craft punches, cardstock paper, ribbon, favor bags and party favors came from Michael's.  All the paper goods came from Party City, including the tablecloths.  I then used the jpg file, my computer and printer, paper cutter, craft punches, sissors, labels and cardstock to make the stickers I placed on the buckets, party hats, banner pendants, little things to stick in the twizzlers and the party favor bags.  I used a craft punch, cardstock paper, tape and ribbon to make the food labels.  For the pendant banner I cut the pendant shapes out of cardstock with a paper cutter, stuck on the center image cut out of the printable labels, punched holes in the corner of each pendant and threaded ribbon through.  I used thumbtacks to hang the pendant from the wall.  What are a few more holes in those garage walls at this point?  Also, I used a staple gun to hang the tablecloth "backdrop" and "wallcoverings".  Again, what are few more holes?

I designed my own invitations using the handy online template from again using that cute owl image from the jpg file.  On the back of these I had printed my contact information -

I also ordered Logan's tee shirt and my apron from  (See previous post.)

Here are the directions from good ole Martha for the tissue paper pom-poms:

The recipe for the BLT Wraps comes from Southern Living.  They were quite good:
BLT Wrap Recipe

The directions for the cake I made are here:
Rainbow Cake

The recipe for the cake icing:
Quick Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Which leads me to my next post ....

Making Do

My daughter turned 4 years old this week.  Yesterday my Mike and I threw a bounce house party for her.

Logan, the birthday beauty -

Early on I decided to have the eating, drinking and candle blowing activities take place in the garage which opens up to the section of the yard where Mike thought the bounce house (a castle actually) should be located.  The garage is in desperate need of painting, but I didn't want to work on that project until this summer, so I had to figure out how to "make do" with the garage, yet throw a birthday party that met my personal throw-a-good-party standards.  My solution was to hang inexpensive white plastic tablecloths from a beam that runs across the garage creating a backdrop and an area to store things I didn't want to look at or move for the party.  In the center was a table and chairs where the kids sat for lunch and cake.

Please view my handiwork -

What's a girl's party these days with out tissue paper pom-poms?

On the table were party hats and plastic sand buckets that held sidewalk chalk and bubble tubes -

When Mike first saw these buckets sitting on our dining room table with the rest of the party supplies before I'd added the chalk and bubbles he asked me, "Are you getting sand?"  I said, "Sand?  For what?"  He said, "You've got these sand buckets." ... Way to think INSIDE the box Mike.  Funny.

I also covered the 2 side walls of the garage with plastic tablecloths where I placed the beverage and food tables.  Beverages - water, lemonade and champagne lemonade (to assist the adults, of course) with a copy of the party invitation in the middle -

Food and cake - PB&Js for the kids, BLT wraps for the adults, grapes, string cheese, chips and rainbow twizzlers for everyone!

A close up -

Smuckers has to make a seriously good profit margin on these, but don't they look nice all in a row?

Rainbow twizzlers are really good.  They were a crowd-pleaser for sure.  I am devoting a whole other post to that beauty of a cake you see here -

A close up of the pendant banner I made -

Party favors passed out at the end -

A cold front blew in Friday so the weather was cloudy and windy with the temperature in the mid-fifties when the party began.  That didn't stop everyone from enjoying themselves and the kids bounced themselves silly.  The party people and the bounce castle -

Since it was so cold everyone including Logan and I were wearing jackets.  Underneath her jacket she was wearing this super cool tee shirt I ordered for her (this the tee model not my daughter by the way) -

Some people have Christmas pajamas.  We have birthday tee shirts.  The tee back - 

An apron I ordered for myself, but forgot to put on.  I'll still use this a lot -

The party was a success in my book.  Nobody got hurt or cried.  Everybody ate, drank or bounced - or all 3.  When I asked Logan last night what her favorite part of her party was she said, "Having all those people come to my house."  Success.