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Showing posts from October, 2009

Wrensday: Bubba

Why is this goat behind bars? Because he eats everything in our yard. His name is Bubba.

Monday Motivation: Organize my shoes

Now that the weather is cooler and we have to wear real shoes we have to deal with what to do with all of those shoes. Many homes have the simple rule of removing shoes when entering the house. It makes sense to leave the dirt and grime at the door. Floor care experts recommend this to cut down on wear and tear of the flooring. Health care experts recommend this to cut down on the germs and contaminants that travel in on the footwear. If you're lucky, you have a mud room or foyer to keep your shoes in. If you're like most people, though, you have an entrance right into your home where the shoes pile up. As I've worked with different clients, I've had to create different types of organizing systems for shoes. Let me tell you about a few of them. 1. A small bench in the hall that stores shoes on a bottom shelf. 2. A basket next to the door where all of the shoes are stored. 3. A door mat or tray to hold wet shoes and boots. 4. An over-the-door pocket o

What's for dinner: Oregano Chicken

This is one of my husband's favorite entrees. We had it last night for dinner, but due to an unexpected illness (mine) there are no photos to share. Bummer! Oregano Chicken 1/4 cup butter, melted 1/8 cup lemon juice 2 Tbl. worcestershire sauce 2 Tlb. soy sauce 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano 1 tsp. garlic powder 6 skinned and boned chicken breast halves Combine the first 6 ingredients. Place chicken in an ungreased 11x17 inch baking dish. Pour helf of the butter mixture over chicken. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes and pour remaining butter mixture over chicken. Bake additional 15 minutes. Serve chicken with extra sauce over wild rice. Yum!! **I've also made this as a skillet dish. Brown the chicken in EVOO and butter in a skillet. Mix the sauce ingredients together and pour over chicken. I cook it for @ 20 minutes.

Back Porch Floor Redo

A few weeks ago I showed you how I painted the pump house on our property. Well, what I didn't show you was that I was also painting the floor of my back porch. It has a poured concrete slab that was in pretty bad shape. It was very hard to clean and we were always tracking grit into the house. Here is a "before" picture of the slab. Here is a before picture of the porch in it's naked form. Not very nice. Here is the "after" picture of the slab. I had to give it two coats of paint because the concrete absorbed the first coat pretty quickly. Here is the *final* picture. It's so much nicer to look at and easier to clean up. ** this might not really be the final picture because I'm not totally satisfied with the "plain" look of the paint. I might paint a border around the table area with a different colored paint. I always get these crazy ideas and it may or may not actually happen. I'll let you know when I do someth

Wrensday: First Fire of the Season

It's been very chilly around these parts. Unusually cold for this time of the year. We had to break down and make a fire to keep warm. There's nothing like relaxing by the fire at night to do some reading (or blogging). Stay warm, everyone!

My Little Corner: Part 2

Last week I showed you my desk area in our office/craft room. Well, here is a picture of the wall next to my desk. I've used an antique printer's job case (with the shiny gold paint stripped from it) to hold some of my rubber stamps. Many of my stamps are in sets from Stampin Up and I have them stored in baskets on my shelves (I'll show you in a future post). Almost all of these stamps on the wall are from the dollar bin at Michaels or Target. I guess you could say I have an addiction to them but I do use them all. I like how each stamp is separated by a divider. As you can see, I have quite a variety of stamps. If you do rubber stamping, how do you store your stamps? I'd love to know!

Monday Motivation: Clean out the coat closet

I like the look of this functional coat closet from REAL SIMPLE . I think most of us struggle with keeping the coat closet tidy because during the cooler months that closet is in constant use. I think this week is a good time to purge the clutter and organize the useful. 1. Start with the top shelf. Take everything out and sort like items with like (hats with hats, gloves with gloves, etc.) 2. Go through each pile and remove items that are worn out, don't fit, or you don't like any more. Put any items that are still useful into a bag for the thrift store or homeless shelter. 3. Gather containers that you can use as a drawer/bin for each of the groups of items you have. I have one for gloves, one for hats and scarves, and one for tote bags. 4. Now, do steps 1 and 2 with the clothes that are hanging on the rod. 5. Place clothing back onto the rod according the person they belong to. For example, start with your smallest person. Hang up all of their coats on the le

Baby Quilt

This is a project I've been working on over the past few months. It is for my newest grandson who is due this week. I added a little note at the bottom. Yes, I'm honey. I hope he likes it.

Corn Chowder

This is a yummy recipe I just tried for the first time. It was the perfect meal for a cool Fall day. I served it with rye bread and a salad. Corn Chowder 1 cup chopped celery 1 medium onion, chopped 2 slices bacon, chopped 2 cans (150z each) whole-kernel corn, drained 2 cans (14oz each) creamed corn 4 cups milk 3 1/2 cups chicken stock 1 cup whipping cream 3-4 dashes hot sauce 4 cups cubed potatoes 1/4 cup butter, softened 1/4 cup flour 1/4 cup snipped fresh parsley salt and pepper to taste 1. In a 6 to 8 quart dutch oven cook celery, onion and bacon over medium heat for 10-15 minutes. 2. Add all cans of corn, milk, stock, cream and hot sauce. 3. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. 4. Simmer, covered for 30 minutes. 5. Add potatoes and return to a boil. 6. Reduce heat; simmer, covered for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender. 7. In a small bowl, mix flour and butter until smooth. 8. Add flour/butter mixture to the soup and stir until thickened, around 1 minute. 9. Stir

Wrensday: The Chicken Coop

In a previous post I promised to show off my chicken coop. My husband and son designed and built it to house our chickens. They used a few recycled items like windows, wheels, and a fridge shelf. This is a view from the front. The top box is their roosting (sleeping) area and nesting area. Below that is a screened-in area that contains their food and water. We let our chickens free-range during the day, but at night we keep them locked in their pen to protect them from predators. We learned about this the hard way when a fox got two of our hens early one morning. Here is a view from the back. The top door is where we can access the nesting boxes to gather eggs. The panel under that can be removed to clean out the pen. After all, chickens do poop on everything! You can see the small door on the bottom right side that we remove every morning to allow the chickens to roam. Their food hangs under the nesting/roosting area to stay dry in case it rains. They really don'

My little corner

When we moved into our home 4 years ago, we discovered we were a little squished. Our living area was much smaller than our previous house in the 'burbs. I've had to be a little creative when finding space for all of our things. One of my problem areas is our home office/craft room. It was a small bedroom for the previous homeowners but it really isn't much bigger than a large closet. It does have nice windows which allow in plenty of light during the day. My first task was to rip off the mirrored closet doors. The next task was to paint the ugly paneling. For 2 years the room sat unfinished. Finally, I started to add some finishing touches. I added a small shelf I found many years ago. I think it is the interior of a roll-top desk. I painted it with the leftover wall paint which is an antique white in a satin finish. I added 3 clear plastic paint cans I found at Michael's. The paint cans hold antique thread spools that I inherited from my hubby's grandma. Some of

Monday Motivation: Clean/Replace your HVAC filter

OK, OK, I know. Boring stuff. But, important stuff. This filter traps a alot of the junk that floats around in the air in your home. If it gets too dirty, it keeps the heating and air-conditioning system from running efficiently. It's really an easy job. 1. Find where your filter is. It is sometimes attached to the air handler itself but sometimes it is behind a vent cover in the wall. I have to unscrew two little screws on a vent panel to access mine. 2. If you have a disposable filter, you'll need to replace it with a new one. Don't reuse a disposable filter. If you have a reusable one, take it outside and spray it with the garden hose and let it dry. Then replace it in exactly the same position you found it in. I check my filter every month. I have a reusable one and I vacuum it clean every month and wash it outside every 3-4 months. Sometimes I also spray it with a little Lysol to disinfect it before placing it back into it's spot.

Quickie Paint Trick

When I was painting the pump house earlier this week I wanted to re-use the same paint tray for the floor paint that I had used for the wall paint. Here's my solution. I simply slid the paint tray into a kitchen garbage bag. Then I poured the floor paint into the covered tray. Clean up is a snap because I just turn the bag inside out after I have emptied the extra paint back into the can. I have used grocery bags to do this but you have to be very careful about any printing on the bag. The ink can actually bleed into the paint, turning it into a different color! Believe me, it's not a pretty sight.

Wrensday: Outdoor Fall Decorations

I love to walk around our Brown Wren Acres on a beautiful fall day and just look at everything (and also take a picture of it). This is the area inside the turn-around in our driveway. I can't grow anything under the tree because the roots are too fibrous. You can't even stick a trowel in the dirt! I always have the old wheel barrow there and I just swap out seasonal decorations. Sorry that my corn stalks are crooked. We've had some strong wind gusts lately.

Pump House Paint Job

Today I'm tackling a project for my husband. You see, we have a pump house set back from our house that contains our well pump and a water softener. My Dear Hubby (DH) has to check on the status of those two items every week to make sure our supply of water is clean and plentiful. (Thanks DH) I've always hated to go into the pump house because it is a: dirty, b: stinky, c: damp, and d: filled with spiders and creepy crawlers. I bet if a movie producer was looking for a place to film a new scary movie, they could have picked our pump house. Last weekend, DH primed the drywall in the pump house. It had never been painted and a bit of mold had started to grow. After almost 3 hours, he emerged from the place, covered in primer and totally frustrated. He's never been much of a painter and really doesn't like to do it. I went in today (cautiously watching for spiders and creepy crawlers) and painted the walls with some left over paint. In case you're wondering it

Monday Motivation: Get a mammogram

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month , I am encouraging my readers to make an appointment today for a mammogram or breast exam. As busy wives and mothers we often let our own health take a back seat. We owe it to our families to be in the best health we can be. We should all be doing a monthly self breast exam . Many women have found cancer themselves before they've been to the doctor because they check their breasts every month. Early detection means a quicker treatment. So, if you haven't had an exam or mammogram this year please make an appointment today .

Coffee table: before and after

I had been looking for a new coffee table for our family room. The one from our old home was just too big for our new space. I couldn't find one that I a: liked enough to buy or b: could afford. So I did what I usually do when I'm in that situation. I search the thrift stores and consignment shops. Here is my table as it looks now. A nice deep brown and sturdy enough for me to stand on and dust my ceiling fan blades. This is what it looked like when I brought it home from the Salvation Army. I sanded it down and filled in the pain-in-the-neck grooves on the top with some wood filler. Then I sanded it again. I wiped it all down with a damp cloth and gave it a few coats of gel stain and a few coats of poly. Now I must tell you, this finish has held up well. We really use(abuse) our coffee table. We put our feet up on it, we use it as a laptop holder, and we play board games on it. We don't baby it at all and it looks pleasantly rustic and informal. I've linke

Happy Cleaning Day to me!

I know that I might be the only person on the planet who gets excited about cleaning supplies. But in case there is one more person out there who likes to clean, I've got happy cleaning news for you. My friend and I have been experimenting with how to clean hard surface floors economically but still get a really clean floor. There are a lot of comercial products out there but they are expensive and sometimes the cleaners are too strong smelling. I've been using vinegar and water to mop my floors but I had been using either a sponge mop or down on my hands and knees with a rag until now. Here's what I'm doing now. I grabbed my swiffer mop (from my wasteful years) and attached an old dish rag to it, using the little grabber thingys to hold it in place. Here it is dry, but I usually use it wet. You can use a regular disinfectant cleaner if you have a really grubby floor to clean, but for most of my cleaning I use the sparkle cleaner. I either spray the floor wit