Monday, December 12, 2011

Pintastic Projects

The holiday season is here and with it an abundance of opportunities to peruse pinterest for ideas to keep us busy!  But before we get to that, I need to show you one of the first projects I completed after finding pinterest.  I'd been looking for a jewelry organizer for a LONG time and finally found exactly what I needed.  I actually combined a couple different projects I found on pinterest to make exactly what I needed.  I bought a large wooden frame at the thrift store, spray painted it, staples hardware wire into it, added knobs for necklaces and nails for bracelets.  I also needed somewhere to hang earrings that wouldn't hook on the "chicken wire" so I found a ribbon type thing (that's the official term for it, by the way) with loops in it and ran it vertically down one side.  One unexpected hiccup in this is that it turned out to be VERY heavy with all my jewelry on it (and I actually only have about 3/4 of my jewelry on it so far!) so hanging it has been a bit of a challenge, but I finally found a good place for it.  Not sure if it will stay there but it works for now.
My pinspirations for this came from here and here with Chelsea at Us Three Birds really walking me through the steps.

The next project was a fairly simple one, but I must say the boys got bored with it (especially Riley) and I ended up being the one to finish them.  Right now I only have a picture of Owen's creation.  I used two sheets of 8.5x11 cardstock to make the cone for the tree shape and my circle punch to punch out all the circles.  The boys used good ol' Elmer's glue to glue all the circles on.  Ours isn't quite as sophisticated as the pinspiration was but it's from the heart and the boys LOVE them.  Thank you to Better Homes and Gardens for this pinspiration.

Owen missed school today due to a fever so I promised him a craft he could take to school to share with his class.  We did the Hand SANTA-tizers.  Both boys really enjoyed this and made it their own.  I gave them options for everything from how/what to make the belt from (they both decided on electrical tape!) to what they used for the white "fluff" at the bottom of Santa's coat as well as for the buckle on his belt.  Thanks to Beth Newlin for the pinspiration!

And while we were crafting, we made some paper circle ornaments for the tree.  We each picked two patterned papers and alternated the circles on each ornament using the directions from Sarah Nielsen .  The boys did a really great job.  And Owen decided he wanted some beads on his (I had them out as an option for the belt buckles on the Santa-tizers).  Riley, as usual, wouldn't be outdone so he wanted beads too.  Owen's is in greens and blues and browns with green beads at top and bottom.  Riley's is greens and blues with one bead of each color on his.  I left mine beadless but I actually really like the bead look so will likely add some at a later date.  And after looking back at Sarah Nielsen's tutorial I see she used 10 circles per ornament and we only used 6.  I think we'll go back and add more tomorrow...

One last pintastic project was snack for Riley's class the other week.  Reindeer donuts.  They LOVED them.  And of course the boys enjoyed making more with the leftovers at home for the next couple days.  Thanks to Oriental Trading Company for the idea!  I didn't make them exactly the same way as the recipe suggests.  I just used whatever was cheapest that I could find.  So cherry sours were the noses and little bits of Crunch ice cream topping (or something like that) had white and brown pieces in it so I used the white ones for the eyes.  The noses were just sitting on top of the donut, but the antlers and the eyes were pressed into the donuts.  And the one you see in the close up is my favorite little guy.  I love how the "mistake" hole on the donut makes Rudolph look like he's being taken by surprise.  Just adorable.  (You may also notice in the bottom picture, I didn't place the hole as strategically and it kind of looks like that Rudolph got shot.  Oops.  Unintentional, I assure you!!!)

Friday, November 18, 2011


So I'm hanging out on pinterest (of course) and see a pin of something familiar.  But when I click on it to read about it, I realize the way we do it is SO. MUCH. COOLER!  When we go camping, we like to have doughboys cooked over the fire for breakfast.  All you need is a dowel rod (about the diameter of your thumb), a can of biscuits, and a fire.  Oh, and whatever you want to go IN your doughboy.  The possibilities are endless.

We had our backyard fixed this past spring and it is soooo worth it.  We'd been here for YEARS and not been able to go in our yard and enjoy it.  Actually, Memorial Day weekend in 2006 Eric and Owen (who had JUST turned 2) decided to camp out back there.  And Eric ended up with the worst case of poison ivy I've ever seen.  We're talking about a big, huge blister the size of a golf ball on his arm.  If you get queasy easy, skip this part, but when he popped the blister there was a semi-solid glob of puss that came out of it.  It was so gross.  He ended up having to go to urgent care to get them to look at it and they brought all the doctors and nurses in to ogle at it!  When he went to work he had his arm wrapped in gauze and the guys ribbed him and basically called him a wuss.  So he unwrapped his arm and when they saw it, well they asked him to cover it back up!!!  Anyway, NOW our backyard is useable and we've been trying to use it as much as possible.  I'll try to do a whole update on that later (if I don't forget).

So we've had a couple campouts in our backyard.  The first one was with my mommy friends and all their kids.  Several moms weren't brave enough to give the camping a go ;-) so they came for the cookout and hanging out and went home to sleep in their comfy beds.  If I remember correctly we had 5 moms and 9 kids stay the night in our backyard.  So. Much. Fun.  Have I mentioned I <3 camping???
The view of our little camping compound from the deck.

Anyway, Eric was out of town for that experience so later in the summer we invited my good friend Lillie and her family to come camp with us.  We had a great time, as we always do with her family.  And for breakfast the next morning we made doughboys.  I've always made them with "whop biscuits" (that's the refrigerated canned biscuits you WHOP on the counter to open), but all I could find in the fridge was crescent roll dough so we improvised.  And it worked great!

Mmmmmm.  So yummy.  And Lillie was kind enough to bring us ANOTHER jar of her homemade peach preserves.  We made quick work of the first jar.  Those peach preserves were perfect inside these doughboys.  We also tried scrambled eggs and crumbled up sausage in them.  Also yum!  Butter, cinnamon, and sugar is also a must-try combo.

The trick is to make sure you do a good job wrapping it so you don't lose all your filling.  If using biscuits, stretch the biscuit out until it's about 6 inches long.  Start at the end of your dowel rod and coil the biscuit around.  Make sure to seal it up well at all the seams.  Hold it over the fire and rotate periodically to brown it on all sides.  Once it's cooked it should slide off the rod with a gentle twist.  If you twist too hard it will split open at the seams.  There's also a right and a wrong direction to twist it, but it depends on which way you coiled it.  Also, the first couple times you use the dowel rods for this it will stick more.  I've never tried using Pam or anything but I guess that might help.  After a few times though it will kind of get seasoned and will work better.

Two years later...

Wow. Life gets busy and the blog gets neglected. Let's see, I've got boys in 2nd grade and Kindergarten and they both love school (Hallelujah!!). They're also both doing really well at school. It helps that their school is awesome and they both have amazing teachers.

And with all my "free" time I'm now going back to school full time to get my Master's of Education. In addition to that, I've gotten more serious about running and when the boys started school back in August I started training for a Half Marathon. My goal was 2 hours and ten minutes. I finished the Athens half mary last month in just under 2:07 (I think it was 2:06:55). VERY happy with that. I have some really great friends who helped me get ready for it. I never could have done it that fast without all of them. Leah and April became my workout partners back in the spring. We started out doing Insanity with Sean T. Oh man, it truly was INSANE. But when summer started we decided to start walking and running at the track instead of doing Insanity. And we have kept it up. Some weeks are crazy and we only get together one night, other weeks we exercise 4 mights and one afternoon together. It sure has made a difference. Then Eric told his running buddies about me running and one of them told his wife and she texted me about starting to run together. I'll tell you, Robin is F-A-S-T. She's a machine. We do 5-5.5 miles once a week. There's hills. Big hills. And she doesn't let up. I usually have to walk at some point but she just keeps running. Wow. But she pushed me and I'm a better runner for it. And Eric has always been a big supporter. He's always encouraged me to run and had faith in my ability. I love him for that!

Eric, on the other hand, is taking a break from running. He did run a marathon just over 2 years ago and I think he wants to run another, but it will be a while before that happens. Three months ago he had hip resurfacing surgery. This was an alternative to total hip replacement. Instead of cutting off the whole head of the femur they just whittle it down some and put a new cap on it along with a new socket for that to fit into. He now sets off all the metal detectors at the airport. And speaking of the airport, Eric's job has changed greatly. He works for the same company but in the corporate arena. He helps with internal audits of safety and environmental procedures among other things and this requires traveling. He averages about one week a month of traveling. Sometimes he gets to go to exotic locales like Oklahoma and Tennessee. But he also has spent a lot of time in San Diego as well as trips to Maine, Virginia, Modesto, CA, the Philippines, and Brazil.

Okay, now that we're all caught up, on to the real reason I'm here. I have a problem. Well, maybe not a problem, but it is definitely an addiction. An addiction to pinterest. I love that sight. Man can I find some AWESOME things on there. Like this Praline Pumpkin Cake that is personally responsible for me gaining about 5 pounds. You may think I'm joking but I'm not. This cake is AWESOME. Apparently I think the word AWESOME is AWESOME. Anyhoo, I think I've made it 4 or 5 times in the past month. And I'm planning to make it again next week for Thanksgiving. I think what makes it so divine is how the praline layers kind of soak into the pumpkin cake and make it oh-so-moist. Oops, sorry about that little drop of drool on the screen. Let me dry that off for you... There, that's better.

The surprising thing about this cake is how easy it is. You use cake mix and store bought icing and just jazz it up. I know of 4 people who have tried this cake since I made it and are planning to make it for Thanksgiving too! So without delay, here a link to the recipe: Praline Pumpkin Cake and this is what it looks like (I took the pic with my phone so please excuse the quality)...

I do have other pinspired creations (I think I just made that word up!) and I will be sharing those with you in the future.
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