Thursday, May 30, 2013

Chalk Paint

After hearing about the new chalk paint craze, I decided to give it a shot. Chalk paint is a specialty paint that allows you to paint without a primer and lends a weathered appearance. You can find chalk paint online for a whopping $40 a pint, but this recipe worked well with great coverage. Just combine 3 parts paint to 1 part plaster of paris. The mix will be thick, so add water to bring the paint back to its original consistency. Paint onto furniture (I used 2 coats), lightly sand with 100 grit sandpaper on areas you wish to distress and rub paste wax over the painted surface with a clean rag. The wax give it a nice patina and takes away that chalky feel. I used SC Johnson's paste wax in the yellow tub and it worked just fine. Total cost: $17 (I used leftover paint).
Dark and boring corner cabinet before

Bright and breezy after!
Distressed areas up close
More distress!
Tricks of the trade

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Micro Dessert

Use the odds and ends from leftover brownies or cake and ice cream to create a miniature treat. These are the perfect size for kids or for someone watching the waistline. Get creative with the flavor combinations: think yellow cake with raspberry sorbet, brownies with coffee ice cream, or angel food cake with lemon ice cream. Champagne flutes add a special touch and keep portions small.
You'll need cake or brownies, ice cream, and a melon ball scoop.

Layer the cake with tiny scoops of ice cream into a champagne flute.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Double Duty

Break out those old paintbrushes to make tedious cleaning easier!
A soft bristled paintbrush is the perfect tool for sweeping the dust out of a keyboard.
  • Dust your car vents and controls
  • Use a clean, synthetic paintbrush to baste pastries or meat
  • Dust baseboards, blinds, and lampshades
  • Give your kids a few paintbrushes with buckets of water to "paint" the sidewalk or fence (thanks Angie!)
  • Try using natural bristled paintbrushes to apply eyeshadow
  • Pack a paintbrush for your next beach trip for dusting off sandy feet before getting in the car.
  • Cleaning window screens

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Rainy Day Box

If you have kids, you know how maddening it can get on a rainy day. Boredom sets in and the chanting of "What can I do?" only makes things worse! Try making a rainy day box to ward off cabin fever. Pick up odds and ends at yard sales or on clearance throughout the year and add them to the box. When a rainy day (or sick day) arrives, allow each child to choose an item from the box. It gives them something new and fun to do and will give you a rest. Before you know it, they'll be watching the weather, looking for rain!

Small craft kits
Coloring books
Stamp kits
Matchbox cars
Action figures
Sticker sheets
Toy instruments
Cookie cutter sets (Be prepared to bake!)
Books on CD

Thursday, May 16, 2013

BBQ Parfaits

The next time you serve barbeque, try this tidy little method: barbeque parfaits! Layer baked beans, barbeque, and coleslaw in half pint jars for an attractive (and portable) presentation. These are perfect for backyard barbeques, pig pickings, and picnics. It's just the right balance of sweet, salty, and crunchy all in its own adorable container. Now you have a great excuse to have barbeque for dinner!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Proper Drainage

Tuck a coffee filter into the bottom of pots with large holes to prevent the soil from falling through. Water drains, soil stays. Perfect drainage every time!

More great uses for coffee filters:
  • Clean mirrors and chrome for a lint-free shine
  • Cover your bowl before heating in the microwave to prevent splatters
  • Layer those antique plates with coffee filters to prevent scratches (this works great for non-stick skillets too)
  • Use as a disposable snack bowl- great in the car!
  • Make baking soda sachets by filling the filter with soda and tying with string. Place inside shoes to keep odor at bay.
  • Juice your lemons and limes through them to filter the seeds and pulp.
  • Use to weigh chopped ingredients
  • Use to contain messy foods such as tacos and hot dogs.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Do you ever get frustrated when you can't remember which eggs are new and which are older? Try alternating brown and white when you buy. For example, last week I bought white eggs and this week I'll buy brown. You'll always know which eggs to use first! (You'll have less of the one you need to use first.)

*Forgot to s"egg"gregate? Fill a glass with water and place the egg in question inside. If the egg sinks, it's still good. If it floats, you have a rotten egg! If it stays on the bottom of the glass but sits upright, it's fine to use but should be used soon.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I've been interested in trying out making homemade dishwashing detergent for a while now and have finally mustered the courage to try. I just can't see why I have to pay 6 bucks (on sale, mind you) for a 12 pack of those handy little pods, only to be out in a week's time! Well, the good news is, after numerous loads, this simple and dirt cheap concoction cleaned the dishes just as well as the high dollar pods. Simply mix equal parts of Borax and baking soda. Fill the detergent well in your dishwasher and you're good to go! Store in a pretty jar and you'll feel even better about it.
*This also works in high efficiency washers.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Where's the dough?

I recently found out that one of our local pizza restaurants will sell fresh dough. Finally, I can enjoy a pizza at home that tastes like it came from a restaurant! It costs $3 and is enough to make 2 medium pizzas. It's also great for bread sticks, cheese sticks, stromboli, and calzones. Check out your local pizza shop to cash in on some great dough! (My sister's local shop sells theirs for only $1.50.)

For a crisp-on-the-bottom, chewy crust, place a pizza stone in your oven and preheat the oven to 450*. Stretch dough and top with toppings and slide onto hot stone. Cook until bubbly and golden, usually about 15-20 minutes. If you don't have a baking stone, just use your regular pizza pan or cookie sheet. It will still be delicious, just not quite as crunchy.