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Wreck it Wednesday (Issue No. 10)

5 May

Well helloooo beautiful readers! Back from the dead, I am. Again. Okay, so I’ve disappeared more than once, but I have real good excuses this time, I swear. I got knocked up, got a new job, bought a new house…and had TWINS! I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me. I’ve missed you all so.

Back to this week’s Wreck. Unfortunately, this one will probably require you to pony up some cash. But if you’re interested in this little project, it will pay off, I promise.

As you could imagine twins equals a crazy hectic life. I. Mean. Crazy. So now, it’s all about simplification. I am constantly thinking about how I can make things easier. That’s when I came up with the bar cart idea.

I don’t mean that I just get real drunk everyday To get me tth. The bar cart is for keeping baby supplies handy without taking over the whole damn house. Okay, so it won’t really keep baby stuff from taking over the house, but it certainly keeps essentials like diapering and feeding supplies from being strewn about in every room. And the bonus: it’s STILL a bar cart once you’re done using it for baby stuff and Happy Hour is calling your name. Then you can pick up a onesie for the rugrat that says “mommy (and/or) daddy also drink from bottles”.

Check out the cart I found at Target:

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I also picked up a few items to help organize the cart:IMAG2898

Here are some of the items that I’ve included in the cart:

A couple plain Onesies, a couple pajamas, some flannel receiving blankets, muslin swaddle blankets and a bunch of burp cloths (also known as cloth diapers)IMAG2900

Diapers, baby wipes, a baby toiletry kit (with nail clippers, brush, thermometer, etc), a mess of assorted pacifiers (including a couple wubanubs), lotion, hand sanitizer, baby powder, diaper rash ointment, saline nasal spray, nasal aspirator, multipurpose ointment, assorted medications (Tylenol, teething tablets, gas drops, constipation relief), and of course, syringes for the meds.IMAG2901

Containers of premeasured formula powder, bottled water, clean empty bottles, and drool bibs.IMAG2903

Here she is, all put together:

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First tier, from above:

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And here are some close ups:

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All said and done, this set up probably set us back about $160-170 give or take. I know, that’s a decent chunk of change. I agree. But let me tell you about the benefits:

If someone comes over to watch your littles to provide you with some freedom, pretty much anything they’ll need to care for said littles is easily accessible in one convenient location.no having to explain where everything is or how much formula to feed. It’s kind of the supply equivalent of one of those babysitter info things that tells them what time bedtime is etc.

If you change diapers and feed in more than one location, it’s easily portable. For example: Up until very recently, our Twinkies have done all of their napping and night time “sleeping” in our room, next to our bed. Sure, they have a nursery with cribs and a proper changing table, etc. But for the sake of our sanity, it was best for us to be able to feed and change them without leaving the room. This made it possible to have all the supplies we’d need exactly where we needed them. Once everyone is up for the day, the cart gets moved to the living room effortlessly.

I know there’s more than one way to skin a cat, so to speak. But I have to attest to the completeness of the bar cart solution. Diaper changes, feedings, medications, wardrobe changes, and blankets are not only covered, but they’re well contained, organized and portable. There’s no need toga be changing stations and other supplies all over the house. Just one. Before bedtime, I restock the diapers and such that have been depleted and it’s all set for midnight feedings and the next day’s activities.

If I had to make an improvement on the system, it’d be getting a mini fridge for my bedroom (for keeping milk expressed in the middle of the night so I don’t need to journey to the kitchen in the dark), and I’d put our bottle warmers on the cart as well. But that’d just be icing on the cake.

So that’s it. My genius idea. I hope you like it and I hope it gives you ideas on how to make your infant rearing a little bit easier.

WRECK IT WEDNESDAY!!! (Issue No. 9)

7 Jan

Welcome back people!! So happy to see you made it to Wednesday!

Last week I promised that I would deliver a post on building an outdoor movie screen. To celebrate my 31st birthday, I decided that having a movie night in our backyard was an awesome idea. And it was. It would have been better if it hadn’t been in the high 20s temperature-wise…and having been pouring rain for a few days prior. I was picturing a fire pit, s’mores, jiffy pop popcorn (you know, the kind that comes in the package that looks like a pit tin with a handle you heat in a camp fire?) hot chocolate, the works. Between the weather and a smaller-than-hoped-for bank account, well, let’s just say things didn’t go quite as planned.

Fear not, I do have a nice little wreck it planned for you today. It’s just not the movie screen. We cheated on the screen. We simply took our staple gun and stapled a tarp to our wooden fence…then stapled a white sheet on top of it. You people are too smart to require a tutorial on how to do that. The tarp is to block out the light, the white sheet is so that the colors appear nice and bright. Easy peasy. I had plans to build a legitimate, free-standing movie screen. Perhaps when the weather gets better I can actually deliver the tutorial on that.

For now, I hope you will be satisfied with a Wreck It Wednesday on how to build a fire pit. My Handsome (and my Braun, since he’s the one that did all the work) says this Wreck should be called “How To Dig A Fire Pit In Your Back Yard So That Your Landlord Doesn’t Find Out”. So here we go:

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With a shovel of your choosing (according to the Handsome, flat shovels work best, but if you’re poor like us, whatever you have on hand will do the trick), make an outline of the shape and size of pit you want. All you have to do to accomplish this, push the spade of the shovel straight into the ground and pull it out. Keep making these cuts until you have the shape you’re looking for.

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Like so.

Next, you’re going to work your shovel under the grass, and kind of lift upwards to loosen it.

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Like so.

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Handsome discovered that it would be pretty near impossible to get the grass up in one piece, so he cut the grass into smaller pieces.

Like so.

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Next, work the shovel under the parts closer to the center. Ultimately, you need to get the grass completely released from the ground beneath it.

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Once the pieces are loose, you can start lifting them out of the pit you’re building.

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We set the pieces of grass aside because we intend to replace it once we’re done. You can do whatever you’d like with your grass, I’m not your boss or your landlord.

Now that all the grass is out, you can start making the pit deeper. Now, the depth is completely up to you. Again, not your boss. Honestly it will depend on how fancy you’re looking to make your pit. We were on a shoestring budget, so we didn’t get any super cool stones or bricks to line and fancify ours.

Here are some pretty cool ideas from around the interwebs:

LauraCatherine.com

Shelterness.com

Houselogic.com

ThisOldHouse.com

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Handsome just dug and dug. Too bad our niece Chloe refused to teach us how to do the Duggie. This might have been easier. Just as we set the grass aside, we set the dirt aside as well. (Placing it on an old sheet just will make it easier to fill the hole back in.)

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Here, you see the pit is complete. It isn’t very deep, but it suits our purposes just fine. The ground was extremely soggy from all the rain, so it was necessary to line the pit with a layer of sand. (We found bags of “play sand” at our local Home Depot. It was actually very inexpensive at about $3.50 a bag. We only used half a bag, since again, this fire pit is not going to be a permanent fixture in our back yard. It’s not our back yard, after all.

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Here is the finished pit with the fire and all. That’ll do, Handsome. That’ll do.

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Now, hindsight is always 20/20. Considering that, Handsome has a piece of advice for you good people:

If you’re going to dig it much deeper than ours (about 6 inches) make sure that the edges are dug straight. If they are not, the edges will collapse on itself, meaning the hole will fill itself in, and you might end up with a bigger hole than you anticipated.

Now, if you are planning on doing this project and you have a little extra money in your pocket, you may want to consider buying some rocks to scatter on top of the layer of sand. This will keep your firewood dryer if there’s any moisture in the pit from recent rainfall by elevating it from the ground. Also, bricks, whether plain or ornamental, to line the inside edges of the pit would be a good idea. This will help reinforce the edges and keep it from collapsing on itself.

Anyway, this is our humble fire fit. It’s not the prettiest, but it served it’s purpose well. We can’t wait to have our own home to be able to make cool updates like these permanent. Well Folks, that’s all for this week’s Wreck. Hope it inspired you to do something creative!

XOXOXO

E

WRECK IT WEDNESDAY!!! (Issue No. 8)

27 Feb

Welcome, welcome, welcome! Here we are again, my friends, another Wreck it Wednesday. I figure the little traditions that I began not so long ago here on this blog need to be resuscitated. So here I am, attempting to breathe new life into Wednesdays.

In case you lovely people need a refresher on what a Wreck is. A Wreck is when we chat about ways to turn your life upside down. Shake up all those ideas you have about how you’re supposed to live, how you’re supposed to look at the world. Society seems to have rules for everything. But there’s not one person on this planet that should tell you how to live your life. You do not have any obligation to live up to anyone’s expectations or ideals.

Sure, it’d be nice to stroll into Lowes or Home Depot and pick up all the things your heart desires to make your home into that image of perfection from all those magazines and websites you’ve been pouring over. But who has the money these days? An even better question is this: Why in the hell would you want to make your space into an image out of someone else’s imagination?

My best friend wanted a fire pit to add to her new backyard addition. Incidentally, she also wanted the brick planter dismantled. So here’s what I did…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some used/recycled bricks, cheap wood, a few cinder blocks, some spray paint and a little acrylic craft paint…and there you go. A fully functional and entirely customized fire pit, complete with benches. It absolutely doesn’t line up with all those beautiful images I always see on Pinterest and on the magazine racks. Nevertheless, it’s perfect. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Besides, those words painted on the benches pretty much describe the whole reason the fire pit was wanted anyway. To inspire relationships, life, love, faith, happiness and laughter.

That’s what it’s all about, kids. Hope you enjoyed today’s Wreck.

WRECK IT WEDNESDAY!!! (Issue No. 7)

10 Oct

I don’t have any children. A good friend of mine got knocked up and so we began discussing options for nursery decor. The usual came up: Baby Animals, Zoo, etc… I had an idea. Why spend money decorating a room that the baby will quickly out grow? The idea we all settled on was Super Mario Bros. We all love parkin’ our rears on the big comfy couch to play for hours. Sure, I suck big time at Mario Kart, but who cares?

Anyway, being the best friend, I set out to plan the shower. Unfortunately, planning a baby shower and nursery decor with a theme like this is not easy. Things are not, how you say, ready-made and on the shelf at your local Babies-R-Us.

No anything we found was a little too geared for much older children. But that didn’t stop us. Despite the challenge of basically creating everything custom by hand, we refused to be constrained by the meager, run-of-the mill standard offered by baby stores. We hopped right out of that box for this week’s Wreck!

Now, I’m not going to go through these photos and give detailed step by step instructions. That would defeat the purpose of this Wreck.  I want you all to be inspired to not be pigeonholed into a certain way of thinking. After all, that’s why we Wreck in the first place, right? Right. If you would like any information or tips on how these things were constructed and how you might be able to go about doing something similar, I would be very happy to guide you and answer any questions. Just leave me a comment at the end of this post.

THE BABY SHOWER:

The Invitations

I’d just like to add a couple small side notes on these invitations…First, aside from everything excluding the type is hand-made. The triangular shading on those hills were done in sharpie. For 35 invites. 7 lime green sharpies later….

Finally done.

The Shower Decor, etc.

Italian Cream Soda Bar. Genius. Really, if you ever have an Italian themed party, I highly suggest it.

Arts & Crafts time. I set up a table for the guests to decorate onesies. Onesies, puffy paint and iron-ons provided.

The result: Pure Gold.

THE NURSERY DECOR:

Two things here. My mommy made the bumper. She created that wonderful brick pattern and I love her for it. The quilt is my baby. fabric, ribbon and puffy paint (for the faces on the clouds).

I’d like to direct your attention to the bricks on the wall. My pregnant friend did a really great job!

As you can see from the center  of this mobile, it used to have a jungle animal theme. My friend purchased this on Craigslist and I went to work making the characters our of felt, floss and puffy paint…converting it into a SMB masterpiece. (I later switched out the picture for a Mario one)

Everything you see on the wall was hand-made by us.

She even added her own black-out curtains to match  the walls and quilt.

So you can see, with a little creativity and a whole lot of stubbornness, you can create the nursery you’ve always dreamed of. You don’t have to settle for what the stores have all picked out for you.

I sure hope that you enjoyed the Wreck, and I hope it sparks just a little bit of imagination in your life.

WRECK IT WEDNESDAY!!! (Issue No. 6)

11 Apr

Welcome to Wreck It Wednesday! This is where I show you that breaking free of the way you used to look at things can free your spirit and open up all new possibilities. Today, we’re gonna talk letters. Not emails. Not text messages. Not skyping or leaving messages on Facebook walls. Hand-written, from the heart, letters.

No fancy paper...just a wire-bound book of notebook paper. It still makes me smile every time I read it.

Staring at a blank piece of paper may induce panic attacks in some, sure. But I know that amidst all of the junk mail and bills, we all secretly (or maybe not so secretly) adore getting real people mail. There’s nothing quite like seeing your name and address, hand-written across the front of an envelope. We inspect it and wonder what’s inside. It’s a wonderful experience. It tells us that someone cares about us and took a few minutes out of their busy day to let us know that we were on their mind.

It makes me infinitely sad to think that we don’t physically write much anymore. As a matter of fact, I know a lot of people who don’t know how to write or sign their name in cursive. The problem I see with all the technology we have going on these days, is that we’re always go go go. We need a faster, more efficient way of doing every imaginable task. The problem with all this multi-tasking, we miss a lot of details. Take writing an email for example. You have your account open, typing an email–but what’s that in the background on your desk top? Oh, your Facebook account is up, so is the website for your bank account, and who knows what else. A little bit of meaning is taken away when you don’t give tasks your full attention. Your friends and family deserve that attention, right? Well, get out that paper and your favorite writing implement so we can get started.

Remember in school, all the different ways we came up with to fold notes? ahhhh...the good ole days.

 Letters don’t need to be beautiful, well thought out prose to be  handed down through generations. They don’t need to be on nice stationary, or written in pen. They don’t even need to be letters at all. As a matter of fact, I regularly write notes here and there for various reasons, and sometimes no reason at all, other than to let someone know I’m thinking of them. I also regularly use markers, crayon and even stickers.

So now that you’re ready to begin, how do you begin? Well, how would you start a conversation with the person if you were speaking face to face? You can start your letter with: “So I was walking down the street the other day, and I saw a poster of a girl holding a puppy that reminded of you…” Heck, you don’t even have to write any words at all–draw a picture. Don’t worry so much about what you think a letter should look like. This is Wreck It Wednesday! A letter is supposed to look like whatever it ends up looking like when you’re done writing or drawing on the paper. Whoever you’re writing it for isn’t going to take a look at the letter and throw it back in your face because they find it unsatisfactory. (As a side note, if they do actually throw it back in your face, you should give serious consideration to removing that person from your list of friends.) They are going to feel happiness because you took a minute to let them know you took a little time out of your busy day for them. Stop letting the fear of not being “good enough” keep you from doing things.

These are letters that my daddy wrote me while he was on deployment. They were written in 1991, and I still have them. That's how much they mean to me.

This is my favorite letter. My daddy was a great artist, and was kinda goofy.

We put a lot of unnecessary pressure on ourselves.  We feel as though we have to behave a certain way or have or do certain things to be accepted, to give meaning to our lives. That’s hogwash. Be yourself and live your life mindfully without letting outside judgement hinder your happiness. That’s how you put meaning in your life. Dr. Seuss once said, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” The man may have been crazy, but his words are fact. And incidentally, it’s why I started wrecking Wednesdays. Sure, my life may be a proverbial train wreck, but it’s mine and it makes me happy. Sure, people can’t take their eyes off it, but such is the life of a wreck. 🙂

WRECK IT WEDNESDAY!!! (Issue No. 5)

28 Mar

Last week, I told you guys we’re leavin’ the kitchen for the next Wreck. Well, guess what? Today is the next Wreck and I made it all the way to the dining table! Huge move, I know. What can I say? I have a small apartment, and therefore no more studio to be creative in. So I set up camp wherever the mood strikes me. Such is life.

Back to today’s Wreck: I have wood floors. While I do enjoy sliding down my hall in my socks, there are plenty of times that I wish I were a little kid so I can buy a pair of those super awesome non-skiddy socks. Yes, some of my wonderful family and friends might point out that my feet are small enough to fit into kids socks….that’s not the point. I am a big girl, and as such, I want to wear big girl non-skiddy socks. 

Today, we’re going to toss out that silly notion that we can only have non-skiddy socks if they sell them at the store. You have socks in your drawer, right? Well, all you need besides socks is puffy paint (3 dimensional fabric paint). Observe: 

Socks. Note that I did not go out and purchase brand new socks for this occasion. (as evidenced by the perma-stains on the bottoms, no doubt from all the hall sliding I mentioned earlier)

 

Paint. This is my puffy paint collection. It’s marvelous, I know. Don’t be jealous. If you’re not hoarding art and craft supplies like you’re preparing for a nuclear winter like me, you can find this stuff at your local craft store or Walmart. It’s worth mentioning that puffy paint is inexpensive. Depending on the store and brand, they typically run $.50-$1.00 per bottle. But with a 40% off coupon at Michaels, I paid 10 bucks for a pack of like 25. Don’t judge me.

 

Now that you have your socks and your paint, lay your socks out so that the soles are facing up….like so.

 

Now, we paint. I’m not gonna micromanage your creativity. I chose my turtle socks and decided to outline the shells.

 

We do not need to be a slave to the status quo. Stop worrying about what people are going to say about you, or about your new super awesome homemade non-skiddy socks. My dad once told me that “you shouldn’t spend so much time worrying about what other people think of you, because you’d be surprised at how little they actually do.” In the end, being successful has little, if anything to do with material wealth or possessions. Sure lots of money can certainly make living easier, to an extent. But accumulation of wealth and stuff is what traps us into doing the same old thing, just because it’s easy. In my opinion, success is to have created a life that is as unique as you are, one that puts a sparkle in your eye, and one you can be proud of. If you’re not excited about your life, then maybe it’s time to take stock and figure out what really brings happiness to your heart. If making really cool things that some people may not have even thought about makes you happy…then you and me, we’re cut from the same cloth…and Wreck It Wednesdays are just the ticket for a little inspiration.

Note: This would be an awesome little project to do with your children, if you have any. Also, I’d like to add that I’ve thought about making a couple of pairs for my dog…she loooooathes wood floors. Apparently she doesn’t share my affection for hall sliding. She doesn’t know what she’s missing.

WRECK IT WEDNESDAY!!! (Issue No. 4)

21 Mar

This one’s made in….New York City. ::::gasp!:::: NEW YORK CITY?!?! Remember those Pace Picante Sauce commercials with all the cowboys sitting around a campfire, about to have some delicious salsa, only to discover someone made a party foul and brought sauce made in New York?

No?

Hmm…well, regardlessly, this week’s Wreck is brought to you in part by my momma (because she taught me how to do this) and  also the hopes that I can coax you people out of your comfy routine of using the store-bought varieties for all your salsa needs. Sure, there are some pretty tasty ones out there, but today…WE ARE MAKING SALSA, PEOPLE!

I promise, it’s so simple, and your family and guests will be impressed at your worldly culinary prowess. :::wink:::

Lets get started. We are going to make a tomato-tomatillo salsa today. You could always use just one or the other, but this is my favorite combination because tomatillos give it a nice tang. And don’t you worry if you don’t know what a tomatillo looks like, I’ll teach you.

Now, I need you to cruise to your favorite market, and head straight to the produce:

1. Tomatoes. You could use any variety you want, but I prefer the smaller ones on the vine, or even roma tomatoes. The smaller ones tend to be about the same size as the tomatillos…which makes the cooking process easier because they’ll need the same amount of time. You will need about 5 tomatoes.

 

2. Tomatillos. Remember I told you I would teach you? Well you can’t say I lied. This is what they look like. Underneath that husk, they like very much like green tomatoes. Try to pick ones with husks intact. Just like other produce, avoid the ones that look wrinkly, bruised or pitted. Also, You’re going to want ones that are similar (exactness isn’t that important, just more convenient) in size to your tomatoes. You will need about 5-7, depending on the size. I try for a 1:1 tomato to tomatillo ratio. Like I said about exactness just a second ago, it’s not important. Having more or less of one or the other will not ruin this recipe.

 

3. Serrano chili peppers. Don’t be scurred, this salsa is not meant to scar your taste buds so they never trust you again…I promise. Serranos look a lot like jalapeno’s slimmer, taller cousin with better taste. I would like you to pick out the 4 prettiest ones you can find. Just like I said about the tomatillos, you’ll want to avoid any that appear wrinkled, bruised or pitted.

 

4. Cilantro. No, you cannot substitute with parsley or any other herb for that matter. I don’t know what the heck chef’s are thinking when they write a recipe and say they this herb can be substituted with something else. It’s a completely different herb, with a completely different flavor. It’d be like telling someone that it’s fine to substitute sugar for salt. It just doesn’t make sense. I digress. I need you to choose 1 bunch of cilantro. Again, the prettiest one you can find, avoiding ones that are wilted or bruised.

 

That about does it for the market…let’s take it back to the house…

At home, you will need the following:

4. A medium pot.

5. Water.

6. A blender.

7. Salt.

8. A big soup spoon.

9. A fork.

That’s it. That’s all you need. Now doesn’t all that wonderful produce you just bought look lovely?

 

Okay, enough with the produce admiration. Let’s continue with our tomatillo lesson. This is what a single tomatillo looks like up close, in it’s husk. I’ve been told that I need to note that I have small little midget hands, so the tomatillo you’re looking at may appear larger than it really is. Consider this fact duly noted.

This is what the same tomatillo looks like naked. See, I told you it looks like a green tomato. Notice that the skin is smooth and shiny. That’s the way, uh huh, uh huh, I like it. Uh huh, uh huh.

This concludes your lesson in tomatillos for today. We will now return to your regularly scheduled Wreck…

Now, here is how you make the salsa:

1. Remove the husks from all tomatillos

2. Remove any stickers or stems that may have traveled along with your tomatoes.

3. Pull off the stems from your serrano chile peppers

4. Place your tomatoes, tomatillos and peppers in one medium pot, like so…

 

5. Fill the pot with water until the produce is just covered, and boil on high for about 15-20 minutes. What you’re looking for is the tomatillos to turn a dingy, split pea soup color and more importantly, you’re looking for the skin on your tomatoes to be peeling off, like so…

 

6. Now that your tomatoes are shedding their skin, grab the pitcher of your blender and set it next to your pot. With your big soup spoon, fish out one of your tomatoes. Now, using your fork, peel off and remove the skin from the tomato and discard. (I normally just drop it back into the pot…it’s not an issue, I promise.) When your tomato is properly naked, place it in the blender pitcher. Repeat for all of your tomatoes. No, you do not need to do the same for the tomatillos.

 

7. Fish out all of your tomatillos and place in the blender also.

 

8. Add ONE of your serrano peppers. Just one. Trust me. Spiciness can vary tremendously among individual peppers, so we play this one by ear. Try one, and if it’s not spicy enough, add another, and so on. If you’re feeling extra cautious, you could cut them in half and add them halves at a time.

9. Set your blender pitcher back on its base, put the lid on (this part is important…unless you prefer to wear your salsa or have been toying with the idea of painting your walls with salsa.) and pulse until it looks similar to this:

 

10. Now, like I mentioned before with the chile peppers, add one at a time. Pulse the blender in between additions, then taste. Here, you’re tasting for spiciness…you’ll be adding salt later.

11. Transfer the mixture to a medium mixing bowl.

12. Chop up your entire bunch of cilantro (just the leafy parts…we don’t want the stems) and stir into your salsa. You can play this by ear also…since I don’t know how big your tomatoes are, I don’t know exactly how much salsa you’ll end up with. If you use the same size as me, I used pretty much the whole bunch and filled a quart-sized mason jar with salsa.

13. Season your salsa with salt to taste. My momma says that the salt can help tone down the heat. Momma don’t lie…not even when she’s not telling the truth. That’s called tricking. But that’s a whole ‘nother post. (Love you momma-I hope I made you smile. If I didn’t remember that I’m your baby and you love me. ;))

14. Enjoy. I like mine on just about everything..chips, eggs, tacos, burritos…

Please refrigerate this salsa. You don’t want critters growing in it. It should keep, stored in an airtight container for about a week or two.

I wouldn’t be able to tell you for sure, because it doens’t normally last much for than a couple days…I must have a salsa-loving mouse in my fridge because it disappears…

I hope that you enojyed this week’s Wreck. Lord knows I enjoyed blowing your mind, teaching you that salsa comes from your kitchen and not a jar.

Next week, we leave the kitchen. Guess where we’re going next?? Stay tuned to find out!

WRECK IT WEDNESDAY!! (Issue No. 3)

14 Mar

So in last week’s Wreck, I promised bacon, so bacon you shall have. It has come to my attention (mostly because up until about a month ago, I was one of these people) that there are FAR too many people that cook their bacon in a pan on the stove.

Well boys and girls, today is the day we wreck that bacon-cooking rut of yours. Sure, your mom probably taught you how to cook bacon, and I’m sure she is a very lovely and sweet well-meaning woman with a sparkling personality such as mine. But I have a dream. I have a dreeeeeeam that one day, our sisters and brothers will no longer sully their pans and their stoves with all that bacon grease and slave over the sink scrubbing their bacon-cooking pans… I’m going to show you the light. Today, you will cook those strips of greasy deliciousness in the oven. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. (pssst…you can tell your mom you made it on the stove if it makes you feel better…but if you’re not a liar liar pants on fire, maybe you can show her this nifty little gem of bacon-cooking innovation)

Here’s what you need for this week’s lesson:

1. Bacon (if I had to tell you this one, them maybe you should stop reading here)

2. Rimmed baking sheets. I say plural, because for one, the baking sheets I own are kind of like my apartment (small), and two, I know my bacon is sliced fairly thin so there’s far too many slices to fit on a single pan. If you have one of those hoity-toity baking pans that is big enough to fit all of them, then one is all you need. Be sure it’s rimmed and not just a flat cookie sheet…unless you enjoy grease fires or looking for a way to get a firefighter in your house. :::wink wink:::

3. Aluminum foil. This is for covering your baking pans and saving your delicate hands from dish soap.

4. Oven. (duh.)

Now that you have your supplies rounded up, here’s how you do it:

1. Do NOT pre-heat your oven. Don’t ask me why, just follow the directions.

2. Cover your pan(s) with aluminum foil. This is not completely necessary, but if you’re anything like me, you loathe washing dishes. This makes clean up a cinch.

Now, if you have one of those nice pans that is big enough to fit all the bacon, you probably won’t have a single sheet of foil to effectively cover the pan. Do not despair. Itssunnyinmysoul has a genius solution for you. I only just now thought of this, so I don’t have a photo to illustrate, unfortunately. Cut two pieces of foil, about 2 inches longer than your pans. Stack the two sheets on top of each other and fold over one of the long edges (fold both pieces together.) Do this a couple more times to ensure there isn’t grease leakage. Now you have a giant sheet of foil to protect your huge pan from having to be washed. You’re welcome.

3. Arrange your bacon slices on your covered baking sheets. Note: try not to overlap slices, as they will end up stuck together. However, if you’re trying to make a bacon flag or placemat…then overlap away!

4. Place your bacon in your COLD oven. It is cold, right? Good. NOW you can heat your oven to 400 degrees F.

5. Set a timer for 20 minutes. Now, this is how long it should take to make your bacon perfectly crispy. Unfortunately, I have an electric oven, and it literally took almost the entire 20 minutes to heat to 400 degrees. Needless to say, my Huckleberry Hound of an oven took closer to about 30 minutes to make my bacon the way I like it. I would suggest checking your bacon at about 17 minutes to survey the damage progress, just to make sure it’s not burning already. (you might have a Speedy Gonzales type oven for all I know) Proceed accordingly.

6. When the 20 minutes is up check your bacon. If you like yours a little on the crispy side, and it looks like this (below), then congratulations, your bacon is done cooking.

Now, if you lined your pans with foil, and you’re not a bacon fat collector, pull off the foil and toss in the trash. Easy peasy bacon greasy.

7. Enjoy your bacon.

Voila! You have perfectly cooked bacon, aaaaand you didn’t have to wash the greasy mess of a pan you would have had to if you had cooked it like your momma taught you. Also, no grease spatters all over your stove. Win.

I hope you all enjoyed this week’s Wreck. I haven’t decided what next week’s will hold, so please feel free to leave suggestions in your comments 🙂

WRECK IT WEDNESDAY!!! (Issue No. 2)

8 Mar

Horray!! It’s Wednesday again! (Yes I know this post is a little bit late, gimme a break) That means it’s time to trash pre-conceived ideas of how things should be done. So lets get to it!

It’s just about spring cleaning time, and that means it’s time to clear the cobwebs and clutter: out with the old and in with the new. Right? Well, If you’re anything like me, you’re not swimming in a sea of extra cash to be replacing a bunch of stuff around the house, That’s where this week’s Wreck it Wednesday comes in awfully handy.

Today, we’re gonna take a fresh look at some not so fresh decor. If you’re like me, you have things hanging around that you’ve thought of tossing out the door. I say, “Nay, nay!” Wait just one hot minute. For just a few bucks, you can completely change your decor from outdated to outstanding.

Between a divorce, a move and a new job in the last year, I have cleared a great deal of the riff-raff out of my home. But these three amigos for some reason have dodged my “goodwill drafts” time after time. I honestly don’t even recall how they made it into my life to begin with. I have been staring at these vases for what has easily been 2 years, plotting their fate. Today, They are finally getting the cosmetic surgery they need to fit into the society that is my tiny apartment.  I suggest you take a look around your house, clear the clutter and figure out how to make what you have left into something you love.

Now that we have our facelift subjects…we need to consider how these items can be transformed to feel more at home, in our home. I decided to color them happy, which can be done for a few dollars with a can of spray paint. The awesome thing about spray paint, besides being inexpensive, is not only does it come in super sweet colors and finishes, but it also comes in textures. This gives a fairly substantial array of choices and options to redecorate with the things you already own.

Apply an even coat of primer first.

Once the primer is dry, apply paint....evenly, duh.

Apply a second coat, if needed. Evenly, duh.

Allow to dry completely before applying a second coat...and before attempting to pick up/move the object.

Yes, I could send these little gems to Misfit Island (my stash of crap I intend to garage sale…someday, in the next 50 years or so). But it’s so sad to see these treasures being unutilized or sold at rock bottom prices just because their colors don’t quite fit in anymore. Why should I get rid of them, just to go out an spend more money, duckets I don’t have, mind you, on shiny new vases?

Well, here you have it: my pretty “new” vases, and it cost me less than $10. I call that a win for the bargain decorator. You’re welcome.

Okay, I'm sure you all are noticing my sloppy handiwork here, with the drippy paint. I will have you know that it was done on purpose. Call it art, I guess...but that's the way, uh huh, uh huh, I like it. Uh huh, uh huh. To each their own.

Here’s a nice little tip: if you don’t have vases, and would like to have some, you could go to Walmart and buy a case of mason jars for super cheap and do this same project. Presto change-o. Oh and if you’re sloppy with your painting like me, never fear. Nail polish remover works wonder on taking that rogue paint off your skin.

I hope you all enjoyed this week’s Wreck. Next week, we talk bacon. You don’t even know.

WRECK IT WEDNESDAY!!! (Issue No. 1)

8 Feb

Well boys and girls, it’s finally here…the very first WRECK IT WEDNESDAY!

I’m here to wreck your idea of how things should be done. I’m here to show you that no matter what, we all have the capacity to be creative. I am here inspire you to bring that creativity to all aspects of your life. The result? A life that is genuinely YOU.

This post is brought to you by the humble, and probably long forgotten composition book. Remember those little books with the black and white marbled cover with space enough to write your name and what class the book is for? Well, this is the required material for today’s wrecking. 

Today is dedicated to those wonderful people who save tickets, brochures, cards, etc as mementos from vacations, special occasions, etc. And if you’re that kind of person, and are too busy to dedicate the hours it takes to produce a quality scrapbook, and the kind of person that is (out of necessity or principle) opposed to shelling out big bucks for new scrapbooks, all the better.

I’m bringing comp books back. No, I’m not going to assign any homework, or say that you all should pick start journaling or penning short stories. I’ve recently discovered this little 40 cent gem makes an amazing makeshift scrapbook. Sure, the book gets fat, and I’ll probably need to use a rubber band at some point to keep it closed, but it sure gets the job done. And I have to say, at about 40 cents for a book (give or take a dime or two), they sure do it for a whole lot less  money. That’s a win in my book. (haha, see what i did there?)

Basically, take all your little mementos and glue or attach them in some fashion into your composition book, add a few photos, some pretty paper, captions, maybe some stickers and called it good. Sounds a lot like regular scrapbooking, right? Wrong. It’s waaaaay cheaper, waaaaay quicker, and waaaaay less fussy. Allow me to demonstrate…

 

A few years ago, I turned a pretty little notebook into The Book of Fun Facts. Nothing crazy extravagant, just a simple scrapbook that had a single fact about myself on each page. Last year, I was perusing my favorite craft website (The Paper Source) and was surprised to see a product called The Smashbook. It’s basically the same idea, a quick way to pull a simple scrapbook together. What really surprised me was the price tag of about 16 bucks for a basic hard-cover, wire-wound notebook. Sure, you get the nifty embossed design on the cover and the pages are heavier stock…but is that worth it? I say no. I would rather spend less than a dollar on a composition book and use the other $14 on some paper and maybe some stickers to fill out the book. But that’s my humble opinion.

Gone are the days where I am too intimidated by a giant blank piece of 12″x12″ paper and all the perfectly coordinated embellishments to create a scrapbook. Gone too, are the days where the remnants of trips, and vacations collect dust and clog the arteries of my tiny apartment. I am saying hello to a new way to scrap my life that encourages creativity and reflects the energy in my life. I finally feel free of my preconceived ideas of what a scrapbook should look like. It looks however I want it to look, and it feels like me.

With that in mind, I bring you the Frugal Smush Book. I hope that this little idea inspires you to clear out some of that clutter and brings together some really awesome memories.