Sunday, September 11, 2016

Cookies, Furniture Markers, Calming Cats and Carline Horror Stories

Hello all! 

We're finally getting back into the swing of things now that school is back in session again. The great thing is that my youngest son is a senior in high school and has an off period this year. This means he doesn't have to go in until second period. It's great because instead of getting up at 5:45 like I have for years, I can now sleep in until 7. It's glorious, I tell ya! :) He's also driving himself, so no more car lines for me. Yippee! I've done car lines for the last 17 years!!! And for 7 of those years, my boys were in two different schools, so I was making 4 trips a day to two schools. Glad that phase is over. :) Oh, and I could tell you horror stories about the car line at schools... 

For those of you that don't know, they have a special line for "car riders" at school. Ours is a horseshoe shaped drive that goes in front of the school and it's for morning drop offs and afternoon pick ups. The morning car line is usually pretty smooth, but the afternoon...well, it gets tricky.

The rules state that you have to pull all the way up to the front of the car line (they usually have a sign on the ground telling you where to pull up to) Then you turn your car off, roll your windows down and wait it out until the bell rings for dismissal. 

Sounds easy, right? Well, the thing is that the pick up driveway isn't very long. Meaning that only a dozen or so cars can fit. In order to fit into the actual drive, you have to get there about 45 minutes before the bell rings and sweat it out in your car the whole time waiting. If you're not there that early, the line will already be out into the street. It's a busy street and you have to pull over to the side and wait while cars go whizzing by. It's not enjoyable, to say the least. 

So because of this, I would always try to get there early. Also, a lot of years, I had another child to pick up at another school after that, so I had to get child number one pretty quickly in order to get to child number two. The closer you are to the front of the line, the faster you get your child.

It usually works pretty well. Usually. Now keep in mind that a lot of times I would have to wake my sleeping toddler from his nap in order to get there that early, then we'd wait it out in 95 degree weather while I tried to entertain him in the car. Not fun.

So imagine how I felt one day when the PRESIDENT OF OUR PTA pulled into the car line 5 minutes before dismissal to pick up her child, bypassed all of us that had been sitting there for almost an hour in the heat, and drove to the FRONT of the pick up line and BACKED HER CAR INTO A SPOT IN FRONT OF THE FIRST PERSON IN LINE!!! 

Oh yes she did! She totally cheated! She got there at the last minute, skipped to the front of the line and squished her car into a spot in front of the person who had been there for almost an hour. What?! And it wasn't even once...she did this all the time! Can you imagine the hatred boiling up inside all the moms behind her, including me? Oh man. 

She eventually quit doing it, thank goodness. I mean, who did she think she was? And the worst part was that her kids witnessed her doing this and then they thought you didn't have to take rules seriously. A vicious circle, I tell ya. 

Now, let me just say this happened back in 1999, and it STILL bothers me to this day! Ha! That woman sure created some bad karma for herself. ;) Oh, and since I know someone is going to ask, yes, we could keep our cars running with the a/c on, but I never did because I would just be wasting gas for 45 minutes while sitting there. 

So tell you have any car line horror stories to share? I'd love to hear them! 

So first up, I wanted to share these delicious cookies with you. They're more like a meal replacement and they're really good. 

Lenny & Larry's The Complete Cookie

They're huge! Just be careful because the nutrition facts state that there are 2 servings in a package. So the calories, fat, etc. are for HALF a cookie. If you eat the whole thing, you have to double everything. I sometimes eat half for breakfast and then break up the other half into a couple of snacks. With 16 grams of protein, they keep me full for a long time. They're very soft and moist. So good!

These would be so good to keep in your purse or your kid's backpack for a quick protein boost. They're very filling, easy to pack, and not messy, so they're perfect for an after school snack. These would also be great if your child is in extra curricular activities and doesn't have time to come home for a snack first. 

Here are some more flavors they carry...

Peanut Butter, Snickerdoodle, and Chocolate Chip. They have lots of other flavors too. I just tried the Birthday Cake version and it's my favorite so far.

Sprinkles, y'all! :)

My store even has a pumpkin spice version right now. I got these at HEB, but they're also available at Walmart, Target, Academy, Amazon and other grocery and health food stores. I got some at GNC recently. They sell for about $1.50 each.

In other news, I've had this big scratch on my dining room table for years now and I finally took the time to fill it in with one of those furniture markers. 

I just used this very old one that came with a really cheap desk we bought once...

You can see below how it covered it up pretty well...

You really can't tell from a distance...

But now they have newer versions like these...

Home Depot

 Just look at all the shades they come in now!

These filler sticks would come in handy too...

Bed Bath and Beyond

I can't imagine how much better the coverage is with the new ones. At around $6 a pack, I think I might need to buy some. You can get them at places like Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes and Bed Bath and Beyond (don't forget your 20% coupon) 

Y'all remember my mom's "twins" right? 

So cute!!!

Well, they are a little over a year old now and they can be very rambunctious. Like, they will literally leap over my mom's head when she's on the sofa. Lol. They also like to jump on top of the fridge and mantel. She recently bought this product and it helped tremendously to calm them down.

Here's a link to the website that explains how it works.

Feliway Diffuser

It's basically a plug in diffuser that helps to calm cats and curb unwanted behavior. My mom is very pleased with the results. Trixie and Cecil are a lot calmer now. :) She bought it on Amazon.

And now I'll leave you with a little funny to make you laugh. I saw this on The Today Show the other day. Just look at how this plumber painted his truck...

Is that perfect for a plumber's work truck, or what?!

So funny! 

Hope y'all have a great day and tell me your carline horror stories! :)


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

September Ramblings

Hello! How is your week going? There's been a slight drop in temps, so I'm a happy camper. On a side note, I hate camping. Lol. 

So, I said the word "treat" the other day and look who came running...

Side note: I think it's time I replace that iron scroll above the doorway. I'm thinking of making another sign, like the one I made above our pantry. Maybe a "farmer's market" sign or something?

She understands a lot of words. For example, when I say "bird" she runs to the living room window because she knows that's where she can usually see them. They tend to hang out in the trees and fountain right outside that window.

And when I say "garbage truck" she runs to the dining room window because that's where she can see the street where the garbage men are. She loves to watch the big garbage truck. Ha! She has quite the vocabulary for a feline. ;) 

Anyway, I mentioned how I recently touched up these chairs and this bench with my favorite spray paint. It's amazing what a few minutes of sprucing up can do. 

Do y'all make your bed every day?

I do. I can't start my day without a freshly made bed. I think I've made it every single day for the past 25 years. 

So, I've had these pictures on this little shelf by my pantry forever...

 The one on the left is a picture my oldest son took while we were vacationing in California. It's the Japanese Tea Gardens...

I remember being impressed with his photography skills. 

And the one on the right is a painting my youngest made when he was little. It's a rendition of "The Scream" by Edvard Munch...

the scream by edvard munch

I thought he did a pretty good job, especially for being so young. Here's a side by side of his version (on the left) and the real one (on the right)...
Every time I think of re-doing these shelves, I can't bring myself to take these pictures down. Do you find yourself doing that too? 

Well, I guess that's all the rambling for now. 

Y'all have a great day!


Thursday, September 1, 2016

My Future Filmmaker and House Pics

Are y'all getting ready for Fall? With football season back in full swing at the high school, it seems like fall is closer than ever now. I know I'm ready for the cooler temps. I thought I'd share this pic of my youngest son. He's a senior in high school and has a job with our school district filming football games/track meets/graduations, etc. at our stadium and projecting them up on the jumbo screen for everyone to see. They are fortunate to have some awesome camera equipment and a state of the art control room above the stands. Sometimes he's on the field filming, and sometimes he's in the control room directing, etc. He loves it! He's still taking a film class at school and it takes up three class periods a day. He's loving his senior year! Here's a pic of him in action...

I shared this pic of my laundry room on IG recently...

See all those paper towels??? I do so well with recycling and trying to be green, but I can't give up my paper towels. I've tried, but I just can't do it. 

I'm still enjoying my chandy makeover...

I've also been taking a few pics around the house before all the fall decor comes out. I always take "before" pics so I'll remember where all my "everyday" decor goes after the holidays. My house is in holiday decor mode from September through January, so come the new year, I usually forget where everything went. Lol! 

It's nice to have pics to look back at to refresh your memory. 

Thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dining Room Chandelier Makeover

Hello there! I've been thinking of painting my dining room chandelier for a long time and finally made it happen the other day. 

Here's how it looked before...

And here it is now...

I love how the darker medallion really stands out against the ceiling.

I just love it! All I did was remove the cord cover and shades, then I spray painted the entire thing (chain and all) with Rustoleum Heirloom White. I also spray painted the ceiling medallion Satin Granite, and added clear round bulbs. 

Here's a side by side comparison...

I love the updated version!

Here's the paint I used...

And here are the bulbs I got from Home Depot...

I should have done this years ago! The whole thing only cost me about $12. Not bad, huh? While I had the spray paint out, I did some touch ups on my kitchen barstools and chairs. It has been two years since I painted them (see that post HERE) and they've held up great. They're heavily used on a daily basis, so I was glad it took two years for them to need a touch up. Originally I was going to go for the "distressed look" when they started needing touch ups, but I decided to go ahead and paint them instead. 

Here's how one of them looked after two years of wear and tear...

And after a quick touch up...

Here's a full shot of the dining room with the new and improved chandy...

I was totally inspired by Sonya and her blog At Home With The Barkers. She did a wonderful makeover on her chandy and I knew I had to do the same. 

And in all fairness...I have to admit I was also inspired by the tv series American Gothic. Are y'all watching that? So good! Anyway, the whole reason I started watching it was because of the house in the promos. I simply had to watch to see more of that beautiful house. One of the first things I noticed was this big chandelier with those round bulbs in the main house...

Kinda blurry, but you get the picture. 

Just look at all the trim work in this house...

And this kitchen...

Look at this foyer!!! 

I'm always pausing this show to look (drool) at the house. :) 

That was the final push I needed to get started on this little project. Isn't it funny how shows can inspire us with their decor choices? And how fun would it be to be a set decorator? :)


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Adding a Back Up Camera to Your Car for $40

I recently mentioned how we added a back up camera to my son's car for about $40. His car didn't come with one and he really wanted to add it. I thought it was a good idea and a neat safety addition as well. 

I think it will be 2018 before all new vehicles (weighing less than 10,000 lbs) will be required to have back up cameras. I'm so glad they're doing this. It's about time. 

The one he chose came with a rear view mirror that clips on to the existing mirror and the backup camera was sold separately . It's kind of hard to explain, but the new clip on mirror looks and works just like a regular mirror, but when you put the car in reverse, the middle part of the mirror shows the view from the backup camera.

Here's the mirror we bought...

And the camera...

They do sell a wireless version, but at the last minute, we decided to get the wired one because with the wireless one, they would have to locate 2 more power sources to plug the transmitter into. Plus, we read that sometimes the wireless ones can have interference. 

Also, I think places like Best Buy will install these for you. 

I'm not going to go into details as to how they installed it, because every vehicle will be different, but basically they installed the camera at back of the vehicle, then ran the wires through the trunk, behind the driver's side door panels, and up to the mirror. The whole thing took around 3 hours.  

None of the wires are visible and it doesn't look any different than it did before. 

A few things to keep in mind...It really does work, but it's not nearly as good as the ones that come already installed on the cars. My older son's new truck has a back up camera and when in reverse, you can not only see behind you, but all the way down the street to the right and left. However, with this one from Amazon, you don't have as wide an angle. Still a good feature, just not as big a view.

Obviously you're going to get a much better picture with the ones that come already installed and show up on the LCD screens on the dash. As I said, this one shows up in the middle of the clip on mirror and when in reverse, the back up picture has a slight glare in the daytime. You can still see what's behind you, there's just a bit of a glare. It works great at night though. 

All in all, it was well worth the $40 for peace of mind. I would highly recommend, especially if you have little ones that play outside and around the garage or parking area. Or even pets, for that matter. Let me know if y'all have any questions and I'll do my best to answer. 

Thanks for stopping by!


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Blueberry Muffin Recipe with Kolache Topping

I'm back today to share a blueberry muffin recipe with you. The recipe is from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, circa 1990. 

It's a plain muffin recipe with lots of variations listed where you can add extra ingredients for blueberry, cranberry, jelly, date-nut, cheese, banana, pumpkin, corn, or oatmeal muffins.

Here's a link to the Better Homes and Gardens muffin recipe:

I've used this recipe for years and usually make the blueberry version, which I'm sharing with you today. The only difference is I add my mom's kolache topping which makes a world of difference. 

I'm part Czech and grew up on kolaches. I could eat them on a daily basis. :) My mom made them all the time when I was little. 

My favorite part of the kolache was the topping she added. A true fruit kolache will have this sweet topping made from flour, sugar, and butter and this is what I add to my muffins. So without further adieu, here's the recipe...

Make the topping first and set aside.

Mom's Kolache Topping:

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter

Combine all three ingredients in a bowl using a pastry blender and set aside.

Better Homes and Gardens Blueberry Muffins:

1 3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg
3/4 cup milk (I use 2%)
1/4 cup cooking oil (I use canola)
3/4 cup frozen blueberries (do not thaw)

In mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Make a well in the center. Combine egg, milk, and oil and add all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened and fold in frozen blueberries. Line muffin tins with paper baking cups and fill 2/3 full. Sprinkle slightly less than a tablespoon kolache topping on each muffin (I very lightly press the topping into the muffin a little)  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden. Yield: 10-12.

Here are a few pics from the last time I made these.

You can see my pastry blender in the background. This is the kolache topping...

The batter will be kind of thick...

Here they are awaiting their topping...

Yum! With the topping added, they're ready for the oven.

You can see the bits of butter in the topping. Oh so good!

And here is the finished product...

Lots of chunky blueberry goodness...

So good and so easy to make. 

Oh, and have y'all tried this Almond Water? I got it at HEB, but they sell it at lots of places and it was so good! This was my 150 calorie snack the other day...almond water and a Keebler birthday cake cookie. :) 

Thanks for stopping by!


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