Tag Archives: how-to

Bookshelf Paperback Lifts

We recently installed new shelves, but with all the books taken out of storage, we were still having trouble with space. We had mass-market paperbacks stacked either two-deep or rows on top of each other. Either way, not the best. I had saved a pin showing lifts for a DVD shelf, but didn’t like way it was set up. The pin image shows a closed, fixed-width cube-shelf, but our shelves are open and I needed a more fluid, adjustable system that I could add or move chunks for future book accumulation. Then we made a random trip to the dollar store one day, and found the solution.

Paperbacks on shelf: Before

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A Kid’s Summer: Photography

Need something to keep your kids busy for a while this summer so you can get a moment’s peace? Well hey, disposable cameras still exist! Hand one to your kids and tell them to go take pictures! Take a nature walk, or a stroll around the city, or just send them outside and let them snap away.

Disposable cameras still exist! Hand one to your kids and tell them to go take pictures!

If you have more than one child, write their name on the camera so there are no mix-ups. Show them how the camera works by first taking their picture — this will also help to keep track of which photos belong to whom when you get them back from the printers.

Make it a project! For older kids, you could do a photo-a-day: take the camera wherever you go and take one picture every day to document your summer. The kids can make their own keepsake scrapbook with their photos.

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Fresh Strawberry Crispy Treats

These. Are. So. Delicious!

Fresh Strawberry Crispy Treats

I signed up to bring “treats” for my preschooler’s Valentine’s Day party. Then come to find out: there’s a nut allergy in the classroom!

What to do?!
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Packing Away the Christmas Tree

For years now, I’ve been trying different methods for cinching the Christmas Tree pieces so it will fit back in its original box for storage. I’ve tried: large zip-ties (too expensive for one-time use), various strings and twines (cut up my fingers something awful), bungee cords (awkward and ill-fitting), and even strips of muslin (left strings all over the tree branches). I was getting really frustrated. $5 Christmas Tree Storage Solution: Use thrifted belts to cinch down artificial tree branches for storage in original box or tight space.

Then I thought of trying cinch-straps, but they are not cheap and kind of complicated. Then one day at the local Goodwill, I was slapped in the face by an idea: BELTS. DUH.

tree-belts.

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Tutorial: Basic LEGO Bricks Cake

For my son’s sixth birthday, I threw caution to the wind an attempted a LEGO bricks cake. Up to this point, my only experiences with cake-making have been: Prepare boxed cake, frost and “decorate”. So I searched for some instructions and found two articles in particular that seemed the most simple and accessible. The first one has a photo of a professional cake posted along with the recipe, complete with crisp fondant seams and “unrealistic” stacking. The second has the same instructions but with a photo that more accurately matches the methods so I could get a better idea of what to expect.

Here is my end result:

LEGO Bricks Cake!

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Tutorial: Beanbags with Covers

I was super-psyched when I received an email from a Girl Scout Troop leader, inquiring about the Beanbags with removable covers that I had made for my nephew for his birthday. She was interested in making them as a project for her Troop to donate to shelters, and asked if I would be willing to send some instructions. So I took some photos and wrote up some instructions, and decided to make it into a tutorial to post here on the blog!

Download the Beanbags Tutorial PDF

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Good Noodle Success!

In other Gunner news, he filled his Good Noodle Jar, and got a LEGO tank!

He switched his “prize” several times over the course of the months: LEGO tank, Wolverine Claws, Spider-Man web shooter. He would have ended up with the Wolverine Claws, but they don’t sell them in stores anymore! He decided on the LEGO tank, and to celebrate his accomplishment we also went out to eat at Red Robin (our whole family, and it actually went smoothly)! Now we have reset the jar, and Gunner is already thinking of what he will get with his future points.

Gunner with his Good Noodle Jar (full) and his new LEGO tank!

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Microwave Brown Rice

I need to post this “recipe” for making brown rice in the microwave, in case I forget and can’t find it again. It comes out perfectly! I’ve tried making rice on the stove-top, in the crockpot, and one different microwave preparation, and they’ve all sucked! The stove-top method burns the rice and it all sticks to the pot, even with cooking spray! The crockpot method takes 4-6 hours and it also scorches the rice. The previous microwave method I used included too much water and the rice came out soggy and mushy. This microwave version is by far the best I’ve found and has made consistently great rice every time!

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon butter

Combine ingredients in 2-quart glass bowl (preferably with handle). Microwave on HIGH 5 minutes or until boiling. Stir. Continue microwaving on 50% power for 30 minutes. Fluff with fork.

Enjoy! Microwave Brown Rice

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Tutorial: Dancing Ribbon Rings

With my niece’s birthday (6 years old!) coming up, I was searching around for something to get her when I discovered these beauties: Dancing Ribbon Rings.

These would make awesome party favors for a little girl’s party! They’re quick and easy, and relatively inexpensive. They would also work great in Easter or May Day baskets, or make them red-white-and-blue for the 4th of July, or Christmas-them-up for stocking stuffers!

Download the Ribbon Rings Tutorial PDF

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Recipe: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

My mother got this recipe many years ago from a childhood family friend of my father’s named Mina Newton (one of those “like an Aunt, but not really” situations). I’ve never been a big fan of oatmeal raisin cookies, but these are so soft and chewy and tasty that I can’t resist! These are my husband’s favorite, so I usually double the recipe to make enough to last a while.

Mina Newton Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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Recipe: Pickle Wrap Dip

My most favorite contribution to parties and get-togethers! My mom used to make pickle wraps for when her-side-of-the-family would come over to our house at Christmas. If you’ve never had a pickle wrap, I feel very sorry for you. This dip is basically chopped up pickle wraps, and although it’s not quite as good as real pickle wraps, it is a great and tasty time-saving substitute that everyone seems to enjoy.

Pickle Wrap Dip

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Recipe: Horsey Ham Casserole

It’s not what you think! The “horsey” in this recipe is horseradish. (mmm) My mom would make this maybe twice a year, mostly for potlucks, and it was always one of my favorite foods. I had all but forgotten about it until about 5 years ago, when it struck me one day while I was making a different casserole. I called my mother, and she said, “You know, I have a recipe. You could make this yourself.” (slap) So, I dug out one of her company cookbooks and found the recipe! It’s… so… good!

I recommend cutting this recipe in half! As it is written here, it makes about 20 servings, but it can be frozen. So, if you don’t halve it, you can at least freeze half of the finished product and have it a couple weeks later. :)

Horsey Ham Casserole

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How-To: Easily Remove Cockleburrs

We live out in the country, so as a family (including the dogs) we encounter cockleburrs of varying size, shape and nastiness. So I figured I would share an easy method of removing them from virtually anything without pricking your fingers…

How-To: Easily Remove Cockleburrs

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Make Your Own Album Cover

A fantastically fun activity from the Best Week Ever blog!

Massower See - That Should be Secondary

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