Thursday, December 22, 2016

Almost Christmas

It's almost Christmas!! I've been much less Ebenezer this year (or at least tried!). For the first time in my long, long life I get to enjoy a REAL Christmas Tree! So very excited.

Zach is on Christmas break.  Of course he gets a cold - but at least he's not missing school! This boy always gets sick around Christmas. I guess it's just who he is.

I've finished a few more crochet projects in the last couple weeks. First up, the blanket that turned into the mess from hell. You don't even have to look closely to realize how screwed up this ended up. And although it was initially accepted by it's recipient, it has since been rejected as being "too narrow". So it's currently in use by Erik.

Also completed - Christmas hat #2

A messy bun beanie

A cozy for my french press

This is a terrible picture - sorry

and finally, a scrubby for cleaning. Cotton on one side and scrubby yarn on the other.

That's it! I've started a very big blanket project and will post updates as progress is made. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and great 2017.

Monday, December 5, 2016

What Have I Been Doing?

From August to December. Once again I have to get better about doing this! It's not like I haven't been doing anything though!

First, Zach is rocking Sophomore year. He did go back to brick and mortar school this year. His grades have been great and he seems to have adjusted very well. I'm learning how to be a morning person again - it's hard!

I've been trying to be crafty and creative these last few months. These things are usually fails because my mom's creative gene skipped me completely 😔. I guess it is what it is, you know what I mean? That hasn't stopped me from trying though!! Here are some things I've done in the last few months.

Painting! I've taken three classes at a local place called Sip n Gogh. It is really fun, and honestly, they make it hard to screw things up! 

This is my painting of Swan Lake. A local attraction.

Channeling my inner Van Gogh

I made this one for my niece! I painted it in
the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

I've not limited myself to painting either. Nope - I'm also teaching myself how to crochet. This one can be particularly frustrating sometimes. I've tried my hand at several things. Some turn out good and others are just a mess. But I refuse to give up! I will get the hang of it!!

The first thing I tried was a soap saver. I found the pattern at The Painted Hinge and thought "I can do that". And I did - here is the result.

But, Zach found this one didn't lather well and was too scratchy. So I made one out of cotton. It wasn't scratchy, but still didn't lather enough. Then I made one out of this scrubby type yarn. Good lather, but a little scratchy. *sigh* So, I'm still trying to figure out how to make these work for us.

I also wanted to make a blanket. So, I found this pattern and decided to give it a go. I chose to do it in variegated yarn though, instead of switching colors. I believe I will never make anything that has squares that need to be put together ever again. This has turned into such a mess. Right now I'm still sewing all these squares together and none of them are the same size. 

So to cure some frustration I decided to try a Christmas hat! Yep, I sure did. And it came out pretty good. Not perfect - but good. I made it green because that is Zach's preferred color. Now I've also stared a red one for Erik. I hope I can get it done by Christmas!!

I also cured a little bit of frustration by making some not really square granny squares. They say these are easy but mine always end up wonky and weird. Erik and I are using them as coasters, after all, I did only make two!

This picture is sideways.
Yeah, I don't know how to fix that.

And because I'm a glutton for making non square squares, I also tried a dishcloth. I cannot for the life of me remember where I got this pattern from, so I apologize for not linking it. 

So there you go - what I've been doing the last few months!! Stay tuned to see what else I can confuse myself with!!

Until next time, een fijne dag verder! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Too Long

Well good day to everyone!

It's been a helluva long time since I've posted anything. Unless you count the post that I was testing from my phone. I'm not, but should - then I wouldn't seem like such a slacker girl.

Thought I'd give you all quick update. Wedding - awesome! Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, and Zion National Park - incredible! Seeing my family again - absolutely fabulous!!

So I do have pictures, but don't have a ton of time right this minute to post them (all). That's because soon I'll be leaving to go pick up the Z-Man. Yes, he decided to go to brick and mortar high school this year, so now I'm the chauffeur - especially since I had him put in a school that we aren't zoned for. He's only been attending for a little over a week, and so far seems to like it. I'm not liking the mornings!! I will never be a morning person. You can make me get up and function, but I will never like it. Anyway, he's a big Sophomore this year. *sigh* Time goes too fast.

We are in the process of doing some house rearranging. 10 years is a long time to live in one place - seriously - so it's time to shake things up a little bit. Besides, Zach really only has a few years left, so I thought moving stuff around now would make it seem less like we were taking over his space as soon as he moves out! =)

So for now, that's a quick and dirty from SC.


I'm just testing doing blogger while mobile. You may or may not ever see this message again! :)

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, May 2, 2016

It's May!!

May 2016. Big month around here. My niece is getting married! Yay! I'm so happy for her. This means I get to see my family again, for a good reason instead of a crappy one. Also, we have three family members graduating from high school this month. Crazy that these kids grow up so damn fast.

The last time we were all together was July 2006, for my sisters funeral. I got to see my sister in June 2012 in Michigan, when our dad passed. I do have one niece that I saw not only in June of 2012, but also last year in May. That visit was a few hours long and I finally got to meet all three of her kids and hubby. So, now we get to all get together and celebrate something awesome. I can't wait! Bonus happy - hubby is giving her away. He is immensely honored that she asked him to do the honors.

After the wedding and a side trip to the Grand Canyon, Zach has to do his end of course testing for school. We are almost done with his first full year of South Carolina Connections Academy. He's enjoyed it, and while at times it's been stressful and confusing (there is definitely a learning curve!), overall it's been a good experience. However, Mr. Little Man has asked to go to "regular" high school starting next year. I'm torn on this for sure - the school system in our our town is subpar, but I can't deny him the "high school experience" he's searching for. Honestly, I hated high school. Hubby didn't, so it could be a toss up for the boy. I made him a deal that he has to commit for the full year (like we did with Connections). So, we'll see how all that plays out.

In March, Erik and I celebrated our 20th anniversary. We got married in Salt Lake City, which is where we're going to be for nieces wedding. Kind of like returning to the scene of the crime!!

So, here are a couple pictures for you!

Me and my bestest! First time we've seen in other in 10 years.
Yes, that's apparently a theme.

Birthday bowling.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

DIY's Gone Wrong

Most of my DIY's are homemade cleaners. I'm not crafty or creative, but I like trying to find better (less expensive) ways to clean without throwing a bunch of chemicals in my septic system.

Believe me, I've had more than my fair share of 'terrific' homemade cleaners that for whatever reason I didn't like, or didn't work the way I would have wanted (or imagined). It's frustrating because not only did I spend time doing it, I also spent money on the ingredients. We don't have a bunch of money thrown on our bed that we roll around in every night. Know what I'm saying?

Fail #1 - Homemade Powder Laundry Soap

I went with powder for two reasons - #1 I don't have a place to store a 5 gallon bucket of laundry soap and #2 I didn't want to mess with cooking anything. This seemed to work, but in the end our clothes always smelled not quite clean. So I have a very large amount of this borax, washing soda, and some kind of laundry soap bar still hanging around the house. So, today, I threw some in the toilet. It worked. Maybe I could dissolve it and throw it in an old shampoo bottle or something so I can squirt it instead of using the powder that won't stick to the sides. Something to put on the back burner for now. I think I'll use it for this purpose though. I mean why buy more crap if it works?

Since I made this I found a smaller recipe for liquid soap that I've made and like. I make my own soap bars and the cooking part doesn't bother me. Kind of fun.

Fail #2 - Dishwasher Tabs

The first fail was they didn't stay in tablet form. The second was they really didn't work in my situation. We do have hard water here, so that may be the problem. But once again, now I have a lot of powdery ingredients taking up precious space. I repurposed a parmesan cheese shaker and am using it like Comet. I used it in my kitchen sink the other night and it works well enough for me to use the remainder as scouring powder.

Fail #3 - Shampoo Bars

You can read all about my shampoo bar fail here. There isn't much recovery needed from this fail though. I still have awesome smelling bars of soap that I can use. Since I made these at 8% superfat, and they are loaded with tea tree oil they will become the bar of soap that sits on my kitchen sink. A loss for my hair equals a win for my hands!

Fail #4 - Sweetened Condensed Milk & Homemade Creamer

A two for the price of one fail! I stepped into the world of trying to make homemade sweetened condensed milk, and then homemade creamer (of my own design). You can read about my process here. Sadly, when something like this goes wrong it's a total loss. Down the drain & in the garbage it goes. It will not stop me from attempting this again though!

So, what do you do with your DIY/homemade fails? Does that stop you from trying again?

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Dark Chocolate Milk

I like making my own coffee creamer. I get most of the recipes from Mrs Happy Homemaker and so far the only one I've been disappointed in is the chocolate one. It's just not chocolatey enough for me. The one thing all these recipes call for is a can of sweetened condensed milk. That I don't usually keep on hand. So when the mood strikes me to make say Almond Joy creamer I can't. Because if I run to the store for sweetened condensed milk, I'm just going to pick up the Almond Joy creamer. You know what I'm saying here?

So making sweetened condensed milk seemed like a good idea - time intensive, but mostly down time. Just stirring and watching. So I searched for a recipe that uses almond milk. We've recently switched to almond milk, we like it better. Of course there's one out there and I found it here.

But I like chocolate. And hello...remember - not chocolatey enough? So why can't I make chocolate sweetened condensed milk? Why not? Hey, I'm willing to try anything once (or twice if I think it's just a minor tweak). So using these ingredients:

I tried my hand at making some dark chocolate sweetened condensed milk. I changed the sugar quantity from the original recipe to 1/2 cup and subbed 1/4 cup of the dark chocolate chips for rest.

After I got it all heated up it looked like this:

And, by the way, smelled really good. Even the Z_man said it smelled good and he doesn't like chocolate. Or milk. How this child is mine, I'll never know. But I digress.

I was über cautious with the whole cooking thing. Maybe too cautious, but I have an electric stove and those things don't reduce heat very quickly. But I did cook it down to about half. But it never thickened up like I thought it would.

So, working on the premise of "sauce will thicken as it stands" I left it in the measuring cup for a while. I mean, I had to get to room temperature anyway - might as well see if it helps the cause. I had to whisk it about every 10 minutes or so because the chocolate wanted to separate.

It never did thicken but I plunged ahead anyway. I added 3 tbsp of dark chocolate syrup and some vanilla and started shaking away trying to get everything mixed together.

It did go together fine and the next morning I tried it out. Gross. It had a weird aftertaste, which could have come from using the almond milk, or reducing the amount of sugar. Who knows? Maybe there was too much chocolate (I'm pretty sure this isn't a thing though!). Ahh well, live and learn.

I have used recipes on the site before and they were winners. They also used canned sweetened condensed milk, so honestly, this is where I'm pretty sure I went wrong. I'm willing to give it another shot though. I think I will just buy a small amount of regular milk and forgo the almond milk the next go round though.