Friday, August 30, 2013

Clearance Finds - Target - Jewelry

Hi all! I am on a roll today. I am trying to catch up what I missed this week.

Last Friday, my family went out for dinner and dropped by Target to look at new cell phones and to get some back to school essentials for the kids. In the door the clearance rack with Jewelry caught my eye. I loved these 2 pieces and they came home with me. The bracelet was $5 and the earrings were $5.58. They had the bracelet in black and gold too, I may go back this weekend to see if they still have it, if so it will be mine :-).

Check out Megan at Honey We're Home, she just posted (today) her new 3-tier bracelet display, and I-spied my bracelet on it (actually that and several Stella & Dot pieces I also have). She has some beautiful pieces.

First Week of School is Over!

Aren't they so sweet and cute? Monday was their first week back to school and the start up of all their activities. Kids have had a long week but I think they are getting back into the swing of things. Fifth and third grade can be exciting and exhausting,so we are looking forward to visiting with family and relaxing this long holiday weekend. I think we will go see Planes tonight to celebrate our successful end to this first school week and to say goodbye to summer. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

HomeGoods Owl

First I have to say the new HomeGoods being built 10 minutes from my house is slated to complete Oct 17. Can I be hired to run this store please? I would be in heaven seriously.

So on my way home from a Reds game I had my gps navigate the path to the nearest HomeGoods south of my house this one is also about 40mins in one direction. They were putting out fall and Halloween merchandise and just set out these owls so I nabbed one.

I don't care for the color though.  I painted it purple with gold legs instead,  perfect for fall.
Monday, August 26, 2013

Part 3 - Cleaning My Drawers! - Junk Drawer #2


Recently I showed you the clean out and swap of my silverware and junk drawer #1. I also cleaned out junk drawer #2, but did not put anything in it except paper plates. While looking for a cord recently I opened that drawer and found all kinds of tools and cords and paper dumped back in it. I will say I was not the culprit, I am trying to clean out the junk not continue to pile it up.

This put me back on course to finish this drawer. I decided that cup lids that have been in a basket on the counter the past 10 years has to go, the bag of bag clips dumped in the drawer also needed a home, the many ipod and phone chargers needed a spot, as well as the new can koozies that followed Tim home Saturday night. After all that I still had some room, we use a lot of ziploc bags so both the sandwich and freezer bags needed to be relocated from the pantry to the drawer.

A standard purchased drawer organizer was not going to work so I decided to make my own compartments with boxes and cover them with duct tape. The duct tape has 2 purposes; strengthen/protect the box and to make them look like they're nice containers rather than cheezit, cereal, Ziploc,  and pop-tart boxes.

Cheez-It box

I had quite a bit of duct tape on hand so I used four different types to cover the boxes.  I will be honest and tell you this took a few hours. The tape is very sticky and was gunking up my scissors so I had to wash them after every box, plus I was being very careful to make sure the tape was placed just right and was not wrinkled.

I love the change and like that we have a home for iPod chargers now.  Having the ziplocs in the drawer is amazing because storing them in the pantry was inconvenient and took up needed space. The best part was getting the ugly basket of lids off the counter, my eyes are still adjusting to the change, the counter looks bare now.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Copycat Carrabba's Cavatappi Amartriciana

We live close to a Carrabba's but we rarely eat there. Not because we don't like it just a lot of the good foods are very fattening. Another issue I have is they have few vegetarian meals that are actually good. We had dinner at Carrabba's in July and I got something that had shrimp on the side. My meal was not good, literally had NO flavor at all, let's just leave it at that. My husband got a chicken meal and the side dish was the Cavatappi Amartriciana. I ended up eating the Cavatappi Amartriciana for my dinner and shoved my plate of yuck to the side.

I loved the pasta in that dish and the dish was clean and had a good flavor. I found several copycat recipes that I could make at home so I can have Cavatappi Amartriciana anytime and made my way.

I found this recipe on I make few changes to it except I use petite diced tomatoes and don't cook them very long (the pasta tends to absorb the juice), the cheese you don't have to mix in, you can sprinkle on your plate to control the fat, and I do not add the pancetta. If you do add the pancetta, I did use it the first time I made this for my husband and daughter to sprinkle on their plates you could use a nice cut bacon instead of spending so much on pancetta (aka fancy bacon). I think you could easily add in sausage if that's your thing.

This is a fast and easy meal that takes little effort to make.




  1. Cook cavatappi according to package directions; drain.
  2. Saute onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes in olive oil over medium heat till onions are soft and translucent.
  3. Add white wine and cook till nearly evaporated.
  4. Stir in tomatoes with their juice till slightly thickened (3-5 minutes).
  5. Taste, and add salt and pepper as desired.
  6. Mix into cooked cavatappi.
  7. Toss with cheese.
  8. Add cooked pancetta (optional).


Friday, August 23, 2013

Duck Tape Brand Gold Picture Frame

Yes it says Duck and not Duct in the post title, but that is the brand Duck Brand.

So I realized I don't have a before pic of the frame, I have others so I may add the before later today. It is a wooden frame from Michaels that was like $2-3 dollars before the 40% coupon, (I bought these like in December, so I don't remember exactly what I paid).

Originally I was going to decoupage these (and I did on one of them, that post still to come)but the duct tape was calling me out. The gold tape is really pretty and shiny even though it does not appear so in the packaging.

I took about 15-20 minutes to carefully cover the frame. I even removed a piece that looked bad and replaced it. I think I still have some fixing to do now that it was been a few weeks and the tape settled some.

This frame is very pretty, gold, and shiny. The tape has a natural texture to it so it has little waves in it. If you don't know it is duct tape you really cannot tell in person. It's in my room for now, it may end up in my home office at some point.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Removing Wax From Candle Jars

Hi everyone!

I have to say despite how much I enjoyed vacation I am just happy to be home. Vacation was so relaxing but I am a home-body and like being surrounded by my own stuff and my own chaos. The best part of vacation was not having to go to work, but alas that fairytale has ended and I am back to being a working class slob like most others.

I have been reading up/catching up on my favorite blogs and looking at my favorite stuff that I hope to some day do or own the past few days.

Today I am bringing forward the serious topic of saving glass candle jars (ok, so its not serious) but if you love candles the way I do, have you ever sat back and tallied the number of jar you threw away after your candle burned out???.....sickening!

There are several methods to removing the left over wax. One is hacking it out with a spoon or butter knife, enjoy that mess. Or you can go an easier route like pouring out the hot wax and then scraping out the wax that dried to the side upon pour out, again enjoy that mess.

The 2 best methods are removal by freezing the jar and popping out the wax. However the mouth of the jar is better if its the same size as the base (such as a bath and body works jar). The other method I like best is to boil a pot of water and either pour or ladle the boiling water into the candle jars, go to dinner or a movie and when you come back the wax will have melted and settled on top of the water. If you have a jar with a smaller opening fill the water up to the narrow section but leave some headroom so the wax will rise and settle in the mouth. If the wax is stubborn you may have to repeat the hot water soak.

Once you remove the wax pucks, pour out the water and clean the jar. If you have wax residue you can use rubbing alcohol to pull the wax residue off the jars. For this latest clean out effort, I used the dollar store hand sanitizer sitting on my kitchen sink (full of alcohol). The wax came right out, and I washed the jars and lids with soapy water.

The jars are so pretty and you can use them for storage at home or for small projects or to use as gifts for family, friends, teachers, or neighbors.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pillow Covers (Red and White Fabric)

Yep, still on pillow covers! I made this pillow cover over a week ago, but vacation put things on hold. This fabric was a 1 yard clearance buy at from Premier Prints in Abigail Flamingo. So far I have only finished one of the two covers I plan to make. Because I only have 1 yard the pocket in the back is not very deep but deep enough to hold an 18 inch pillow insert. I think I will still add a piece of Velcro to keep it looking neat and possibly a button (maybe a wooden button to dress it up).

This pattern was more difficult because I want the pattern front and center on both the front and on as much of the back as possible. But I really like the end result.

These will be a seasonal pillow as I don't have much red in my house, but I can see myself using this a lot because I think they are very pretty.

I have 2 more fabrisc just laying around that I am going to make pillow covers out of then I HAVE to move on to another project that needs attention (believe me I have plenty to choose from).

Friday, August 9, 2013

Baked Jalapeno Poppers ala Rocco

I LOVE cookbooks, I have way too many cookbooks because of it. My local library has a great selection of cookbooks that I can take home and flip through for free. I started writing out a recipe from Rocco DiSpirito's Now Eat This Cookbook and decided it was just crazy, instead I took pictures of the recipes in the book that I like for later use.

My husband loves jalapeno poppers, so I decided that these healthier version of poppers was the right recipe to try first. I have to say these were delicious. We did not make the scallion sour cream dip, trust me these are delicious the sour cream is not needed.

Lessons learned on these is I don't broil the popper too long, when you bake them they get super soft. Another thing I di was after the breaded poppers are on the wire rack and you spray the tops and sides with cooking spray, hold the wire rack over your sink and spray the bottoms too, this gets all the breading crispy on the poppers. I didn't use Cabot's cheese, I just used low fat shredded cheddar.

If you try these let me know what you think!

Gooey Jalapeno Poppers by Rocco DiSpirito


6 jalapeño peppers

½ cup shredded 75% reduced- fat cheddar, such as Cabot

¼ cup reduced- fat whipped cream cheese, such as Weight Watchers

4 scallions (white and green parts), chopped fine

½ cup whole- wheat flour

1½ cups whole- wheat panko breadcrumbs, such as Ian's All-Natural

4 large egg whites

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Nonstick cooking spray

 ½ cup fat- free sour cream, such as Breakstone's


1. Preheat the broiler on high. Place a wire baking rack on a foil-lined baking sheet.
2. Cut each jalapeño in half and scrape out the seeds and membranes. Place the jalapeños on the prepared baking sheet and broil until they begin to char slightly and are partially cooked, about 2 minutes. Allow the jalapeños to cool completely.
3. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
4. In a small bowl, mix together the cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and half of the scallions. Using a teaspoon, fill each jalapeño half with the cheese mixture, packing it in tightly.
5. Put the flour in a shallow dish. Put the panko in a small dish. In a medium bowl, whip the egg whites with a whisk until they are extremely foamy but not quite holding peaks.
6. Working in batches, dredge the jalapeños in the flour, shaking off any excess. Add the jalapeños to the egg whites and toss to coat completely, being careful not to let the filling come out. Add the jalapeños, a few pieces at a time, to the panko and coat completely.
7. Spread the jalapeños out on the wire rack and season them generously with salt and pepper. Spray the jalapeños lightly with cooking spray. Bake until the breading is golden brown and crispy and the cheese is melted throughout, about 20 minutes.
8. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the sour cream and the remaining scallions. Season with salt to taste.
9. Serve the scallion sour cream with the hot poppers.
Thursday, August 8, 2013

Fast Dinner: Morningstar Farms Chicken Patties

I have mentioned in previous posts that I stopped eating a meat based diet in December. That was not a difficult decision but I will be honest that it can be hard to get things together for meals, especially when it is an activity night. I understand why many people who switch to a vegetarian diet gain weight, fast and easy meals can turn into eating carb heavy/calorie laden foods and just bad foods!

Morningstar Farms has some delicious alternatives. I made a faux McChicken sandwich with apple slices and a fruit punch spark for dinner, this was a 5 minute meal. I heated the patty in the microwave according to package directions, used a hamburger bun (I know its white but it is what was on hand!), and a piece of romaine lettuce, and Hellman's light mayonnaise. Fast, easy, and tasty.

On a normal night I might like a serving of veggies, but on an activity night I need fast and easy, this is my alternative to the drive-thru!

What about the spark? By now most everyone has heard of Advocare, I have a few friends who have done the 24 day challenge (some several times) and the changes they made in exercise and diet have led to some astounding results. I don't want to spend almost $200 on supplements, but I was interested in the spark drink mix. My friends Allison and Brian (married couple) who have become an Advocare distributor, have not only lost a lot of weight but have overhauled their perspective and lifestyle because of their strong belief in the Advocare products.

I asked Allison about a month ago if I could buy a sample packet of the spark to taste it and to see if it really delivered on the energy. She was gracious and gave me 2 flavors to try. I liked the fruit punch and decided to buy the tub.

The reason I bought the spark is I have developed a like of diet Mt. Dew, the worst stuff to get hooked on. I want to stop drinking soda and decided that spark, which has a good amount of vitamins and minerals in it, was the best solution. The spark doesn't give me overpowering energy but I do notice that I don't feel tired at certain times of the day when I drink spark. I try to drink water the rest of the day and take daily multi-vitamins.

Give up meat at least 1 night a week! Drink some Spark you'll be happy that you tried something different.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Duct Tape Makeup Tray

Megan at Honey were Home recently posted a duct tape tray and mouse pad she made after seeing another blogger who used duct tape to decorate a picture frame. Megan and the other blogger used a very cool snake skin duct tape to complete their projects.

Here in the big OH, that snake skin tape is apparently a hot buy or is not sold because I cannot find it anywhere. My guess is we just don't have it here yet, shocker!

My daughter's room re-do has been underway so while I was in Walmart I decided to make her this same tray, but using a cute tape that she had begged me for a couple weeks earlier. I then got my eye on the gold duct tape and the solid purple. Yep, all 3 on one tray would be stellar! 

This was a simple project it took about 10 minutes to attach all the tape. Once it was all on, I brushed a light coat of decoupage glue over the whole thing to seal it a bit and add extra shine. Love this look, plus once she is tired of this style we can throw this out or give it away and made something else she likes.

I love the gold, in the package it looked a little iffy but I am glad I went for it, it is very shiny and pretty. I can't wait to make another duct tape project! I have been buying up the different patterns I like including a few holiday patterns so I can make some trays for cookies and other holiday themed projects.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Maroon 5 Concert!!!

I took the pic into the mirror!! Sorry it's backward :-)
Anyone who knows anything about what I like knows that I love a few bands, one being Maroon 5. I am an old school fan (aka pre- The Voice and pre- It won't be soon before long). I have all the albums and know all the songs. Kelly Clarkson was also one of the performers and she was amazing! Kelly Clarkson was beautiful and her voice was spectacular.

We went to a small outdoor concert center in Cincinnati, it has a small pavilion and a small lawn area. Well I wanted pavilion seats but the day tickets were sold to the masses, all the pavilion seats were gone from the pre-sale. But that was ok, the lawn was just fine.

Lawn crowd to my right
I have to say that Adam Levine sounded so good, I was really surprised. I knew what to expect of Kelly Clarkson because I watched American Idol, but Adam Levine I have only seen a few performances on tv, but he sounded better I think in person.

They played a great selection of their songs old and new. We had a great time, it was so fun on the lawn. I was shocked over how many people were there, it was crazy! We were packed like sardines on that lawn.

Lawn crowd to my left

My friend Jen and I we cracking up over this little boy sitting next to us on his little NeHi Ki-Lan (did I just butcher the spelling?) blanket. He didn't want anyone stepping on it and was staring down everyone walking toward him.

Normally I don't buy t-shirts at concerts but I had to for this one, I bought the cutest shirt they had which was a navy blue racer back with the funky pink, yellow, and white bubble letters.

Lawn crowd and Pavillion in front of me

6 of us went. I know I only posted 3 of us, but I don't know the other lady and don't want to post her pic without her permission and the other 2 are 16 and 17 (my niece and family friend's daughter) and I don't want to post their pics either without their parent's permission.

L to R: Andie, Jen, and me

Monday, August 5, 2013

New Pillow Covers!

In the past few months I have rehab fixed a couple pillows, and made 2 different kinds of aqua colored pillows. My BIG mistake was making pillows! I didn't even consider making pillow covers.

Several weeks ago while staring at fabric on Ebay, I noticed some pillow covers being sold by festive Home Décor (an Etsy shop) and a few other sellers. So I checked out Festive Home Décor and loved so many of the pillows and fabrics. I look the fabric names and did a search engine query to see what might return. was what I found.

I got this Swavelle/Mill Creek  red indoor/outdoor Drammen Firebird fabric on clearance for $4.49 a yard and they only had 1 yard left. I also got 3 other fabrics that I plan to make pillow covers out of. My purchase was also with free shipping! So all I have left to buy are pillow forms, which I will get with a 40% off coupon if I cannot get them on a 50% sale at Joann's or Hobby Lobby.


I made the envelope pillow covers with a deep opening so it is not very noticeable. I also did the envelope pillow because it is the fastest way to sew a cover. I may try the hidden zipper in some of the other fabrics I bought.



Sunday, August 4, 2013

Clearance Find - Home Goods

Home Goods is a store that I LOVE, but there is not one near me. The closest Home Goods is a 40 minute drive (in one direction) So for almost 2 hours round trip it is not a store I get to very often. Every time I visit this store I find lamps I love and they always have 1 left, never 2, but one!!! I found beautiful aqua lamps last month but only one. I wanted that lamp so bad but it wasn't worth it when I would need 2 of them.

There is good news though, Home Goods is building a store 3 minutes from my office and about 12 minutes from my house. I am practically salivating as I see the progression of the construction. This new store is supposed to open in September, I am so excited, and will be there opening day. Can't wait to be able to hit Home Goods everyday if I want to.

This last visit to Home Goods I scored some nice stuff most on clearance. One of the silver frames was regular price $5, I already have 1 and wanted another one. The other frame was missing the glass so it was $2 on clearance, I will buy a $1 frame at either Walmart or the Dollar Tree for the glass.

The tray I thought was ugly but it was like $4 (really it's not bad, the bottom is pretty cool, it's the pink sides I don't like). I will repaint that light pink a better color and will use fabric or paper covered with plexi-glass to get year round use of this large tray. The mason jar soaps were not on sale but were $5-6 per jar I thought that was not bad and it prevents me from trying to make one of these jars myself.

Finally as I was paying for my stuff, I noticed the little ceramic pear looking sad and lonely, I got it for $13, not a sale price but I think once I re-do my home office it will be so cute on the desk or on a shelf.

Have you found any good Home Goods buys lately?



Saturday, August 3, 2013

Rehab Lanterns

Hello Happy August!

First I want to wish my nephew Victor a very happy 16th birthday! I cannot believe he is 16.

Also, I cannot believe we are already in August! I am trying hard to complete all our summer projects, but darn it if it won't stop raining here!  I did spend some time today staining a little on our deck, but we still have 2 small sections left to get. My goal is to get it finished tomorrow! I still have the kids play set to stain, plus several other must have projects that we have not been able to address because of all the rain this summer!

I have not posted in the past week. I have been busy with other things but did take pictures of everything I did.

These little lanterns were a wedding present from one of my oldest friends, Courtney. They were on my deck and have been used since 2000. My kids in the past few years have gotten a hold of them and one disappeared. In June when we first started staining our deck, I found the missing lantern thrown off the side of the pool deck and smashed under the basketball hoop's weighted bottom. Next I dug out the 2 stands and the other lantern from the deck boxes.

Because these were so rusty and because lantern #2 was smashed I almost threw these in the trash. But, something in me decided I should save at least lantern #1, and I decided to try to reshape lantern#2. It took about an hour and there was interruption from the hummingbird moth, but I did reshape the lantern pretty good and I decided to sand and paint it and see if it turned out or not.

Both lanterns were sanded and repainted with spray paint. Both lanterns had some broken glass and both were missing the bottom piece that held the tea light candle. I bought a piece of aluminum sheeting from Hobby Lobby in the Union Jack pattern and cut out piece to match the glass, I cut an additional smaller piece per lantern to use in place of the bottom piece for the tea light to sit on.

I scrubbed the good pieces of glass to remove dirt and rust spots. Then I alternated the aluminum sheets and the glass in the lanterns. I chose to paint the lanterns a bright yellow (I used Krylon Gloss in Sun Yellow).

I was pleased with how these turned out. Lantern #2 is still a little mis-shapen but you really cannot tell it unless you know about it. It is also missing the little wire that it hangs from but each lantern has a loop at the top, so until I can find a suitable wire to use as a replacement, I have a work-around.

I think I actually like these more now that they are yellow and have the aluminum sheets in the windows, than when they were brand new.