Sunday, September 30, 2012

Easy DIY Updates on a Budget

Lately, we've been playing musical rooms with our upstairs, attempting to update them one at a time.  The first we started was our smallest bedroom.  At the time we started, it was just an extra room.  I'm very disappointed to say we don't have before pictures to really demonstrate this to you.  I'll try to paint the picture: terrible tan-ish colored carpet and wallpaper from the 1970s featuring birds flying away from what seems to be a hunting scene.  It had to go. 

The first thing we did, long before the re-decorating even began, was rip up the carpet.  I could see from corner that there was some wonderful hard wood hiding underneath, but my husband warned me: don't touch it until we have the time and money to really fix it.  You don't know what's under there, he warned.  Did I listen?  No.  How could I with my mother-in-law standing next to me saying, Do it!  Tear it up! There's hard wood under there! 

I suppose I should take a moment to give a little history of our home.  The house has been in my husband's family since the 1800s when it was built.  Many family members were born here, and some died.  There's a lot of love and history in our house, and its also slightly crooked in many spots from years of adding on throughout the decades.  My husband's grandmother was in an exclusive relationship with wall paper, subsequently leaving the next occupants with layers and layers of it.  Those next occupants: my husband, son and I.  And I couldn't be happier!  I love this house.  It was after all, the spot where I first met my husband with a brief hello.

Ok, getting back to it.  Of course I listened to my mother-in-law and tore up the carpet.  Thankfully, it was very easy, as it hadn't been nailed down too much, and I proved my husband wrong, for perhaps the first and only time, ever.  Underneath was lovely hard wood floors!  I oiled them and it was beautiful. 

Next up was the wallpaper.  We all worked to take down the layers and layers of paper, using the inexpensive method of simply spraying vinegar on the paper and peeling.  You may need to spray on each layer, if you're in an old house like ours and there are multiple.  My husband took over for the next steps.  He sanded, primed and painted (I've been forbidden, since I'm terrible at painting).  To save money and time, we texturized the walls using Spackle instead of trying to even them out.

Now, this is where I come in: the decorating!  Right now, this room is acting as my two year old's room while we re-do and update his older, much bigger one.  The plan is to make his large room into his bedroom/play room, and the smaller room will eventually become a nursery for future babies. 

We went with a Toy Story theme for his room, since he's obsessed with it.  We also had his birthday party in the same theme, so some of the decorations came as gifts at his party.  For about $3 I made his curtain, the letters and numbers where stick on decals I picked up the Christmas Shoppe for $1 a page and the artwork were all gifts from his baby shower.  *we're still in the process of hanging is other pictures.

Ok, the moment you've been waiting for!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New Discoveries About Diaper Changing (dun dun dun)

My son has always hated getting his diaper changed.  When he was a wee little newborn (well, if you consider nearly 9 pounds wee and little) he hated being wet in his diaper.  He also hated being changed/cold.  Pretty much safe to assume he hated everything diaper related.  Now, as a mature 2 year old, his hatred of diaper changing has only increased.

We're starting to potty train, which theoretically should work to my advantage.  Kid hates diapers, kid discovers potty and BOOM!  Miracle.  N.O.P.E.  No way.  He's not very excited about the potty either.  Sure, he uses it, a few times a day while eating a cookie, but we're not potty trained yet. 

So here's out it goes (about 50 times a day):
Step 1: My son yells "POOPIEEEEE."  I ask if he's gone poopie.  He says, no.  My nose senses he has in fact gone poopie.
Step 2: He sees me reach for the diaper.  "NOOOOOOO."  I say, "YESSSSS." And attempt to pin him to the ground while distracting him with songs and other tactics.  He's on to me.  He knows what's coming.
Step 3: I give him the very important job of holding the sacred clean diaper and swiftly clean up the mess (that he denied having done). 
Step 4: He runs away.  I rejoice that its over.

What have I learned from this?  Toddlers are harder to change than newborns, and newborns may be easier than toddlers.  He's lucky he's so cute.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Be Green, Help a Horse

A friend of mine has a wonderful Etsy shop featuring heavy duty upcycled reusable shopping bags.  With each purchase, not only do you get an awesome bag (my favorites are the horse ones) but a portion of the proceeds goes directly to a local horse rescue.  The bags are very well made and are perfect for your large grocery trips.  Would make great gifts for the holidays that are right around the corner!

Visit the shop Here and check them out!

Equine Senior Upcycled Market Bag

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Gluten-Free Pizza for the Whole Family-On a Budget

I love pizza.  I mean LOVE it.  When I went gluten-free in 2007, one of the things I missed the most was nice, greasy pizza house pizza (specifically from the York House of Pizza in York, Maine).  I shed tears over the notion of never having it again.  And for those of you who have tried the frozen gluten-free pizzas, you probably found the same results I did: not worth the money.  One way I make it now, after much trial and error, is using the Gluten-Free Bisquick recipe you can find on the box.  Of course, as I tend to do with everything, I change it up a bit.  The result is a yummy pizza that tastes a lot like normal gluten-filled homemade pies. 
Here's what to do:
Pick up some of this  for about $4.99 at the grocery store.  Pretty steep, but you can use coupons to save a little.  Follow the recipe found on the side of the box for pizza.  This box should make 2 pizzas, which is a lot cheaper than the upwards of $12 you can spend on one small one in the freezer section. 

I use a round pan to make myself feel like I'm eating real pizza.  Be sure to spray the pan.  I will admit, spreading this onto a pan is a bit of a challenge, but worth it.  The trick I use is to continuously wet your fingers with cold water and spread it with them.  Don't worry if there are small holes. 

The last thing I do a little different, is to add a little oil to the top after adding the cheese and toppings.  It gives it that slightly greasier taste I craved from the inability to eat real pizza. 

The results:

I Dare Say, Fall Has Arrived!!

Fall is my favorite time of year.  I think it is for most people.  This year, fall seems to be bringing an even busier schedule than the summer and I'm ready for it (I think)!  As we are getting into these amazing cool days and everyone is knee deep in the hustle and bustle of back to school, Halloween is probably on your mind.  Mine too.

We've been brainstorming ideas for costumes for my son.  Though this isn't his first Halloween, it will be his first time trick or treating and his costume has to be amazing.  Here's some of our ideas so far, in no particular order:
-The Lorax: we are dying to put a mustache on our kid.  My idea, though I haven't tested it yet, is to get a rectangle shaped piece or fuzzy orange fabric, cut a head space out of it and have him wear it like a poncho. The mustache and eye brows may be harder to make, so if you have any ideas, please send them my way.  The thing we like best about this idea, is my husband and I would get to dress up as Truffula Trees....yes!
-Woody/Cowboy: as part of his birthday present, my son got a Woody accessory set from the Disney store.  Pretty much the easiest costume we can do, since the rest is just clothes he already has.  Upside: so cute and easy.  Downside: he has been a cowboy before. 
-My sister had the best idea I've ever heard for a baby costume, and even though my son's too old for this one, I sure which we could do it.  My dad is a lobsterman, so naturally, my family is drawn to anything lobster.  My niece is 5 months old and is planning on being a lobster for Halloween.  Are you wondering where this gets good?  She's going to sit in a lobster pot, in her stroller.  Best costume ever. 

If you're looking for some cute trick or treat bags for your little one, I have some available in my Etsy Shop.  They are made for smaller treat seekers, but I can do larger, if you request one.  This is actually the second batch of these I've made, after the first ones sold out in a week! 
I also have some super cute (and cheap!) Halloween Bandannas for pups, toddler and kids, so be sure to check those out too!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Roasted Chick Peas

A few weeks ago I bought a couple cans of chick peas.  I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with them, but I wanted to do something.  I started to research roasting them, and after my first handful, I couldn't understand why I hadn't done this sooner.  They were delicious!  Oddly enough, my two year old was obsessed with them which is great because they're a healthy treat.  They have iron too, which I'm terribly in need of, so that's an added bonus.  I used a recipe I found on this blog but made a couple changes to cater to my family's taste buds.

Here's what you need:
1 can of chick peas (15 oz)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt (add more to taste, if you prefer more salt like I do)
1/8 tsp chili pepper
1/8 tsp paprika

What to do:
Drain and rinse the chick peas and combine all the ingredients in a bowl.  Mix them well to coat the chick peas.  Spray some oil (Pam, or whatever kind you have) on a baking sheet and spread the chick peas on it.  Put them into the preheated 400 degree oven for about a half hour, adding a little more time if you prefer them crunchy.  Be sure to turn them a couple times.  Enjoy!
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