Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Pinterest: Burlap Signs

I said in the beginning that I wouldn't do much house d├ęcor bc of the fact our walls are horrible about actually holdings things up and a destructive sweet toddler getting ahold of them! But, our bedroom walls are bare and boring. I mean we only sleep in there, and there is usually laundry everywhere, but it needs some sort of life.

I've been seeing wood signs, paintings, canvas prints and such on Pinterest that I LOVE! There are so many tips and tricks to transferring letters and pictures onto wood too! This time I decided to keep it easy though with a simple and cute burlap sign. (I don't have transfer paper, scrap wood, and the tools at this moment in time)

I had some 8.5in x 11in burlap pages (I think I got to use for a friend's wedding and had extra). It shows you can run them through the printer... But I'm afraid of ruining the thing that I need to use pretty much every single day!

Easy fix though! Just print out what I want on the sign (Bc lets face it, my hand writing looks like Jameson scribbled it), cut out the letters, trace onto burlap, color in... TADA!!!! It seriously was that easy! The cutting out of letters was a little tedious, but with the sick boys snoring on the couch together, I had the time to savor crafting for once.

Here's the final project! I had a random canvas laying around that I couldn't really use
bc it had mess ups on it. RED SPRAY PAINT FIXED THAT!!

Simple canvas sheets. The back is like a laminate so it doesn't fray and fall apart. LOVE!
Exacto knives are the best way to cut out letters, Don't worry about it being PERFECT bc you will be using a permanent marker to trace the letters and can always go back and fix the little uneven edge, which you cant really tell since burlap is uneven.
Figure out what font and size you want your lettering. Once you have that figured out, choose to make your "outline". This saves you from wasting a bunch of black ink. You will be cutting these letters out and tossing them anyways. For the letters that have 'holes' (like my e and 0) in them, make sure you keep that part so you can trace around it! I feel dumb for not taking a picture of the paper with the letters cut out, but I was just waiting for the boys to wake up and beg for food or meds. Keep the paper, NOT the letters you cut out! This way everything is lined up and all you have to do is lay it on the burlap and trace.
Yeah... sorry for the sideways picture... dang camera on my phone!
As you can see though not all the lines are perfect. It's OK! Once you start to fill it in, it turns out even and lovely.
TADA! Too easy and really kind of a quick project. Cutting the letters out took the longest.
 I glued it down on the spray painted canvas, added some little wooden knob things I had laying around, and am surprisingly happy with a 1 hour project.
Now to find a stud in these dang walls!
Carrie Danilla Linn

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Pinterest: Breakfast Casseroles

It's been a crazy week in the Linn house. Nic went back to work after having almost a full month of leave, temperatures outside have been negative windchills and temperatures with all the boys in the house have been fevers. Lucky this mom hasn't gotten sick (knock on wood).

Anyways. I did get a few hours of calm during my favorite day of the week. Thursday mornings are filled with lovely ladies and Bible study. After the winter break I was ready for the season to start back up again.

What is a group Bible study kick off without food though!

Keeping this post short and sweet, since I have two fevery boys on the couch. Two recipes, great for breakfast anytime.

Ham, Egg, and Cheese Pull Apart Bread (I so stole the pic from Pinterest... like I said it's been a long week)

What you need

6 eggs
1/3 cup milk
2 (10 oz) cans refrigerated biscuits*
1 1/2 cups diced ham
1 cup shredded cheese

Oven 350*
Spray a large baking dish with nonstick spray
Beat eggs and milk, add cheese
Cut biscuits into quarters and fold into egg mixture
Add ham and mix lightly
Place into baking dish in an even layer
Bake 25-35 minutes or until done

The original recipe called for 1/4 cup diced green onions, but mine had gone bad, though I'm sure it would have tasted great with them too. Also after 25 minutes the tops were nice and golden brown but under was still gooey, so I put foil over the top and put back in the oven (just kept an eye on it, probably had to add extra 12-18 minutes). This kept the tops from getting burnt. It was really good though!

*Ok so I've been meaning to make biscuits that you can freeze and just take out and thaw as you need. It hasn't happened yet. It will happen though... one of these days! I know those things are filled with some yuck, but lets face it sometimes (most of the time) convenience takes the lead with little things like biscuits.

Lemon Blueberry Breakfast Cake (Picture also taken from Pinterest. I wish I had cute wooden counter tops like that!)

1 stick butter, room temp
zest from one large lemon
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour (set aside 1/4 cup to toss blueberries in)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups blueberries (recipes says fresh, I used frozen... make sure they are slightly thawed!**)
1/2 cup buttermilk*

*To make your own buttermilk, place 1/2 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice (just use the lemon you zested!) in 1/2 cup measuring cup and fill the rest with milk. Let sit for 5 minutes. This is amazing to me! I NEVER buy butter milk, bc lets face it I'm not going to spend the $ on a half gallon of buttermilk when I never use more than a cup... and that's every few months!

Preheat oven to 350*
Cream together butter, lemon zest (I added a quick squeeze of lemon juice too), and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add egg and vanilla and mix until well combined.
Toss blueberries in 1/4 cup flour. <----This keeps them from sinking to the bottom! Who knew!
Mix in baking powder and salt to wet mix.
Alternate adding 1 3/4 cup flour and buttermilk.
Fold in blueberries.
Grease 9x9 baking dish, spread mixture into dish and bake 35 to 45 minutes. Insert toothpick in middle and it's done when comes out clean. I think it took about 55 minutes for mine.

This is seriously so good!

Baking Breakfasts
Carrie Danilla Linn

**Ah! Frozen blueberries! So blueberries are not in season, and as much as I LOVE my Bible study gals, I'm not spending the $ for fresh blueberries. I got frozen ones and figured they would work great bc I use them in my mini muffins all the time... I also forget that I let them slightly thaw in a bowl while I'm doing everything else with the recipes. I forgot and pulled them out right when I had to toss them into the flour then fold them in. OOPS!!!! The batter had gotten so stiff it was nearly impossible to spread! I also think this made the baking time a bit longer, though my oven is crazy so who truly knows the reason for that! Either way though, it did get cooked perfectly and I enjoyed it very much! Jameson also enjoyed the leftovers for breakfast lunch and dinner that day.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Pinterest: Just a few littles

Littles are some of my favorites. Quick. Nothing complicated. Money savers. Space savers. Sanity savers.

Not that I have any sanity left!

On with the show...

Have you ever looked at ingredients in the packet taco seasoning you buy? "Other spices" What is "other spices'?! I may NEED to know in case someone here has an allergy to a spice (Like Ranger and Oregano it appears. Though only in somewhat large quantities. No idea. Just don't use it really. I threaten to put it in his food when he's bugging me while I make dinner though! Ha!) And MSG! I mean I love my MSG like the next Chinese food loving person, but I guess it doesn't truly have a place in this body.

How would you like to know EXACTLY what is in your taco seasoning, make several servings worth at once to have on hand, and save $?! If you answered no, I'm not sure we can be close friends, but please don't stop reading this blog!

DIY Taco Seasoning

4 TBSP Chili Powder
1 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
3/4 tsp Onion Powder
3/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 1/2 tsp Oregano*
1/4 cup Paprika
1/4 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Pepper

Combine all in a container with a lid an shake to mix. I'd say I use about 2 TBSP per pound of meat. Really I just shake some in the pan until I think it's enough. You can add or subtract amount of ingredient to your taste. I like this one just as it is!

*This small amount of oregano doesn't seem to bother the Ranger it seems. Weirdo.

This girl loves, no, NEEDS, her coffee. With sugar and LOTS of creamer. Creamer isn't really too bad in price since I get the store brand most of the time. But I've seen it all over Pinterest on how to make your own coffee creamer. YES PLEASE! I'm not sure I know everything that is in store bought creamer, and I would like to keep it that way to as not to ruin my morning must have.

Pinterest stalking the best recipes, and easiest, I ran across this adorable blog with this AMAZING post! http://www.mrshappyhomemaker.com/2013/03/homemade-coffee-creamer-over-20-flavor-varieties/  She takes her creamer as serious as I do it seems, with the favorite seasonal flavors added.

I took her base, added coffee syrup for flavor, and made myself a beautiful cup of coffee...

It was off on the first flavor. Then I remembered that I ran out of my usual coffee and had to use Hazelnut. Deep breath and a second sip later... That is pretty good! Def a keeper!

DIY Coffee Creamer

14oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 3/4 cup Milk or Cream (Any milk you want to use or have on hand. I'm using Lactaid bc milk and I are not getting along again.)

There is your super easy base. Put in a sealed container and shake, shake, shake your grove thing!

This is where I added 2 TBSP of Caramel coffee syrup. Perfection. I put it into a container that used to have store bought creamer in it.

The expiration on it is when your milk expires. Lets face it though, my creamer never makes it that far.

We have a lot of movies. We have a toddler. We used to have an organized DVD shelf. Said toddler doesn't like said DVD shelf...

I seriously gave up for several months on even having the DVD on the shelf and put them in boxes ON TOP of the shelf where he couldn't reach it... as easily. This kid is seriously tall and nothing in the house is safe except for the top of the fridge, until probably next week.

Having DVD, cases and the inserts all over the living room drives me bonkers. Then Jameson seems to find a movie from somewhere, opens the case, and plays Frisbee with them. I'm sure Pitch Perfect is ruined forever.

Easy solution that takes up INCHES of space. Seriously. An entire corner of our toddler toy infested living room becomes INCHES!

Thank you sweet baby Jesus for the person that but this simple but AMAZING post on Pinterest. You just saved me 3,971 times of asking Jameson why he cant just play with his toys and leave the movies alone, this week.

It's the little things
Carrie Danilla Linn

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Pinterest: The Menu Planning Binder

Ok so I promised to post the infamous Menu Planning Binder once I got it together. After a headache of having to buy more ink than I wanted to (Sweet Mother of Pearl that stuff is pricy! And I had to buy a double pack!), I finally got some black ink so I could get the organizing party started.

I kept mine pretty simple. I have seen some impressive, but possibly little over the top, meal planners on Pinterest. Don't get me wrong, I love a cute, bright, colorful planner like the next household diva. That is why I spend a little extra on cute 3 ring binders though. Ink costs way too much to have an intricate and colorful meal planner that I have to print a year's worth of!

Also, the meal planners I have seen are laid out for a week's worth of meals and have written down for Sunday-Saturday. It's pretty good for those that plan a week's meal at a time and like to have the day's meal planned exactly. In this house, sometimes we just aren't in the mood for the spaghetti that we have planned for Thursday, and instead want the roast planned for Saturday. This is why I just wrote down a list of 2 weeks worth of meals. It ends up on the meal chalkboard anyway, so I guess it doesn't really matter, except to my planning OCD it does matter. HA!

So keeping it simple, here's the pages for my binder

I have 15 lines on mine to plan for 2 weeks of meals
I like to shop from the back of the store and work my way to the front,
so this isn't really laid out quite right, but while choosing recipes I write down the ingredients I need to buy as I go. Which means the first thing on the recipes list is meat.
I don't always have to buy household and other items is why I kept this list separate from the actual groceries. I usually buy all the household things at the same time,
unless I run out which is maybe only one or two things that are necessary.
Just a sample of meals. I also put little notes on the bottom that I may need to do
or would like to try out.
See... pretty simple. 3 hole punch everything, put in a binder, and done! I put a single page divider in front of the "Meals for weeks of" page so you can flip right to your menu as needed instead of trying to search for it. I also put clear page protectors in the back of the binder for when I have a printed out recipe that I need to put in there. This way I don't have to search for a recipe.

I also had an idea this morning while hole punching 60 pages... How often do we try a new recipe that you just hope your family will enjoy?! I do at least once a week it seems. Highlight that new recipe if the family likes it so you know it was a keeper, or put a big fat line through those "Epic Fail" recipes! Have a brain blockage trying to come up with meal ideas? Flip back though your binder and find a few meals that you made in the past. The binder has so many uses!
Planned and ready to attack dinner!
Carrie Danilla Linn
*Note that several planners you see on Pinterest have the menu and grocery list on the same page. I don't do this for a few a reasons. 1. I have a large meal list. 2. My grocery list usually gets written on, torn, partially eaten (the kid...not me trying to avoid buying extra unneeded snacks bc I haven't had lunch yet), and sometimes lost after grocery shopping. No one wants to lose their meal list! Trust me its horrible to have all these groceries and not know what you were going to make with them!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Pinterest: High 5 Board

Jameson is a very smart toddler. Last week he went over to a printed pillow on the couch, pointed at the picture on it and said "FISH". There is a fish printed on it. We have never pointed at the fish on the pillow and said "FISH". Yea.. smart boy!

The other day at the store we were waiting for Nic to find something, and Jameson was pointing at shower puffs that were different colors. I was saying the color of each one he pointed at and he would giggle. As we were walking away, he pointed to a purple one and said "PURPLE". CUTE!!!

This, and my mom, the awesome, inspired me to seek out Pinterest and find him something to help with colors.

Welcome... the High 5 Board!

Here is the link that inspired the board I made for Jameson
Such a cute idea!! I HAD to make this for mini! He's a big high 5er and trying to learn colors seems to be his new favorite thing.
Plus this is a totally quick and easy project!
What you need
*Poster Board
*Sponge Brush
*Markers (Whatever colors you want to use. I kept with the basics: Red, Blue, Yellow, Green, Purple, Orange, Brown, Black)
*Print out of a hand (Google!)
Here's the image of the hand I found on Google. I just copied it into Word 2 times,
made them a bit bigger, and printed out 5 copies (I did 9 colors)
Color each hand a single color. Don't worry about staying inside the lines bc you will be cutting them out anyways. This would be a fun part for kids to help with too. Though if they color WAY outside the lines, you may just want to print one hand on a piece of paper, or cut the hands apart first. Cut each hand out, and lay them out on the poster board how you want them organized.

Here's the not tricky, but tricky part. (I promise that will make sense in a second). Get your glue (I had craft Tacky glue on hand but you could use Elmers.) Put a decent amount in a cup and add just a bit of water. You want to make it easy to spread, but not watery. Take your sponge brush and brush it onto a small area ON THE POSTER BOARD where you are going to be putting your colored hand. The reason you want to put a thin layer on the poster board and NOT the hand is bc the hand will wrinkle terribly once it gets wet and then can very easily tear. So, you have a small area with glue on the poster board, place your hand on it and GENTLY press down all the ends of the hand. The tips of the fingers may stick up if there wasn't enough glue there, just take your sponge and lightly dap it on edges sticking up. Don't wipe, or your ink will spear into the poster board. Continue doing this for each hand!
See! Easy and quick to do!
Here's Jameson's board
I left it kinda plain for now. When he learns his colors better, I'm going to actually write the color underneath each hand and print out numbers to put in each hand. This is something he can use as he is growing and learning more! The only thing I think that would make this better is if I could find a giant piece of laminate so Jameson doesn't try to peel the hands off... He's a stinker like that!
Now... where to put this thing?!
High 5 Purple!
Carrie Danilla Linn

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Pinterest: Meal Planning

Pinterest is covered in "5 ways to save on groceries"*, "Become a meal planning wonder woman", and "Cutting your food bill by planning ahead".

This house goes through some food. By 'some' what I really mean is a LOT! I eat more than my stick figure shows, Jameson snacks all day long, and I feed anywhere from 2-4 hungry soldiers each day of the week. If you have ever fed even one soldier, you know that it takes a full sized buffet to feed 'em!

My mom, the awesome, has been writing out a weekly meal plan for as far back as I can remember. She is very smart to do so, and has passed on her planning, office supply hoarding, print out everything, write everything down on paper, gene to me. I truly get joy out of having paper and a pen in my hand and writing down lists.

Don't judge.

ANYHOO! I enjoy meal planning. I get on Pinterest, look up recipes, and write down all the dinners we feel like having. I try to do 14-16 meals bc I prefer to shop only when we get paid. 2 shopping trips a month... that is plenty enough for this gal who is not keen on crazy rude crowds at the store.

So 14-16 meals have been picked. Now to write out the shopping list. I try to keep it all categorized together. Dairy, meat, fresh produce, baking, canned, carbs, frozen, household items, Jameson needs, HBA. I'm in the works of actually making a meal planning binder... I'm serious about the organizing, planning, and office supply hoarding! (I will make sure to blog my binder once I get it worked out, and remember to buy black ink for my printer) Then off to the store I go with my list. I try to stick to my list, with the exception of a few 'I forgot' or 'I really should have eaten, but I had minutes to escape to the store while Daddy is home watching the little person."

Ok so the list is not even close to as organized as I usually
have it. I was kind of in a hurry this morning to just run to the store
and hurry and get out before the day's adventures began.
The middle piece of paper is my everyday pantry stash. I use
these items often and can always throw something together as long as
I have these things on hand and any sort of meat in my freezer.

I also have a snazzy framed chalkboard I hung on one of my kitchen cabinets. I write down all the dinners after each shopping trip, and Nic and/or I pick the meal we want for the night. No guessing. No wondering what we have in the house that we can make. No having to run to the store multiple times each week. No extra spending on the randoms you pick up every time you walk in the store (you can never get JUST milk!). It's truly great!!
This is usually what my menu board looks like...
sometimes with or without the football foods
This is the menu when the Army refuses to release my husband from work
except for about 5 hours to sleep... which several times he just
had to sleep in his chair/on the floor of the arms room
This is the menu that happens when Ranger husband has to work everyday
for 2 months and I begin to throw myself a birthday pitty party.
The cake was amazing by the way.
Ok so it's looking a bit of a mess right now. I'm usually better about having my shopping list organized, but like stated I kinda threw it together this morning since toddler meltdowns have been the norm in this house lately. I promise to get the awesome looking menu binder posted shortly and you all will see how organized, crazy, and possibly a little genius that I feel I am.
I know what's for dinner tonight!
Carrie Danilla Linn 
*I applaud the coupon clippers! Seriously there is so many hours that go into it and I know they can get AMAZING deals. I am not on of those women. I do have the coupons.com app and clip a few from there, and whatever may come in the Sunday mail that I know I will use. But lets face it. I'm cheap. I'm happy to admit I'm cheap. And in being cheap I almost always get the store brand of items, which I found out even with a pretty good coupon, I can get the store brand cheaper than the name brand. There are a few things I always go name brand and get lucky to find coupons for them often to help with the cost. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Pinterest: The 52 Week $ Saving Challenge

Alright. Here it goes. The first Pinterest challenge of the year! What better way to start the year off than saving back a few pesos for rainy days. This is not our long term saving plan, but just a way to put some $ back for whatever reason we feel we want to. Jameson's first gun, Mommy and/or Daddy's next guns. Little vacation savings. Emergency need a new tire fund. Whatever it may be.

Jameson isn't being left out either.


This is a very basic yet effective way to put a good small chunk of change away in a year. We are modifying it just a bit though. Instead of a $ amount each week (which lets face it I will forget to put $ in it unless written down or scheduled) I have decided to make it just $50 each paycheck. This way on pay day I go to the bank, get that crisp $50 and it goes into our piggy bank. It will become a priority just like paying a bill. Why $50 though. Well we get paid 2 times a month. Which makes that 26 pay periods in a year. 26 pay periods x $50 = $1,300. We would be $78 short of the above list, but I feel keeping it a single amount certain times a month will keep it on track and I wouldn't forget it. I actually have it printed out on our monthly bill schedule (If you would like to see how I have that planned out in another post feel free to let me know and I will Pinterest post that too!). I like things easy and planned when reoccurring!

Now we can't forget a little $ saving for Jameson too! We already empty our change into his piggy bank. Well ok I pick up Nic's change from around the house and put in there, and empty my wallet and car out of change when it starts getting in the way. $689 in a year for him though (not including what randomly gets thrown in there)... that's going to equal a nice little car when he turns 16, or him taking Daddy and Mommy our for a lot of ice cream. It's honestly however he feels like spending it. I have already dropped in the first 2 quarters. Cha-ching!

How many of you would are thinking about taking the 52 Week Money Challenge?!

$ saved is $ well spent
Carrie Danilla Linn