Friday, October 3, 2014

60 Minute, Easy Peasy Roast Chicken and Veggies Recipe

Ok, what's so great about chicken?  Well, what isn't great about chicken?!  If you made and subsequently ate the chicken in this recipe, you wouldn't even be asking me that question! A huge bonus with this meal is it is allergen free, meaning even with all of our food allergies, this one is totally safe!  No dairy, peanut, egg, nut and as much as my children would like to say, they are not allergic to veggies!  This is a great, safe meal to make and give!

Delicious meal!
I know, it's a bold statement, easy, peasy roast chicken and veggies, but it is so much more than that! This recipe is my go to, for comfort food or for comforting others...  It looks like a million bucks and couldn't be easier!  Plus, with just a little bit of prep work, you can have an awesome, healthy dinner without washing a ton of dishes or spending your dinner prep time standing watching for every little thing at your cooktop...  So in other words, you can play outside with your kids, get them bathed, do homework, cash in on some quality time with the kiddo's or even your husband/significant other and even still have an awesome dinner!

Ok, now, I know I called this 60 minutes, but that's basically dump and cook, it doesn't count for prep time, so 72 minute roasted chicken and veggies didn't quite have the ring of 60 minute roasted chicken and veggies, so I apologize right now for that liberty.  Once you make this recipe and eat it up, you will thank me and wonder why someone would be hating for that extra 12 minutes?  I like to prep my veggies once a week and use them for the rest of the week, you know, wash, peel if necessary and chop and bag separately all at once.  I mean, not fun at all for that time, but you are ready to dump your veggies into the steamer or pan for roasting when dinner time rolls around.  It's so convenient!

This recipe is easily doubled, meaning you can totally cook double the amounts without adding any cooking time!  Say what!?  No, really...  I have doubled this recipe several times and don't add a minute of cooking time and it still comes out picture perfect!  Meaning the chicken is perfectly moist, flavorful and if you are in to eating crispy, seasoned chicken skin that crunches when you bite it, you know, if that's your thing, this is memorable!  Now, if you don't believe me, you are welcome to use a meat thermometer to check for done-ness, which I would do the first time you make this in your oven, go ahead...  I have made this recipe so many times, I don't even worry about that anymore because I know my oven and what my chicken should look like...

Now, you don't have to double this, but...  You've got the oven on, you're cooking anyway, why not?  Leftovers for this dinner are moist as can be and it holds well...  If you keep everything on the bone, the meat is juicy and moist, if you take the meat off the bone, you can chop it up and freeze it for later...  Then you can have a quick dinner with the thawed chicken on top of a salad, or pasta like here, or chicken salad sandwiches like here...

Anywho, run to the store and pick up a good 4 to 5 pound chicken of your choosing (free range, home fed, regular, whatever) some fresh veggies (carrots, squash, brussels sprouts, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, potatoes) and use one or two pans in your oven and let 'er go!

One last thing, this is cooking, not baking...  That being said, there are no measurements for any of this...  What?!  Blasphemy?!  Come on, this is chicken and veggies...  It's totally customize-able to what you have on hand or your family's tastes.  I will give you pointers, though, on when you should season with what types of seasonings, so go for it!  Well, if we are really telling the truth, I have cooked it even longer because I was giving the kids a bath or playing outside and didn't hear or notice the timer...  So, an extra 15 minutes didn't hurt anyone or this chicken, so relax, enjoy and eat up! You won't be sorry!

Oh, another last thing, you can use already prepped carrots like baby carrots, but you will need to adjust when you add them to the pans...  Because the baby carrots are so tiny, you will either have shriveled up carrots (not tasty) or burned carrots, I mean, that oven is HOT...  If you insist on using baby carrots, you will need to add them at thirty minutes of the chicken cooking time, then proceed as normal (meaning 15 to 20 minutes after adding baby carrots, you could add onions and cherry tomatoes.)


1 or 2 Whole Chickens (4 to 5 pound range)
Spray Cooking Oil (canola, vegetable, whatever you have)
Root Veggies (carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch blocks, see pic below) 
Squash (cut into 1 inch blocks)
Cherry tomatoes (cleaned) - Save for last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking
Onions (Cut into quarters, do not separate layers) - Save for the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking
Spices (Salt, Ground Pepper, Dried Rosemary, Dried Italian Seasoning - Basil, Oregano)

Liberally Salt and Pepper the Bird
Cut it up, if you want!

1. Ok, first decide am I cooking for my family only or giving half away?  The reason why this is important is that if you are cooking double just for your family then, you would put both chickens in one pan and the veggies in another...  If you are cooking and only keeping half, then put a chicken and veggies in one pan and another chicken and veggies in the the other...  If you are cooking for yourself go to step 3, if you are going halvsies (i.e., giving half away) then proceed to step 2...
2. Prep two 13 by 9 pans with foil and spray with cooking spray.
3. Prep one 13 by 9 pan (chicken pan) and one jelly roll pan (I think it's like 11 by 15 with a rim for the veggies) with foil and spray with oil.
4. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
5. Remove your chickens from the bags, make sure to remove any 'insides' (no one wants a comforting meal only to find a bag of parts in the inside of the chicken!) and place the chicken breast side up in the appropriate pan.  Now place the wings behind the bird like he's going to do a 'crunch.'
6. Now some of you may want to 'wash' the chicken, if you feel that is necessary do it before you place it in the pan and dry it off...  I have read that 'washing' the chicken introduces bacteria and can cause food poisoning, so do what you feel comfy with...  I will wait for you to catch up.
7. Place your prepped root veggies and squash in the appropriate pan.  If you are cooking the veggies and chicken in the same pan, season the veggies now with dried rosemary.  If you are cooking them in separate pans, spray the veggies with more cooking spray and then season them with dried rosemary.  I use 7 good size carrots and one big squash for each pan or double if putting in one pan.
8. Season the chicken liberally with salt (I use Kosher) and ground pepper.  I use at least half a tablespoon of salt on the outside and in the cavity.  Remember this is chicken, it's pretty bland otherwise...  Also, all you taste is deliciousness with the chicken when you remove the skin.  Furthermore, if you are into crispy, tasty chicken skin, then this is a-mazing and flavorful, you know, if that's your thing...  You aren't eating this every day, chill out.  If you hold back on the seasonings, do not complain to me that it didn't taste good.  Just saying...
9. Now check out your oven racks and get your oven mitts.  If you have one pan for the chickens, then put them in the top third of your oven and place your veggies in the bottom third of the oven.  You won't need a lot of space for the veggies, so make sure the chickens are not too close to the top heating element. If you are cooking the chickens in separate pans, then make sure both fit in your oven at the same time; however that works. The bottom chicken will not brown like the top chicken, don't worry, we will fix that at the end!
10.  Turn on the timer and don't come back for 45 or 50 minutes...  Well, that's what I do...  For your first time, hang around to see if your oven runs hot or not.... You don't want burned chicken, so put foil over the chickens if they are getting too brown.  In my oven, the chickens get nice and golden, brown, so crispy on the outside and moist on the inside.
11. At 45 or 50 minutes, open the oven and stir your veggies, then drop your cherry tomatoes and onion chunks on top of the veggies.  Set the timer for 10 to 15 minutes (depending on when you checked the chicken/veggies).  The veggies in the chicken pan will baste with the chicken juices, which makes them so delicious!  Sometimes I just bake it this way because the veggies taste so good when cooked with the chicken!
12. When your 60 minutes is up, take out your pan of veggies and stir.  Season with Dried Italian Seasoning.
13. If the chicken is all in one pan, grab your meat thermometer and check to see if you have hit the 'right' temp and take out to cool.  If not, take the top pan with the chicken and place on a trivet on the counter and take it's temp.  Put the bottom chicken pan on the top rack, with the door closed while you are taking his friends temp.  This will give the bottom chicken time to brown on the skin...  It's hot in there, so it won't take too long.  Sometimes, I will leave the second chicken on the top rack for a good 15 minutes (while I am giving the kids a bath or play a quick game of kickball outside.)

Voila, you have a delicious dinner for tonight or you can share with another family... Clean up is a cinch!  Just crumple up the foil and throw it out, wash up your pan, super easy!  No hard scrubbing and at most, you have two easy pans!!

I recently made this meal for a friend and her family and was called a rockstar!!  I have never been called a rockstar for cooking a meal, but it feels great when you do!!  You can be a rockstar, too, when you show up with a meal like this! What do you have as a go-to dinner that you make?

Take care,

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Aggie Family Portrait

This first appeared on the Deals show, but I wanted to include the tute on my blog...  My husband is super cautious and doesn't like for us to have anything on our cars about our kids, sports, schools, etc.  So, I wanted to make some easy art which would have these popular collegiate stick families you see on everyone's cars, but make it nice enough to hang on our wall.

I channeled my best Bob Ross and am quite pleased with the results!!  In the early mornings, when the kids wake up before 6 AM during the school year, we can actually catch some episodes of the Happy, little tree guy on our local PBS station!!  My kids love him, but I digress...  This was super easy, though I had a little challenge, which if you watched the show I didn't have my husband's sticker on the art project.  The show we taped is here...

Alas, my husband did not graduate from my alma mater.  He didn't even attend the school, so I didn't think it was fair to put his sticker on the art project as an Aggie, even for the show.  So, I had to sub the Aggie Dad and paint my husband's school initials on the project in his school colors, which took four coats of pain pen to color his jersey yellow.  Be patient, it will cover with several light layers.

I have included a tute, but I think it's pretty self-explanatory...  If you have any questions, please feel free to send me a note!  :)


Trim (optional)
Hanger (optional)
Collegiate Stickers (Found mine on clearance!)
Paint Pens
Wood glue
Rubber bands/clamps
Homemade Stain


  1. Cut down your wood and sand down the edges.  You may also have your home improvement store do the cutting for you.  Mine is 12 inches, square.
  2. Use your sponges to paint out the background scene you want for your sticker family...  Be easy on yourself, it's meant to be cartoon-y.
  3. You can either use your stickers and create your family picture or use the paint pens to draw your family in. 
  4. Paint your trim with the homemade stain...  I did five coats (you can tell the original color of the wood, next to the stained one) and didn't bother letting it dry in between coats...  I like how forgiving the vinegar solution is.
  5. Glue your trim around the picture and secure with rubber bands/clamps.  I let mine dry for 24 hours, just in case.
  6. Place the hangar on the back.
  7. Admire your unique, wall art in the days, weeks, months to come!
How do you like to decorate on the cheap?

Take care, 

See the second strip in natural with the other strips in 5 coats
Wood square
Cheapest art supplies ever!
Very complex drying clamps (rubber bands!)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Failed Knock Off Tiered Stand to Better!

Ok, so this tiered stand has been around forever and everyone's done it, right?  Well, I thought, I could do it too!  Well, I was wrong!!  I followed many of the steps fellow bloggers wrote about, but my stand stunk!!  No matter what I tried, a bigger all-thread, pre-cut pipes, different washers, it just didn't work!  It was wobbly and terrible looking!   I was angry, why couldn't I make this stand, like so many people have before me?  Why?!

Galvanized Metal Tiered Stand
Well, after a few months of looking at these pans, I could no longer use...  I mean can you really make a cake in a pan with a hole in the center?  I had a Eureka moment!  You know these moments, when you basically make lemonade out of your terrible lemon, fail of a project...

Here is where the flashback occurs, which again was a different fail....  Last summer, I made some mason jars on top of wooden candlesticks as a centerpiece for our picnic table...  I had planned on putting tea light candles inside them.  Sounds cute, right?  Well, it was very cute, but DANGEROUS!!  The mason jars were just too big and would tip over really easy, not a good thing for open flames.  So, since I had only hot glued the painted candlesticks to the mason jars, I just pulled them apart and stored them in the garage...

Flash to current time and enter the painted, wooden candlesticks!  Hey, I could use those candlesticks perfectly on tiered stand!!  And I love the red color!  I actually like mine better than the inspiration!

Wooden Candlesticks (I used four little ones to add height to the bottom of my stand and 2 in the layers)
Hot Glue
3 different sized cake pans

  1. Put a couple of coats of paint on your wooden candlesticks.
  2. Heat up the old glue gun (you trusty friend!) 
  3. Turn the biggest pan upside down on a level surface and grab your 4 short candlesticks.  Start a solid bead of glue on the top of the candlestick and adhere, face down on the edge (about an inch from the edge.)  Repeat this process three more times, basically making a square with the candlesticks in the corners on the round bottom of the biggest pan.  Turn the pan over and let dry.
  4. Find the centers of each of the pans and mark with a pencil, on the top and bottom of each pan.
  5. Grab one of the tall candlesticks and apply a solid bead of glue along the bottom of the candlestick and center it in the center of the biggest pan.  
  6. Do the same process with the medium pan.
  7. When the biggest pan is dry, apply a bead of glue to the top of the candlestick and center the medium sized pan on top of the candlestick.  This is easier to do since you have the candlestick already adhered to the top of the middle pan.  Just make a line from the bottom candlestick and the top candlestick for the two pans.
  8. Finally, apply a bead of glue to the top of the medium pan's candlestick and set the top, small pan on top.  I totally eyeballed this to get it close.  If you don't set it perfectly, just peel them apart and start again.  Hot glue is pretty forgiving for this project.
  9. Let dry for 24 hours and begin using!

I am really pleased with my 'lemonade' and love using this stand!  Sure, if I were a REAL blogger, it would have beautifully decorated cupcakes and delicate frosting, but get real, I am a MOM of 3 boys!!  I have go to snacks and lunch box fixin's organized in it on the counter!!  I still love it anyway!

What is the best thing you have made from a project fail?

Take care!

Elegant Diaper Cake

Now, you all know how much I LOVE showers...  And I love making diaper cakes...  Well a friend of the family asked for a custom diaper cake.  She actually attended the shower in which I made this beauty, took a picture of the cake and saved it away until she might need my services!!  How awesome is that!

Margaret was the future-Grandmother-in-Law, if that makes any sense, or rather her son's wife, was the baby shower honoree...  I immediately fell in love with Margaret, I mean, she was lovely to work with, so very nice and kept a picture of my diaper cake in her mind (and phone) for over a year!!  :) 

Margaret's request for her Daughter-in-Law was elegant in nature.  The flowers were to be reminiscent of her DILs bouquet and the color scheme lavender and white for the sweet baby girl.  After brainstorming and reviewing the shower registries, we settled on this theme: classic, sweet, baby girl complete with butterflies, a classic, well-made (and totally monogram-able) porringer, flatware, music box (elephant) all with a french look and feel...

The really important thing to keep in mind was this was a baby shower cake, not a wedding cake (though it could easily be made like that, if you needed to.)  So while it was edited, the baby items are classic, durable, and meant to last a lifetime.

I am really proud of how this cake turned out (even my four year old son said that it was beautiful!)  I mean, everyone thinks you can do classy and elegant and we all know what that looks like when you see it, but to actually create it is really challenging!   I had very few baby items to work with, but had more of a look and feel to create...

To say that I am pleased is an understatement!!  I imagined in my head the diaper cake, but I didn't even think it would look like this in my brain!!  I am so glad Margaret and the future momma were pleased with the cake!  

Reed and Barton Jungle Parade Elephant Music Box
Flatware by Things Remembered

While I did get paid for the cake, the products used in the cake were purchased for the mom to be and are totally unique for her.  These are quality products and I do not specifically endorse any of the products (though the Tower, which was purchased here, came super quick and I would definitely order from them again.)  And if there were any more little ones around here, I would get a similar music box (if not the same one!) from here...

What do you like to make for baby showers?

Take care!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Boy Graduating Gift Continued...

The boy who received this aptly named Boy Graduating High School gift, went off to college...  So a friend or ours (who also raised the young man) organized several care packages for him covering his freshman year!  Each month, one of us sent him a package with anything we thought he needed/wanted or more like what we would have wanted during our freshman year in college.  Isn't that the sweetest thing!  I wish, I had had people like that when I went off to school!

Anywho, when it was my month, I continued on the personalization theme for him...  As you can tell, I have a problem thinking most of my college roommates borrowed and never returned my things (which they totally did) probably because the monogramming theme wasn't so popular back in the stone tablet days (when I was in college.)

This couldn't have been easier!  I found one of these blankets during the August time frame at my local Target...  I carefully unpackaged only a corner and monogrammed that spot and refolded...  After a wash, which I am sure every teenage boy loves to do his own laundry, the stabilizers melt away and everything looks plush!  That blanket can either be used in his dorm, on his bed, or at a Fall football game or even during the Spring laying on it to read his books!

I followed the same method of monogramming as I did with his towels right here...  Same sandwich, water soluble stabilizer on top and rip away stabilizer on bottom...  Wash once and everything dissolves and the fabric puffs up... No worries...

What do you like to give boys for graduation?

Take Care!

Linking up to:
Creative Collection Link Party

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Knock Off BD Silver Urn

Now, I have said a time or fifteen  two that I love Southern Living...  I might have also said how I covet Ballard Designs...  And I LOVE to DIY...  Well, this is the knock off trifecta!
Last Fall, I saw this Vintage Silver Urn in my Ballard Designs Catalog, but at $99 it was too steep for my tastes...  Uh, yeah, so this image I found online because BD no longer offers this urn... 
Ballard Designs Vintage Silver Urn
I can show you a picture of the paper I ripped out of the catalog, for my reference... Look at those creases!  This is exactly why I don't trust keeping things electronically!!  If I would have 'paper clipped' this electronically, poof, it would have been gone (and I probably would have never remembered) but I would have never been able to achieve this knock-off!!

Anywho, I will get off the crazy box long enough to show you what I did!  Ta-da!!  Now, mine is decidedly more Spring-y with the flower selection, but you can see the beauty of the 'urn' shining through...  Did you like that?  Shine?  Yeah, you'll get it in a minute...  :)

So, this was a knock-off waiting to happen...  Several, a couple, last year, I bought this brass planter from the thrift shop...  Yes, it was $2.99!!  I was going through a brass phase and thought I could pull it off, but I hated it, a lot!  So, it just sat gathering dust while I got my 'inspiration' and in walked my BD Catalog with the SL urn!!

Paint suited for your planter (Silver and Black) were my choices
Antique Medium (it's in the craft paint section)
Paper Plates
Paper Towels

  1. Paint 2 to 3 even coats of your base color on your planter.  I didn't even bother with the inside, just up to the lip.  I did 2 coats of silver because I still like the warm glow from the brass underneath...  This is a solid coat, so some of your planter's details will be washed out with the solid color...  Do not fear, the antiquing medium can be used to add dimension to your planter!
  2. Mix your antiquing medium and black together on your plate and highlight any features on your planter...  I used a 50:50 ratio of my medium and black paint and dabbed the mixture all over.  I did 2 layers of this process. First, I dabbed in circular motions onto the planter with the mixture and 'spot' dabbed with a crumpled paper towel removing the mixture until it looked right and then moved to the next side. Then, with the second layer I angled my sponge to highlight the curves in the planter and lightly dabbed with the paper towel until I got the look I wanted...  This is going to be a process for you and when it looks right to you - STOP!  
  3. Add floral foam and real/fake flowers as you wish!
  4. Step back, pat yourself on the back and admire proudly!!
I am so pleased with how my planter/urn turned out!   I had all of the materials (from different projects), so this cost me nothing!  But, if you had to go out and buy these things, you can always find very inexpensive planters at Goodwill/Thriftshop and use your paint and flower stash.  I always buy my flowers on clearance at the end of the season, but if you don't, sometimes you can use a 40% off coupon or they may be half off randomly throughout the year...  The antiquing medium can be bought with a 40% off coupon, too! 

Hope this post inspires you to knock your own new favorite!

Take care!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Easy Queso Formula

Now, I know what your thinking: Queso, isn't it easy already?  Yeah, well it is, but sometimes it can be boring!  Using this formula, you can have exciting queso or your regular queso, but it's going to be so easy!

My queso is just four ingredients and could really be made with just two, but I like to fancy it up some!  :)  This recipe is great for watching the big game, but I have had this at almost every birthday party/get together at our house for the last several years.  Anytime we serve it, it is a favorite!

Pot of molten, tastiness!
Now, I like easy, peasy, open a can and let the slow cooker do the work!  And, I totally mean it!  :)  I dump the tomatoes, cheese (no cutting needed), meat and heat and crank the slow cooking bad boy to high and in less than an hour: cheesy goodness!
See, no cutting here!
This is my formula:

1. Tomatoes: I like the fire roasted, but you can use whatever you like
2. Cheese block: I like to use the light, but really, who am I kidding!  ;)
3. Meat:  I like no bean chili, but if you have frozen/cooked ground meat just throw it in!
4. Heat: I like diced green chilies or fresh/pickled jalapenos, but you can add anything you want here. Just be sure to drain the heat (meaning no extra juice!)

You always need 1 and 2, but 3 and/or 4 are totally optional!  Now, I know some people totally want measurements, so you need 1 big can or 2 little cans of tomatoes including juice, 1 block of cheese, 1 big can or 2 little cans meat, and one hand full of heat without juice...  If you want more or less meat, add more or less...  If you want more heat, then add more heat or leave it out all together...

I like to use this formula and play around with it!  For example, there are tons of different tomato varieties: crushed, diced, though I don't recommend whole, with so many flavors, fire roasted, garlic, San Marzano, the sky is the limit!

With the block cheese, I am not talking about 'real' cheese, I am talking about the stuff that comes in a box on the shelf...  You can get light, full fat or even white cheese in my store...  Live a little, try the different varieties!

Your head can swirl with the different meat combos, but this is totally limited by your imagination!  Yes, you can totally open a can, like I did, but if you have fresh/frozen meat, pulled pork, sausage, ham, deli meat you get the picture, throw it in!

For the heat, you can use diced green chilies, jalapenos, pepperoncini, red pepper flakes, again you name it and throw it in!  If you are using a spice like red pepper flakes, start out small like a couple of teaspoons at first.  You can adjust it when everything is warm.  Now, if you can't stand the heat, don't add that part of the formula!  It's your queso, make it great!  :)

Now, if I am doing super, easy queso with tomatoes and cheese, I use the best can of tomatoes, I can get...  The recipe looks like this: block light cheese and organic, fire-roasted tomatoes.  I only use the 'pricier' tomatoes on the two ingredient queso.

If you want an Italian, pizza tasting queso, use the following: San Marzano tomatoes, white cheese block, thick cut, diced pepperoni and/or salami with some diced pepperoncinis and/or crushed, red pepper flakes...

I am kind of lazy when it comes to queso, I like to crank the slow cooker up to High for at least the first hour, then down to Low/Warm when everything has reached it's perfect point.  Then you have warm queso for kickoff, halftime and the celebrations for the end of the game or if you're not a football fan, then you will have warm queso for your whole shower, party or get together...   If you don't have a slow cooker, then you will have to chop the cheese and dump everything in a microwavable bowl and go to town in the microwave...

Anywho, this is a star at our family celebrations and I bet it can be at yours, too!  Let me know your queso formula and variations!

Take care!

Linking up to:
Bloom Designs Linky Party
The Grant Life: Life of the Party

Monogrammed, No Sew Toiletry Bags

Ok, so this is so a cheat, but I did it anyway!!  We like to take the boys camping and on weekend trips all the time, but hate doing all the packing that goes along with even short trips.  We pack like college students, throwing toiletries into (gasp!) plastic, zipper bags and almost always forget someone's toothbrush, toothpaste, contact lens/glasses, you know, really important stuff...  Then when we get back, we have like a million bags, that are perfectly good and I could totally wash them and reuse them, but I am too darn tired after our trip and end up throwing them out!

Well, I am done with this process, so I knew that my boys needed their own toiletry bags....  But, I didn't have the time to sew and embroider them, like I saw them in my mind.  This is when the Military surplus store by my house came into focus...  I pass by this surplus store all the time and thought they must have some heavy duty, overnight bags, I mean people in the military have to pack quickly and efficiently, right?

So there I was, I just dropped off Larry, Moe and Curly at school and ran my usual morning errands (coffee and window shopping at Tarjay, hopped over to the grocery store, got gas) and was outside the Military store waiting for it to open, which it did 10 minutes late according to their clock...  Yes, I was looking in the window because I was trying to see if anyone was in there...   Guess that's to be expected, right?  :)  I wiz past the ammo, dried food rations, knives and rather colorful stickers/patches and found the travel gear I was looking for.  I picked up four travel bags and one bigger bag.  They are thick, canvas and I think they can hold up to my boys for years to come.

When I was checking out, I asked the gentleman if the bags could be embroidered and he just looked at me like I asked him if the hip holster comes in pink or if it would make my butt look big?  Anywho, I think the fabric is really thick, so I would probably need a new, heavy duty needle, which is a no can do, since I don't want to buy something I may not need again.  But, I do have some iron on fabric paper which is FREE, baby!!

If you can print, cut and iron, you can totally do this!  I will include a tute, but this is so easy! TaDa!!!


Toiletry Bags
Iron on Printer Paper - I used the one for light fabrics because the dark fabric one is supposed to have a white outline/background, which I didn't want
Rolled up Pillow case
Parchment Paper - optional

Step 1 :Feminine Font for Momma!
Step 1:Masculine looking Font for the boys

Step 3: Cut out as much of the iron on paper as possible without separating the letters and let it cool!


  1. Pick the font you want for the monogram and print out on regular paper.  Cut it out and determine placement and size.
  2. Print out for real on Iron on paper according to package directions (probably flipped.)
  3. Cut out paper really close to monogram, but do not separate the letters.
  4. Roll up your pillowcase and place it in the bag.  This helps give the bag some structure to hold up to the ironing. 
  5. Put the bag on it's side and iron monogram on according to package directions.
  6. My monograms had some spots which didn't adhere, so I got some parchment paper and put it over the monogram and in circles, used my iron to melt those extra pieces away.
  7. Sit back and admire your work!
I like that they totally look vintage-y with the light colored Iron on paper, but you are welcome to use the dark paper, just know that it will have a white outline/background.  These are extra roomy and for less than seven bucks a piece are a total save with my time, which I have none extra!  

I made these for my boys, but this could be a totally good groom's men gift, male teacher gift, male graduation gift, you get the idea!

What do you like to make for a cheat?

Take care, 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Easy Learning Toy for Preschoolers!

Ok, I don't know why it took me this long to make this for my middle son...  I mean, I had ALL of the items, I just didn't do it until Tuesday...  Why, Tuesday you ask?  Well, because we had a snow/ice day and in Texas, that means snow/ice were predicted and schools cancelled, but both were a no-show for us.  Yay!!  Three kids with cabin fever and too cold/wet to go outside!  :)

So, momma made this for my middle one:

It took 5 minutes!!  This is so awesome and makes learning fun!  I have him tell me the letter, trace it with his pointer finger, tell me the picture and a couple of other words that start with the letter and the sound it makes!  Plus, this baby is totally portable!  Now carpool can have some fun learning time, too!

I had all of the items needed for this one and it's self explanatory, but I will include a tute below.  If you don't have any alphabet cards, I have seen them in the dollar section/store or you can print your own online...  I could also see this being done with math cards, science, spelling, you name it!

Alphabet Cards
Hole Punch
Round Ring Binder Clips


  1. Punch a hole in the top of the card.  I did mine on the top left, but you can put it anywhere.
  2. Put the cards in order.
  3. Open the binder clip and place the cards on the clip.
  4. Admire your ingenuity and 'play' with your preschooler!
What kind of learning tools do you like to make for your kiddos?

Take care, 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

TV Show Appearance!!

I am so excited!!  I am going to be on TV!!  I never thought that I would be on TV, especially for doing the things I do everyday, but I am!!

This is a picture of Kat Cosley (L) and me (R)!!
 So, just to get you all up to speed, I watch a wonderful show called Deals  with Kat Cosley on the Live Well Network, obsessively.  I love, love, love it, the premise of the show is basically having a high quality life without spending excessively to get it, which is totally up my alley!!  The show tapes in the Houston area and it's nice to see the kind of deals you can actually get in your own hometown.  Even if you don't live in the area, the show also gives you ideas that can apply to anywhere that you live.  

I liked the show on Facebook and sent Kat a note letting her know how our family saves money...  Buying clearance items!!  This was so random and I don't really know why I sent her that note, but I just sent it to her never expecting to hear back, especially from someone who is on TV.

But she wrote me back and she was so nice and yada, yada, yada, we taped a segment in early December!!  The show is going to air on January 25, 2014 nationally on the Live Well Network and the following Saturday, February 1st locally on KTRK TV ABC13.  You can find the times and stations in your area here.

We have since taped another show about crafting with wood at the end of December and I don't know, yet, when that show will air, but I will keep you up to date!

Kat, her producer Tiffany and their team have been great to work with!  It's a lot of fun doing the show and such a new experience for me!  Sometimes it gets so easy living in the day to day and one little thing (like sending a note to Kat Cosley) can enrich your life in new ways!  Anywho, I am over the moon excited and hope you watch the show, love it and let me know what you think!

Take care,

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Swim Team Ribbon Holder

So, we had our first experience with swim team this summer..  And experience it was!!  Imagine five days a week beginning at 9 AM till almost 1 PM keeping 3 little bodies sunscreened up, hydrated, fed and content in the hot and humid Texas sun...  I had to get up super early to pack the swim goggles, sunscreen, towels, swim toys when not practicing, swim trunks, cooler full of snacks, drinks, second breakfast and first lunch!  It's a GREAT experience for the kids, but not so much fun for me!  :)

Don't know why the wall showed up so yellow, it's a beige wall.
Anywho, my oldest really took to swim team!!  He couldn't even swim across the pool at the first practice!  In fact, I told my husband not to remove the tags from the already bought swim team uniforms and practice suits and I kept the receipts handy!!  Well, he wasn't really into the first practices other than having the joy of being in a pool, which was fine with us, but if he couldn't swim across, he wouldn't make the team, making the already bought suits unnecessary...   Well, this was the pace until the first swim meet...

Once he realized that you can receive a ribbon for swimming across the pool and that the different colors mean different places, then all bets were off!  He took to the water like a fish!!  It is amazing how some people are really visual with their rewards and when he saw the ribbons, that's what really motivated him!

Well we didn't really have a good place to put these ribbons and I didn't know where we could find a ribbon holder, not that I wanted to pay for one...  This was his first year and I didn't want to make a huge or even small investment if it turned out to be a one shot experience, so the handy girl came out in me...  Also, the late, overextended mom came out too, since I finished this in December!!

Now of course, I don't have any before pics, but imagine a plain piece of wood and the tute explains the rest.


Craft wood from hardware store
Leftover spray paint
Computer/copy paper/pencil
Paint Pens
Tacks/Hammer/Paper Towel
Picture Hangars


  1. Spray paint the wood a couple of coats of your favorite paint color.
  2. Find an image online for your team.
  3. Using your copy paper and pencil, lightly trace the image onto your paper from your computer screen.
  4. Shade all over the BACK of your image with your pencil. 
  5. Turn your image over and trace it onto your wood.
  6. Color in the image with your paint pens.  My image took two coats of paint pen because the background color was so dark.
  7. Affix the picture hangers to the back of your wood.
  8. Hammer in the tacks to the front of your wood.  I placed a paper towel over my tacks, so the hammer wouldn't scratch them up.
  9. Hang your ribbons.
  10. Hang on the wall for your guppy to see how he progressed with the effort he put forth on swim team.
  11. Enjoy the fruits of your efforts!
Steps 3 and 5
Step 4

Anyone can do this, because if you can trace and color, you can do it.  You probably have all of the items already in your craft stash.   The piece of wood was a couple of bucks and I had everything else.   This was really done in less than an afternoon and that includes drying time.  This was a lot of fun and if we do this again in 2014, I can whip up another in no time!

Take care,

Linking up to:
Free Pretty Things for You
Cheerios and Lattes Saturday Show and Tell  
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