Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Factoids

These facts are from the October issue of Woman's Day magazine.
  • Halloween is the second largest commercial holiday in the United States (after Christmas, of course!)
  • Pumpkins are a fruit, not a vegetable! They are a type of gourd.
  • More than 35 million pounds of candy corn are made each year.
  • 90 million pounds of chocolate are sold the week of Halloween.
  • 1.9 billion dollars are spent on Halloween candy each fall
Happy Halloween, everyone!

    Friday, October 29, 2010

    Repurposed Side Table

    Back in March, we bought a new printer on a "wicked good" sale. Our old printer used to be on a smaller, red table that we bought in an antique shop for only $35. We bought a new printer stand, and put the small red table in the basement, since I knew we could use it another time.

    Here is the link from March when we first bought our new printer stand. That post shows how Rob stained it for us, since we purchased it unfinished. Rob was going to build a stand for us, but unfortunately, it was cheaper to buy one and finish it ourselves.

    Here it is, all set up. We decided to put the few record albums we have in there, plus some magazine holders to store paperwork and office supplies.

    Recently, we decided that the tiny table we had between two of our living room chairs was...well, too tiny. It was a delicate table, and a bit unstable to rest drinks and such on.

    I said to Rob: "What about that small red table?" He brought it up from the basement and put it between the chairs. I love how sturdy, yet compact, this table is. I love the storage in it, as well. I put some of our larger books into the slots.

    I just love it when we find new use for an old item. I usually like to pass things on that we aren't using any more, but I kept this table, since I just knew that we would be able to use it again.
    Have you ever saved furniture or decor that you knew you could use in another room?

    Linking to: The DIY Project/ House of Grace/ Tools are For Women Too/ Miss Mustard Seed/ Brambleberry Cottage/ Paisley Passions/ Beyond the Picket Fence/  House of Grace/ The Thrifty Home/ Tools are for Women, Too/ Cottage Instincts/ It's So Very Cheri/ House of Thrifty Decor/ Just a Girl

    Wednesday, October 27, 2010

    Scrap Room Organization, Before and After

    A while ago, I posted photos about how I helped my friend Danielle organize her scrap room and some of her photos. She finished the photos on her own after I left that day. See her photo organization post here.

    Danielle has a great set-up in her basement with two tables, and lots of great plastic containers. Over time, as she bought new scrap products and ordered new photos, things were tossed onto the tables and not put away. Having two little ones made it difficult for her to keep up with the organizing.

    I've NEVER done that before. Never, ever. My scrap table is always 100% neat.

    (Bwaaa haa haaa! Yeah right! You should see my scrap table right now.) All of us crafters have done this at one time or another.

    We took some time to put away the paper and sort all of her doo-dads. Like I said, Danielle had these great storage containers already.

    Look at all of the pretty buttons! These containers are inexpensive, and perfect for the little items.

    And here are the after photos...

    Now Danielle can work on her scrapbooking and card making easier. I need to work on my own scrapbook table before my upcoming weekend scrapbook retreat!

    Does anyone need to work on their craft area?

    Linking to: Someday Crafts/ Crazy Domestic/ Lucky Star Lane/ It's a Blog Party/ Thrifty Decor Chick/ Keeping it Simple/ I Heart Naptime/ Under the Table and Dreaming/ Finding Fabulous/ Tidy Mom/ The Shabby Nest/ It's a Hodgepodge Life

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    Easy Decorative Tags

    We just wanted to let you know that our staircase project has been featured on a really great tool/DIY blog, One Project Closer. There is a lot of great info on their site about tools, renovations, etc.

    I wanted to show some cute tags that I made. I used this tag punch from Creative Memories. It’s a large punch, but it works very easily.

    It also has a slot where you can put the tag, and punch a tiny hole. Fun!

    The letter stickers and fall stickers are also from Creative Memories. I made these tags for our upcoming weekend scrapbook retreat. We provide “goody bags” full of fun treats, and these tags will go on the bags. I’ll have to take some pictures to show after the retreat.

    Here are some other fun things you can do with tags:
    • tags for birthday gifts
    • tags for Christmas gifts (it’ll be here before you know it!)
    • place cards/tags for a holiday meal
    • tags for hostess gifts
    • cute bookmarks
    • labels for cookie exchanges
    • labeling food on a buffet
    • simple Christmas decorations for children to make

    Saturday, October 23, 2010

    Beer Bread Recipe

    This recipe is pretty easy, and it's wicked good! I don't really like the taste of beer, but I like this bread. The beer taste is pretty subtle. I think that it's best to use a lighter-colored beer for this recipe. You can also use a clear soda, like Sprite or ginger ale. If you use soda instead of beer, the bread tastes sweeter. 
    Beer Bread Recipe

    3 cups sifted flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 cup white sugar
    3 tablespoons melted butter
    12 ounce bottle of beer

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Cute Recipe Storage

    I thought I would show how I store my recipes. Several years ago, I bought one of these recipe baskets at a Longaberger basket show. I even had to buy the cute "Recipes" tie-on.

    I think this was purchased around 1996 or 1997. These baskets are expensive, but they are sturdy and do hold up very well. I love the lip on the cover, where you can rest a recipe while you are reading it.

    I bought a ton of recipe cards with plastic covers. I'm a messy cook and baker, stuff gets splashed around. I do have a few recipe books, but if I like a recipe enough, I'll write it on a card and put it here into my basket.

    Once in a while, I tear recipes out of magazines, and print them from the internet. Here is my pile of recipes "to be tried."

    I really need to give myself some sort of deadline for trying these recipes before I either write them on a card, or toss them. I think some of these papers are older than six months.

    Until I try the new recipes, I fold them up and store them in front of my recipe cards. Looks like it's time to try some of these out!

    How do you store your recipes? Do you have a basket or container? A three ring binder? Cookbooks? Do you just look up recipes on the internet?

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    Getting Ready for Winter

    Over the last several days, Handy Man has been working on getting the outdoors ready for winter. Here, he's taking apart the table and chair set out on our deck.

    He unscrewed all of the pieces for the tables and chairs, so he could put them into the shed more easily.
    Here are some other suggestions for getting your home ready for winter, especially if you live in a climate with rough winter weather like we do.

    • Clean your gutters and downspouts. We had new gutters installed with covers to keep leaves out a few years ago, so we don't have to do this step anymore. It was well worth it!
    • Drain and put away garden hoses.
    • Put away or cover air conditioners.
    • Replace any exterior light bulbs.
    • Check caulking around your doors and windows.
    • The last time you mow the lawn for the season, you'll need to drain your mower of gas and oil. Click here to read an article that Rob wrote about this last year.
    • Clean your dryer vent. Lots of dryer lint can build up over time; this should actually be done more than once a year.
    • Have your heating system cleaned or maintained. If you have a chimney that gets used, make sure it gets cleaned as well.
    Have you done any work to get ready for winter yet? Unfortunately, at least for us in the Northeast, winter is right around the corner.

    Linking to: Somewhat Simple/ New Nostalgia

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

    Fun New Blog Design

    I'm sure you've noticed by now, but we've moved to Blogger and have a great new design! I want to thank Kim from the blog seven thirty three, who worked on the graphics and installed the design for us. Thanks, Kim!

    Kim also has a very cute crafting blog, too. Check it out if you love crafty things.
    Just a few things we wanted to point out:
    • Click on the "About Us" page to find out more info about Handy Man and I, and even a little about Handy Boy.
    • You'll also find info about blogs we've been featured on.
    • I added a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section in the "About Us" page.
    • Click on the "Advertise" page to find out info about being a sponsor on our blog. We're offering a great introductory special!
    • We still need to work on the "Recipes", and "Before and After Photos. If you're looking for recipes, you can click on "recipes" in the category section.
    Thanks so much for reading our blog, and for all the comments and emails.

    We're still looking for more people to feature on our site. Send us an email if you'd like to share a recipe, renovation, decoration, etc project with us.

    Linking to:  Tools are for Women, Too!

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    Fun, New Picture Hanging Tool

    Have you ever had a hard time hanging pictures on a wall? I always make Handy Man help me, but sometimes we still struggle with placement.

    I saw an ad on TV for this product, and I looked it up online. It looks so helpful!

    It's called "Hang and Level, The Picture Hanging Tool." Here's the site where you can look into more details about the product, as well as videos on how it works: Under the Roof Decorating.

    Normally, I wouldn't write about a product without using it first, but this looks like a great tool. What a simple solution for such a common problem! I think we have to buy one and try it.

    Handyman: "Huh? Another excuse to go to a hardware store? Suhweeeeet!"

    Has anyone else used this product? Tell us about it. It looks like you can purchase this tool for around $15 at places like Lowe's, Home Depot, and Ace Hardware. Note: We are not receiving any compensation for talking about this tool, I just came across it and wanted to share it here.

    Tell us about your mishaps with photo hanging! We've dropped photos, hung them in the wrong spot, etc. I have some blank space in our family room addition that will need photos; and a spot in our stairway where I'd like to hang photos as well.

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    Simple Halloween Cupcakes

    I kept seeing these cute Halloween cupcakes in magazines and around the internet, and I had to make some! This recipe is from Real Simple magazine. I modified it, though. The original recipe called for pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice, and I'm just not a big fan of pumpkin flavor.

    Halloween Cupcakes

    1 18.5 ounce box of yellow cake mix (plus the ingredients called for in the package directions)
    8 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature
    2 cups confectioners' sugar
    24 pieces of candy corn

    Heat oven to 350. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners. Prepare the cake mix as directed. (To add the pumpkin flavoring: add 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, and substitute a 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree for the water called for in the cake directions).

    Divide the batter among the muffin tins and bake until a toothpick inserted into center of a cupcake comes out clean; about 18-22 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

    Frosting: Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Spread on the cupcakes and top each with a piece of candy corn.

    Handy Boy loved these! Also, I used an extra-moist cake mix. It really helped to make the cupcakes super-moist and yummy.

    Linking to: Trendy Treehouse/Tales from Bloggeritaville/Somewhat Simple/Beyond the Picket Fence/Fireflies and Jellybeans/Paisley Passions/Fingerprints on the Fridge/A Little Knick Knack/Tidy Mom/It's a Hodgepodge Life/Chic on a Shoestring Decorating/Finding Fabulous/a little lovely/The Girl Creative/Making the World Cuter/Keeping it Simple/Today's Creative Blog/Tatertots and Jello/All Thingz Related/Lucky Star Lane/Hoosier Homemade

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    Dining Room Buffet Decor

    I decided to put some fall decor up on our dining room buffet. Well, we don't exactly have a specific dining room any more. Our buffet is in our family room.

    We bought this buffet several years ago in a consignment shop. The plates are vintage Fiesta ware.
    I used items that we had around the house. I also went out and snipped some fall branches.
    Handy Man has collected a lot of old glass marbles, and we put them in a glass aqua jar. I did a post about how we put shells and rocks into glass jars here.

    Sunday, October 10, 2010


    I've read a lot of blog posts and news stories about today's date of 10/10/10. I know this is off-topic, but here are 10 photos that I took today. We took a last minute trip to the White Mountains, and here 10 of my photos.

    Back to our usual posts this week; I have lots to talk about!

    Friday, October 8, 2010

    Shed Ramp

    I just realized that I forgot to show pictures of the ramp that Rob built for the shed. Hey, he has to be able to wheel his lawnmower and snow blower in there!

    Here's the beginning; he laid out some boards vertically. He had to dig into the ground a bit, to sink the boards into the ground.

    Here's the ramp. Wheeee!
    Handy Boy has been riding his bike over the edges of the ramp. Fun, fun!
    For more photos of our shed construction project, click here.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    Baked Taco Sandwich

    This is an easy dinner to make on a weeknight. This recipe is from Betty Crocker's Good and Easy Cookbook.

    1 pound of ground beef
    1 envelope taco seasoning mix
    1 cup Bisquick baking mix
    1/3 cup cold water
    3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    sour cream, if desired
    shredded lettuce
    chopped tomatoes

    The original recipe says to use an 8x8 pan, but for some reason I started using a loaf pan.

    Grease the loaf pan. Cook beef as directed on envelope of taco seasoning mix.

    Mix baking mix and cold water until smooth; spread in pan. The dough is very sticky and thick, you can use a small spatula or knife to spread it.

    Spread beef mixture over dough.

    Heat oven to 450. Bake covered with foil for 15-20 minutes or until edges are golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately sprinkle with cheese. Let stand 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Place shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes on top. Serve with sour cream.

    Baked Taco Sandwich

    1 pound of ground beef
    1 envelope taco seasoning mix
    1 cup Bisquick baking mix
    1/3 cup cold water
    3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    sour cream, if desired
    shredded lettuce
    chopped tomatoes

    Grease the loaf pan. Cook beef as directed on envelope of taco seasoning mix.

    Mix baking mix and cold water until smooth; spread in pan. The dough is very sticky and thick, you can use a small spatula or knife to spread it. Spread beef mixture over dough.

    Heat oven to 450. Bake covered with foil for 15-20 minutes or until edges are golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately sprinkle with cheese. Let stand 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Place shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes on top. Serve with sour cream.

    Linking to: Tales from Bloggeritaville/Fireflies and Jellybeans/Paisley Passions/It's a Blog Party/Tidy Mom

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    Fall Table Setting

    I keep seeing all sorts of cute table settings on blogs lately, so I thought I'd try to set up a fall-themed setting using our vintage Fiesta Ware. I chose colors of Fiesta that I thought reflected fall.

    I've been trying to take these pictures for DAYS; it's been so cloudy that I had a hard time with the lighting. You can click on each photo for a close-up.

    This next photo looks really good in close-up.

    This was fun to play with, but I'm not much of a fancy table-setting person, so you won't see too many of these from me. I can see doing a cute table set-up with our Christmas dishes, though.

    Here's a close-up of the painting, made by my father. Check out Don's Fine Art to see more of his works.

    Do you like to set the table with tablecloths and accessories? I like to do this for special occasions, like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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