Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dipping My Toes into the Clean Eating Pool

My youngest son has been home for a few months.  He has been railing on our "crappy" eating habits.  I have been researching and reading about clean eating.  It all sounds so wonderfully healthy and empowering, but I am the biggest carbohydrate addict with one huge sweet tooth.  I bought some coconut oil and a small package of almond flour at a Big Lots about a month ago.  They have sat in my cupboard.  I added some powdered peanut butter to them a couple of weeks ago.

Today I decided it was time to dive in.  I searched for recipes.  It was really difficult because if you search for almond flour recipes, you get a lot of gluten free recipes most of which call for xanthan gum (which gives the texture four gives and is really pricey.)  I finally decided to try some with just a 1:1 substitution of things unhealthy for things healthy.  I ended up with these.
 They are oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  I substituted almond flour for regular flour and coconut oil for butter.  I did not substitute agave or honey for the brown sugar.  I know, I know....but I have to take baby steps!
 My family loved them and so did I.  They are slightly drier than a regular cookie, but that is okay with me.  My favorite cookie is shortbread so these were great.  I had added PB powder for a peanutty taste, but I do not think I added enough as the taste is really not there.  My son said the chocolate chips added a lot, but they certainly were not healthy.  I just told him that they were dark chocolate and that is very good for you.

Fairly Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/4 Cup Coconut Oil (melted)
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1/2 t. Vanilla Extract
1/4 t. Baking Soda
1 T. PB2 Powder (peanut butter powder)
1/4 t. salt
1 Cup Almond Flour
1 Cup Rolled Oats
4 T. Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

Combine the oil and sugar and beat well.  Add the egg and vanilla and continue to beat.  Add all the dry ingredients and beat until well combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.   Drop by spoonful on a baking sheet.  They do not flatten much so you may want to flatten before baking.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Makes 18 cookies.

Patty

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Summer Decor2

This is the second part of summer decor.  I realize it is now July, but I have embraced the meaning of lazy summer this year.  For the rest of the house, I went with a softer wildflower look.  Hobby Lobby has these great silk flowers that look just like the flowers you see long the road.  I love their velvety leaves and muted colors.  I buy a few bunches whenever they go on sale.

 I love old canning jars.  When we moved into our house, my husband found a bushel basket full of the above jars in the barn.  Cleaning them out was quite traumatic because not only were they filthy, but a mouse was giving birth in one of them!
 This funny old duck came from this crazy little store in Michigan.  It is filled with the most random things. I think it is stocked with buyout merchandise.  We always make sure visit it whenever we are up north.


The funny old bird (pelican??? heron???) came from Goodwill.  It was realistic looking and Thrift Chick thought it was hideous.  I have learned to look at things as if they were covered in spray paint....it improves a lot of them!

I know...more birds and wild life.  Sometimes things are so weird that they just call out to you.  I mean, who really thought there would be a huge market for ceramic frogs?

Now that I have finished with the summer decorating, I can relax...sort of.....the garage is crying out for a massive cleaning...so it is on to the next project.

Patty

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Summer Decor

After our snowpocalypse this past winter, I kind of thought we would never see summer.  With extended days and make-up days, we just now finished school.  I finally got tired of looking at Easter eggs and bunnies and decided to haul out the summer stuff.  This is our front hallway.
It is my homage to playtime of yesteryear.  My grandkids call it heaven.   They love playing with the toys.
We have pried the croquet balls out of toddler fingers countless times and I am sure my son and daughter-in-law wish I would choose a different theme. 
  I own three old picnic baskets.  I don't know why...I think they remind me of all the picnics we took when I was little.  We used to picnic all the time....people just don't do picnics any more.
 The dominos and Parade magazine came from a garage sale,  The marbles are actually from the Dollar Store and the pool balls were left over when we got rid of our pool table.
Thrift Chick found the pick-up sticks at an estate sale.  Aren't they fun?  She has their vintage container on display in her apartment....I just stole the sticks. 

I love old wooden Scrabble tiles and pick them up at thrift stores whenever I can find them.  I have about three games sets right now.  The "Let's Play" looks cute doesn't it?  However, my children can't seem to leave it alone...I am always coming home to find strange new messages there.


Patty

Friday, June 20, 2014

Party, Party, Party! Part 2

If you are a regular reader, you know I had two baby showers the last week of school.  The second party was for our school psychologist.  Since she did not know the gender yet, she had not yet picked a nursery theme.  We decided to go with a bird theme with a vintage flair.  Okay, I confess, I have been dying to use some of my vintage pottery...but the theme really did fit her....I promise.

This teacher's lounge is quite a bit older and a bit more in rough shape.  We needed to cover a lot of tables cheaply so we did end up using plastic...not my favorite, but I have to be realistic.  We also did repeat the waffle and yogurt bar idea because it was a nice change from our usual breakfast casseroles. (Plus, I am a terrible caterer and had waffles  and yogurt coming out of my ears....who eats just one waffle???)

 All the dishes and vases are thrifted or from estate sales.  The yellow batter bowls are actually from that same 60% off sale at Michael's from the first party.  I am telling you, we made off that day with a huge pile of loot.

 I paid $1.50 for the green vase at a recent estate sale.  (We go on Saturdays when things are marked half off.)  I am really falling for pottery that has a thirties and forties feel.  From the muted colors to the awesome unique shapes, there is just something nostalgic about how they look.


 This sugar and creamer as well as the bowls and plates from above came from a lot of Vernonware California Pottery I picked up at an estate sale a couple of years ago.  It was an impulse buy.  I paid $50 for ten dinner plates, ten dessert plates, five cups and saucers, the sugar bowl and creamer, salt and pepper shakers and some assorted cereal bowls.  They are in pastel colors in the muted vintage tint I love.  I love all the little details.  I have been looking for other pieces and just don't find them.  There are a few online, but they are pretty pricey...turns out I got a great deal.

Besides the nesting birds, we made centerpieces out of cupcakes.  My daughter-in-law is a talented cook and she made me a beautiful bouquet of cupcake roses for Mother's Day.  I asked her to make some more a little smaller.  She did a great job, don't you think?

For this shower, we showered her with books....fitting for a school!  We also created a book for her.  Each teacher completed gave her advice on what to teach your child before kindergarten.  My favorite was "Before kindergarten, be sure to teach your child that the cookie found on the playground should not be eaten, no matter how good it looks."

I must say, the teachers ate more at this shower than the other one....but I still have three boxes of waffles in my freezer and four large containers of yogurt in my refrigerator.  Anyone have a great recipe for toaster waffles and yogurt?

Patty



Monday, June 16, 2014

Pyrexmania

It all started with these
 and these
 They came from my mother.  She's had them for as long as I can remember.  The yellow one held our Sunday night popcorn.  When she was downsizing, I took them home with me.  Thrift Chick has already called dibs for when I downsize.  Since she has bugged me day and night to give them to her, I started keeping my eye out and picking up vintage looking pieces at thrift stores, garage sales and estate sales.  Soon Thrift Chick joined me and it evolved to this

and this
 We never pay more than a few dollars for any piece and we have one rule of thumb.  The piece must be usable.  If you do any research, you will find that there are tons of vintage pyrex patterns out there.  I love coming across the odd piece here and there.  Together we have amassed quite a collection.  For me I love seeing things that were used by generations before me.  I love seeing how the patterns and colors changed and evolved with the decades.  
What makes pyrex so fun to collect is that is just so useful.  As you can see we use it everyday!


Patty

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Party, Party, Party!

The last week of school was party central!  We had two baby showers...one at each of the elementary schools I serve.  Of course, I couldn't use the same theme and decor at each school...they were two very different girls!  Thrift Chick said I always go overboard, but it is so fun to decorate for a party.

Party number one was for my clinical fellow SLP.   Her nursery is going to be navy and lime with a woodland animal theme.  Her husband loves to hunt and wanted a hunting theme, but like any good woman who cares about decor, she said, "No way!"   Cute woodland animals was as back to nature as she was willing to get.

So woodland animals it was.  The teacher's lounge at this school is very nice and new.  We didn't really need table coverings or anything.  I used my Silhouette (stay tuned for a post about this fantastic tool) to create some adorable creatures.

I texted my assistant to see if her dad "could cut some logs like a vase and drill some holes in them for the centerpieces."  That is all I said.  She said they read and reread that text trying to figure out what I meant.  They finally just cut them randomly and added holes.  She gathered twigs with berries.  Isn't it amazing....not at all what was in my head, but so much better!




Sorry for so many pictures, but they are so stinkin' cute.  I just used a bunch of random scrapbook patterned papers in navy, green and browns.

For food, we did a waffle bar.  This was the simplest food I have ever done.  We used toaster waffles and then brought all the fixings that people love on waffles.

The circles garland took me all off 15 minutes to make.  I cut circles using the die cut machine at school.  (Seriously, if you are trying to make some decor, check out your local school, they probably have a die cut machine that will cut out letters, shapes and all kinds of objects.)  Then I simply sewed the circles on my machine.  I just ran the circle through the machine and counted to four between circles.  For a tutorial, check out here at Positively Splendid.

 The peanut butter and sugar ceramic jars were found 60% off at Michael's.  They have brightly colored ceramic lids as well. I stole them from Thrifty Chick's apartment.

 The ceramic berry baskets were from Michael's as well....the same 60% off line as was the granola glass bins.  I paid just $2 for them.  Needless to say we snatched up all they had.
To stay with the waffle theme, we had ice cream waffle bowls for yogurt parfaits. With vanilla yogurt, fruit and granola we had a nice alternative to waffles.
 I got the white pitcher at "garage sidewalk sale" at our local antique mall for $7.  It is one heavy sucker.  I have this love of milk glass....it just calls out to me!
No one really used the straws, but I couldn't resist because they added such a fun pop of color.  The vase is one I find all the time at thrift stores.  It must be very common because I now own about five in various sizes...why you ask?  I don't know...they are super cheap and I love their clean look.

Seriously, this was really a fun one to do.  I think I liked it so well because the colors are so clean and bright and those animals....they are just so cute.

Patty


Thursday, May 8, 2014

She's About to Pop Party

My speech assistant was pregnant with her third child. (I am a little late in posting this as she has had said child and is now enjoying a lovely break from school whiling away the hours taking care of three little ones under the age of four.)  I wanted to give her a fun send off at school so I created the "She's About to Pop" popcorn bar.


 I bought pre-popped popcorn from Gordon Food Service.  I purchased various kinds of popcorn salt from my grocery store and Big Lots and then transferred them to Dollar Store salt shakers.
 The banner I made by printing out flags on card stock and scrapbook paper and stringing them on Baker's twine.  Here is an easy tip another teacher gave me as I was trying to get the banner to stay up.  She suggested I hot glue it to the brick.  It worked like a charm and it came off super easy.
 The small signs were also done on card stock, printed and then cut out.  Again I googled tag templates and just added my own labels.  I tied them on with baker's twine as well.
I made the pinwheels from a template I got from Googling pinwheels.  To get the two pattern look, I glued two different scrapbook papers together and then cut them out.  I hot glued a button in the center and hot glued them to kabob skewers.  I made the popcorn balls the night before.


I went with the red, black and whet theme because that was color of the enamelware that I had.  (I am sure that is what the professional stylist do...right?)  All in all it was really pretty simple to throw together and it came out so very cute.

Patty