Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie with Graham Cracker Crust

I love strawberries. And I love cream cheese. And I also love graham cracker crust. So this pie is my dream come true. I thought I'd share. It's especially wonderful because it's incredibly easy if you decide to just buy the graham cracker crust instead of going to all the trouble of making it. Please don't judge me for that statement, though. I have a teething eight month old for pity's sake. Someday when the kids are out of the house I'll make my own crust, but for now this pie is delicious either way and takes very little effort to make.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans (see Note)
1/4 cup unpacked light brown sugar

1 pound (two 8 oz. packages) cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pint (2 cups) fresh strawberries, sliced in half

NOTE: To toast the pecans, place on a baking sheet in 350-degree oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant.

How to do it:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To make the crust: In a medium-size bowl, combine the butter with the graham cracker crumbs, pecans, and sugar. Press firmly into a lightly buttered 9-inch glass pie dish. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
To make the filling: In a large bowl, on the low speed of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the sour cream and vanilla, and continue to beat at low speed until well combined.
Refrigerate the filling while the crust is cooling (if you decided to do it the hard way!). When the crust is completely cooled, spread the filling evenly in the crust with a rubber spatula. Arrange the sliced strawberries on top of the filling in a decorative manner.
Refrigerate the pie for at least 8 hours or overnight to ensure that the filling sets.

Makes one 9-inch pie.


Monday, March 26, 2012

21-day No Junk Food Challenge

...starts today.

I have determination, but very little confidence I can do it. My husband has even less confidence in me.

I'll be keeping up to date!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lemon Juice

I've recently discovered the amazing cleaning powers of lemon juice. You can add it to many different concoctions to clean washing machines, grout, etc. The best use I've found for it so far is cleaning microwaves. It's great because it requires hardly any effort or elbow grease at all. Just stick one 1/2 cup lemon juice in your microwave for about 5 minutes. Then simply take it out and wipe all the steam left behind with a paper towel. It's amazing how easy and effective it is! Now, for a real mess with baked on globs of food this may not be the ticket (although it would probably help to loosen up and moisten those stains). For weekly microwave cleaning, this is exactly what I need! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Here's a good tip

Need a good way to get the nasty stains off of your grout? Use a paste of lemon juice, vinegar and baking soda and let it sit on the grout for about 30 minutes. Come back and scrub it off with a toothbrush. I know because I did this last week and, although it took some time, the result was completely worth it. My tile shower wall looks new again!

Use your leftover lemon juice to brighten up your whites. 1/4 to 1/2 cup will make them look brand new as well. I can now tell my husband to grab a white towel and he won't respond with "But all I see is beige!". 

The two loves of my life.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Still here.

It's been quite a while since I've had time to post or work on the list of things I'd like to make. If you've ever had a teething baby then you know what I'm talking about. Here's a couple things I managed to get done.

Definitely not one of my better creations, but easy and quick to make and something I was really in need of. This was originally the extra piece of cardboard they always stuff behind calendars when you first buy them. As you can see, I'm trying to make good use of the chalkboard paint sitting in my closet as well as the roll of ribbon I bought on sale at Michael's. The left side of the menu board is quite sloppy, but that's mostly due to my horrible handwriting. I always hoped God would bless me with beautiful penmanship. Alas, I take after my dad. 

Finally got around to making my make-up box that will eventually have a matching hanging jewelry box next to it. Again, you'll note the use of the chalkboard paint and my attempt at making the word "make-up" look pretty. It's hard to write with chalk! The rope design is on both sides to go along with the nautical theme around the house.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The following pictures sum up my weekend

Closet organization



Steak, mashed potatoes and salad

 (With A1 sauce. YUM!)

Hanging with these handsome boys

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Never find yourself without vinegar. Ever.

A misty Washington morning.

It needs some definite perfecting and practice, but I'm a fan of the Sock Bun Curl. Here's the result.


I want to share two floor cleaner recipes I've found to be the absolute best. If you've never tried making your own cleaner I highly recommend giving it a whirl. I was shocked at how much better it cleaned, got rid of nasty pet/food odors and was able to get out any stain I've ever had (including dried up paint that had been stuck to my kitchen floor for months).

No-Rinse Floor Cleaner Recipe

Fill bucket with hot water. Throw in 1/4 cup white vinegar. If you have any essential oils you'd like to add, 15 drops is about right.

Heavy Duty Floor Cleaner Recipe

Fill bucket with hot water. Pour 1/2 cup each of white vinegar and rubbing alcohol or vodka. Add 2 tablespoons liquid dish soap and 15 drops essential oil (if you have any - definitely not a must). If you want to make sure no odor, bacteria or stain survives toss a 1/4 cup of baking soda in there as well. Stir it all up and rinse with hot water afterwards!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Wine and chocolate

You know you have a nice husband when he brings you these two things and sits through The Bachelor for two hours.

Who am I kidding? He loves The Bachelor as much as I do.

So I decided to share the ever-growing list of projects that I'm working on or will begin to work on sometime soon. This is partially because I need somewhere to write them all down so that I don't forget. It's also for the benefit of anyone who would like to see how they go and if they're worth trying (since I'm pretending people besides my mom occasionally read this). 

Found this sweet poem and it brought tears to my eyes. Having a baby has turned me into a complete sap. So, I'd like to display it somewhere in my home by doing this...

Wrap some fabric with your favorite pattern around a canvas and staple in the back. Put letter stickers on there and spray paint over the letters. Peel the stickers off and...

voila! Beautiful and easy.


Recently found this idea on Pinterest and it sounds like a "must do". You can get a black and white version of one of your favorite photos blown up this size at places like OfficeMax for around $8. Then just stick it on a huge foam board from Home Depot and hang it on your wall for a fun addition to a kid's room or pretty much anywhere. Total cost is about $13. You can find the whole tutorial here.


This is such a simple and adorable gift idea. I've never used resin before, but it sounds pretty simple. Get your favorite pictures, stick them on some tiles you can pick up at Home Depot for 19 cents each. Throw some resin on there (the girl who originally did this recommended Envirotex Lite and instructions for that particular brand can be found here). Wait for it to dry and tie it with a bow for some neat looking, personal coasters!


This might be my favorite idea. My mom actually did this years ago and I didn't even remember until I saw it on Pinterest. Grab some old cans, spray paint, hammer, nail, leaves, sand, candles and some wire and you can make these sweet lanterns for your garden or porch. Awesome way to light up a summer evening and create a rustic look in your backyard. Easy peasy and inexpensive. Here are the instructions


Oh wait, I already did this! My version does not look near as cute, but I used fish punches to go with our Navy theme and put them in the shape of a heart. Go to my first post to see the result. I skipped putting them on the foam squares, which seemed to work better since I made a shape out of them. I think I would want the squares to add dimension if I were to place them in rows for a simpler look. Either way, such an easy and fun project that I might just make another. 


So I'll need a glue gun and a little boy old enough to enjoy this first, but this no-sew felt car mat looks so cute and fun to make. Brought to you by the same person who made the coasters! 


These are currently sold in the UK for what would convert to around $150, but can easily be made at a fraction of the cost. Either buy four or five matching pillowcases or make some of your own. Sew them all together and stuff some pillows in there. Sew the cases shut and you've got a comfy place for your kids to lay while they watch TV, read, nap, have sleepovers - whatever they want! They might not turn out quite as high-quality as above, but even if you got completely new products (pillowcases and pillows) it would still cost less than 50 buckeroos. That's 1/3 of the cost and completely worth it to me!


I'm actually trying this as we speak. It's called the sock bun curl. Incredibly easy, but can't comment on whether it's effective or not. If I like it I'll include my own instructions (even though the link above shows you how to do it as well) and pictures. It's described as perfect for moms with long hair that have little time to spend on their hair. Someone must have seen me out shopping yesterday and rushed home to create this styling technique. Thank you (if it works, that is)! 


Haven't even read the full instructions on this, but I have some smaller versions of wooden boxes that I would like to turn into something pretty. I'm thinking of getting two of my boxes that are the same size and placing them vertically on the wall so that I can put little decorative trinkets as shown above. I'll get around to that eventually.


Another project that I'm super excited about. A hanging jewelry box is just what I need. Most of the time when I decide to put on a necklace I start to rummage through my old jewelry box and find that I no longer own a necklace, but a large ball of many necklaces. The idea of keeping all of my jewelry out, easy to see and tangle-free has always been something I've wanted to do, but never known how. I have a wooden box that's actually a drawer to a small organization box I've owned for years that's just waiting to be dolled up. There were a bunch of styles of hanging jewelry boxes on this website, but this one was my favorite. Place a couple containers on the bottom of the box for your earrings and you're good to go.  


There are quite a few other projects waiting in the wings, but I think ten is a good start. Looks like I've got some work to do. Not only that, but I have to convince my husband all these trips to Michael's and JoAnn are completely worth it. Ideas?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

It doesn't feel like a Saturday

Six months ago today I popped this cutie out.

Seriously, you'll wonder why you never thought of some of these things. From how to get scratches off furniture to genius ways to organize your linen closet.

Did you know nail polish remover works well to get sticky adhesive residue off of jars and other surfaces? There are other methods people swear by, but this has been the one that has worked best for me. Next time you want to recycle a jar or can remember that!

The tree outside my window must be the equivalent of a Starbucks to all of the naval base creatures because it is always hopping. I like to catch some of them in action whenever I can. I don't know why I haven't gotten a hummingbird feeder yet since the place is crawling with them. I might even make one - whichever is cheaper. I'm sure the likelihood of catching a clear picture of one of them is nonexistent with this camera, though.

I found Woody Woodpecker!

No Heat Curl

So, I recently saw a hairstyling technique that seemed neat, so I gave it a try. It's perfect for curling/waving your hair and adding a little volume without any heat if that's what you're looking for. I didn't follow the instructions exactly and I think you need to in order to get the desired result. But I thought I'd share in case anyone is interested. Here's a link to the No Heat Curl tutorial:

My tips:

Put some product in your hair before you wrap it around the headband and wait until your hair is barely damp to do so. I did it when my hair was still pretty wet and left it in half of the day instead of all night. It was still pretty wet when I took it out and weighed my hair down, so the curls weren't quite what I was hoping for. Next time I'll do it over night with barely damp hair and add a little mousse beforehand.

However, it still gave my hair a nice no-frizz curl/wave look. I clipped my bangs back because they always seem to have a mind of their own and I wasn't in the mood to get the straightener out.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Just a sleepy mommy with nothing better to do

A very fun craft to make using poster board, scrapbook paper, any shape punch and glue! I was able to emphasize the Navy/patriotic theme I have going on in my house.

It's going to take a little work to get this technique right, but by wrapping yarn around jars and spray painting over it you can create a neat candle holder. Just tie a ribbon around the top and you have an elegant source of light from an old jelly jar.

What once was a basket is now a blue basket, which will eventually match my blue hanging jewelry box and blue make-up box that I have yet to make.

This little thing was sitting outside our window for quite a while the other day and was only too pleased to get his very own photo shoot. I think he just liked teasing the cats on the other side of the glass.

Just when you think you've forgotten what the sun looks like, God reminds you to see the beauty even in the rainy days.

Is it ridiculous that I'm already dreading the day he leaves for college?

Bubba's first snow!

Dear Lord, grant me the greatness of heart to see,
The difference in duty and his love for me.
Give me the understanding to know,
That when duty calls he must go.
Give me a task to do each day,
to fill the time when he is away.
And Lord when duty is in the field,
Please protect him and be his shield.

Having fun with focus... and dangling dog tags off of my toe.

The reason this blog is being created is because I'm currently pulling somewhat of an all-nighter in order to sleep-train my six month old little boy. These two critters are keeping me company. At least somebody's sleeping.