Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fabric that's Picture Perfect


I've had this photo box for a few years now.  It's been sitting on my dresser just as such with no photo in the front.  I decided after nearly half a decade that adding fabric to the front instead of a picture would be the perfect solution.

I removed the back and instead of inserting a photo, I used a spare piece of fabric that I had left over from my apron sewing project. 


Voila!  Simple and perfect.  It pops against the white color and goes perfectly in the space.

I've seen fabric framed on the wall before, but never on a photo box like this.

I love it. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pink Lemonade Cake and Cupcakes

On the cover of Better Homes and Gardens May 2012 issue was a Pink Lemonade Cake.  The minute I saw it, I knew I wanted to make it.  I've made layers of different colors before, but never shades of pink nor have I ever had a pink lemonade cake before so I was oober excited to taste it.  It turned out beautifully!

Pink Lemonade Cake

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter
4 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
red food coloring
1 1/3 cups milk
1/4 cup frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 tsp lemon extract
Allow butter and eggs to stand until room temp.  Grease 2 9x2 in. round pans.  Line bottom of pans with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl mix flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350.
In a large bowl beat butter, add sugar, 1/8 tsp of food coloring, 1 egg at a time, beating well.  In another bowl, stir together milk, lemonade concentrate, and extract- it will curdle, but that's okay.

Alternately add flour mixture and milk mixture to butter mixture beating on low.
Remove 1/2 (4 cups) of tinted batter and spread in 1 pan.  Stir in 1/4 tsp of red food coloring in remaining batter and spread in other pan.

Bake about 35 minutes until toothpick is clean when inserted.

In the meanwhile, you can start making the frosting.  Since using 6 sticks of butter was a little too rich for me, I used my almond buttercream frosting recipe instead which was still delish.  However, in hindsight, I think that making the pink lemonade buttercream would have been a better choice to really bring out the lemony flavor.

Pink Lemonade Buttercream Frosting

3 cup unsalted butter (6 sticks-at room temp)
2 -16 oz. jars of marshmallow cream
1/4 cup frozen lemonade concentrate (thawed)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp lemon extract

In a large bowl, beat butter about 30 seconds  Add marshmallow and frozen concentrate.  Beat until smooth. Add sugar, beat until light and fluffy.

Frost cake after it has cooled and the frosting is at room temp.

To make the different layers, slice the cakes in half with a serrated knife, sawing gently back and forth. Alternate the colors.  I sugared lemon slices as decor right on top.

The cake was super moist and I thought it was so tasty.  I will definitely make it again. 


Along with the cake, my sister and I went ahead and made some pink lemonade cupcakes.  

I'm not very good frosting cupcakes, but I'm happy with the way it turned out this time.

Can you say yum-o?

Who's ready to make a batch?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Free Shutterfly Photo Book!

Get a free photobook from Shutterfly.  You still have to pay the $7.99 shipping, but its still a fantastic deal.  I can't wait to start making my summer vacation book.  You must create your book by August 30th.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Free Haircut for the Kiddos

Get your kids looking good for their first day with a free haircut at JCPenney salons! Through the month of August, every JCP Salon across the USA is offering free haircuts to kids in kindergarten through sixth grade. Be sure to schedule your appointment now, because they’ll fill up fast. Go here to find a salon near you.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Washer and Dryer Pedestal

My washer and dryer pedestal is in place!   I have no regrets building my pedestal.  When we decided to replace our set, I knew I didn't want to buy the matching pedestals that came with it because I had heard from several people that it was too small to even put laundry detergent in.  Since our space is small, I needed to maximize it and building my own would allow me to place laundry baskets underneath for added storage.  It didn't hurt that it also saved me $420 as well since the store bought pedestals were $250 a piece and the total price I paid was roughly $80 for the wood.

Here's my how-to.  I took the plans from here and modified it to my space.  The maximum height my pedestal could be would be 17 inches due to a pre-existing cabinet above the dryer.  Therefore, I had to somehow figure out a way to shorten it, without shortening the opening since the typical laundry basket is 10.5 inches, I wanted an 11 inch clearance.  The only way to shorten the overall height was to use 2x3s instead of 2x4s which the plan uses.

There are two floors to the pedestal.  Since the bottom floor would really have no weight to bare other than laundry baskets, I used 2x3's and placed it on its side (the 2inch side). 


The dimensions of the floors were 57x35.  In hind sight, I would have made the width shorter had I known the dryer vent was at the exact location of one of my pedestal legs.  That's something to think about. The location of the dryer vent may force you to build it less wide, or drill out a space/hole to allow it to connect.

For the top layer, I also used 2x3s, but I placed them vertically (on the 3 inch side) for more support.  This gave the over all height to be 16.25 inches, giving me a 3/4 inch clearance under the cabinet.


Most of the plans I found online used MDF.  Water and MDF don't mx well and since I have had enough experience with water spraying everywhere in my laundry room, I decided I would use ply wood instead.  That also allowed me to stain it to match my cabinets in the room.  I used 1/2 inch thick of plywood for both layers.

Now for the legs.  Everyone online as able to find 4x4s in the store, but of course, untreated 4x4 is no where to be found where I live.  Therefore, I nailed two pieces of 2x4s together to make my legs.  Since I had a lot of the same cuts to make, I clamped a piece of wood at the end of the saw and just budded all my pieces to it.  This allowed every cut to be exactly the same and what was even better, cutting all the legs were fast.

I glued and nailed the boards together.  One thing I hate about 2x4s are the curved edges.  When I nailed them together, there was a groove in between that I didn't care for.  I wanted it to look like one piece and it didn't so I used a planer to shave off that curve so that it would look seamless.

 Whatever gaps remained, I used a stainable wood filler.  You can also make your own.  It is basically just glue and sawdust.  I sanded all the pieces down and then added trim around all the exposed edges.  

I didn't like the unfinished edge of the plywood so I decided to cover it up.  I think adding trim around the edges of the plywood makes a HUGE difference. 

A coat of stain and then two coats of polyethylene, with sanding in between finished the look.

After reading a lot of horror stories, I thought installation would be tough.  With a little preparation, it wasn't so bad.

 I really do love the look of it, even more than the store bought one.

I contemplated painting the pedestal, but I am glad I stuck with staining it because we have a locker-style built-in cabinet on the other side of the laundry room that is stained as well.

What's left to do?  I need to build a shelf or roll out for this space.

I have this plastic thing right now, but it looks a little out of place so I hope to build a pull out or shelving unit to match the rest of the room.

Oh, and here's my tip for buying a washer and dryer.  I was against buying a new set because there really wasn't anything wrong with our old set.  Since it was a top loader and I am rather short, I would have to use a step stool to get the clothes out of the washer, but I got used to it.  My hubby didn't like that so I researched for a new washer and dryer.  Once I found "the" one, I waited..and waited until the sale.  I found an incredible price online to which I brought to the store for a price match.  They price matched and took an additional 10% off that price.  To top that off, I bought them on appliance tax-free weekend.  Did you know that even existed?  I didn't.  Apparently, the government has one weekend a year where energy-efficient appliances are tax-free.

So what did I end up paying?  My washer and dryer retailed for $1399 each.  Crazy huh?  It had high reviews (that's probably why it was oober expensive).  I found a store selling it for $940.  I priced matched it at my local store and got an additional 10% off.  That brought the price down to only $846 each.  If I bought it on any other weekend for the regular price, it would have cost $3028.84.  I saved a whopping $1336.84.  Because of that savings, I was willing to splurge on a new set.  I was also able to sell my old one for $300.  Therefore, I was only out of pocket for $1392 for both the washer and dryer.  That's like buying the washer and getting the dryer for free or getting over 50% off which is definitely better than any black Friday deal I have seen.  I love my new set, and for the price, I have no regrets.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Free Slurpee Today

7-Eleven patrons will be given a free 7.11-ounce Slurpee simply for the asking anytime between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. July 11.  That's today!!! 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Day at the Beach

This year, E. wanted to go to the beach for his birthday.  He's been wanting to go for some time, but since we don't live near the ocean, it wasn't as easy a gift to deliver as we wanted.  We decided to take the kiddos to the beach during the fourth of July week.

Needless to say, it was a huge success.  As a kid, we went to the beach pretty often.  We went hunting for clams, fishing for crabs and practically lived at the beach every summer.

That however isn't the case for my kids, they got to see waves for the very first time last week.  They loved it so much, they didn't want to leave.


 A. especially loved the water.  If we didn't physically hold him back, he would have swam as far out as his little legs could carry him.

Here he is posing for a picture like he always does.

As much as we swam, there was also a lot of digging.  

Here's the kiddos creation.

And what did we do with the hole we left?

We buried R.   It was meant for my hubby, but R. jumped in and asked to be buried.

 After all that digging, we snacked and watched the birds watch us eat.

We shared

and shared.

More kids jumped in to share their lunch.

Birds were everywhere and were only finger tips away.

When I jumped in to watch over my little ones

 I got attacked!

We had a wonderful vacation. The kiddos are already wanting to go again so again we shall.  Hopefully, I won't get attacked next time.  ;)
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