March 26, 2012

My woodworker and my new screened door

Look! I've got a screened door!

Pretty stain and hardware. 

Chris built it from scratch....well from pieces of wood. We're currently using it all the time because we know any day now it will be too hot. 

This is the view from inside the house. 

It never fails that Grace wants inside and Porter wants outside. 

Chris knew that Porter would take any opportunity he could find to explore the outdoors, and Chris installed this nice lock to keep Porter in. 

Our animals each in deep thought about their lots in life. 

I even helped with the staining part, i.e. the easy part. 

Here's to spring and a new door!

March 23, 2012

Push-Up Cake Pops: Birthday Style

Is that a spaceship? 

No, it's a push-pop! 

I first saw the use of push-pops here

Such a cute idea to use them for cake. I bookmarked it, and kept it in the back of my mind for the future. 

You may remember that last year around this time, we all went bowling to celebrate Chris' and Laura's birthday, both on March 15th. 

This year, I decided we would go out to eat for the birthday duo celebration, but that I would take the opportunity to make the oh-so-cute and portable push-up cake pops. 

However, I realized that I didn't just want to hand out the push-ups by themselves. I needed a stage or base. It could be like a center piece of dessert. They do make stands specially designed for these push-ups, but there's no fun in that. I decided to make one, and I decided it would look like a birthday cake!

So I got styrofoam...usually I don't support the use of styrofoam in any capacity, but I couldn't think of anything better. 

I placed the two pieces of styrofoam in a cake shape, and then made holes in them with the sticks of the push-ups. 

I used this handy little screwdriver to fully puncture the holes once the push-ups showed me the placement. 

Then I had this. Two pieces of styrofoam with holes it. Not very birthday-esque.

I decided it would wrap the pieces in wrapping paper that matched the colors of the party. I placed the paper over the pieces and made marks where I could feel the holes.

I folded the paper along the lines of the holes and punched them out.

My idea here was to keep the paper from ripping when I reinserted the push-ups.

I continued to wrap each piece like a birthday present,

and thankfully, my holes all lined up again!

But now what do you do? 

Bake a cake! Use this recipe from The Pioneer Woman because it's delicious. (You don't need the pecan frosting if you're going to use the white icing.) 

Fill a bag with the icing using this tip from Placing the bag inside the cup makes all the icing fall to the bottom tip. Just pour in the icing instead of spooning it. Genius!

I used one of the push-pops to cut out the cooled cake. 

I had some maraschino cherries on hand and some dulce de leche. 

Then I layered a piece of cut-out cake and either the cherries or the dulce de leche. Next another layer of cake. 

And because it was a birthday celebration, I had sprinkles!

A few days earlier, I had tied ribbon on each push-pop's handle, and I made labels. 

The labels were inspired from the packing of the personalized M&Ms party favors I ordered. 

The "party" banner on the M&Ms was really the starting point for the colors and everything. 

Did I mention they were personalized? 

I created the design for the labels to mirror the party banner of the M&Ms, and I used the birthday guy and girl ages. Pretty stinking cute, I think!

Once, all the push-pops were filled with cake and topped with icing, the centerpiece was really coming together. 

But something was missing. 

The sprinkles!!

One great thing about the push-pops was that each one had a lid. It made transporting the centerpiece to the restaurant that much easier. I think both the birthday girl and the birthday boy were pleased with their treats!

Another great March 15th!

March 16, 2012

March 12, 2012

Homeowner Victories

Before you buy a house, it seems like everyone tells you all the reasons you should own a home. "Don't throw your money away paying rent!" "The economy is bad, you'll get a great deal!""First-time homeowners get lots of perks."

While some of these are true, there are certain times that I would very much like to call the landlord and have him fix something. 

One of those times came recently when our water dispenser in the refrigerator stopped working. The refrigerator was still making ice and dispensing it, but no water. Chris pulled out the refrigerator, inspected the back side with tools in hand, tried pressing the water dispensing "cradle" a few times, and then he declared that if I wanted to pay $200, I could call a repairman. He suggested getting a new insert for our Britta pitcher. 

I let it go for a few days, and then I began my Internet research. A year ago, or maybe a little more, a repairman had been out to fix our refrigerator, and he han replaced the circuit board, thankfully at that time still under warranty. So as I was Googling and reading lots of forums and blogs, I steered away from the ones that suggested the circuit board. After much research, I decide that the water tube in the refrigerator door was frozen. I decided to turn our freezer temperature down two notches and take my trusty hair dryer to the door and along the water tube line. I found said "water tube line" thanks to the Internet. Please note that I used my hair dryer on a low settings, as not to mess with the expandable foam in the refrigerator door. I found said "expandable foam" thanks to the Internet. 

After a few hours of the reduced temperature and a few treatments with the dryer: 

I fixed it!!!!

All on my own, I fixed an appliance! When that water poured out for the first time again, I yelled and whooped and hollered like it was pouring money. Awesome, awesome homeowner victory. 

Another victory I had recently was in regards to our sofa. We have a very nice Pottery Barn three-cushion sofa--the PB Basic design. The slipcover on it had been through the wash two too many times, and Porter had claimed one of the arms as his scratching post. The slipcover was a cotton material, and once one or two threads go, the entire stitching is going to follow. Finally, Porter's scratching area was so bad that Chris and I became worried he would soon be scratching the actual sofa. 

So to the Internet I turned. Slipcovers for Pottery Barn sofas, and probably all their furniture pieces, are about half, if not more, of what the entire sofa costs. I called the outlet store here in town, but they said they "rarely if ever got slipcovers in stock." 

I reached further into the blogosphere, until I found this post. Apparently, this blogger had a worn out Pottery Barn sofa and slipcover just like ours, and she didn't want to pay the exorbitant price of a genuine Pottery Barn slipcover either. She mentions that IKEA has the same sofa...and slipcovers. 

I checked it out, and look! Same sofa and slipcover for less hundreds less!

I ordered the light brown and ta-da!

Another homeowner victory!!!!

March 2, 2012

App Tastic!

Have any of you heard of appSmitten? It's a service that emails you daily or weekly, depending on your settings, and tells you the lastest and greatest apps. I really like it because the apps are divided into categories: Best Style apps, Best Health apps, etc. Of course my favorite category is Best Food apps. 

I most recently downloaded the app that tells you where to find Girl Scout cookies. 

That's important, people!!

We can all be App Tastic together!

*This is an affiliate program with BlogHer and appSmitten, but the views expressed are my own!*

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