Crockopt Sloppy Joes With Diet Coke

Hello, friend.

Every time I sit down to write a post, I see a squirrel (aka I get distracted with other things, ADD-style). In some ways that is good. It means I’m getting things done, which I am. I have a mission of productivity when I get to the computer lately, and I’ve been better at keeping with that mission. It has been a productive week for me. Clothes a’ washing, drying on the line, freezer defrosted (more on that in another post), continue to keep my flowers alive out front (not a small feat for a black-thumb like myself), paid bills, got kids appointments made and completed (no missed appointments this week)… the list goes on and on. I feel satisfied. More content when I allow myself to accomplish tasks and stay on track.

For a long time I’ve put other things first; I’m working on not doing that as much. Not in a means of being selfish and all-important, but with the intent to make sure that I am fulfilling the needs and obligations of myself and my family. Giving that the priority it demands. When I don’t, I feel life spinning out of control, bills being paid late, meals being ordered in because I didn’t prepare, home being embarrassingly messy — things that don’t make for a happy home.

In that effort, I’ve been spending my time online looking for recipes to add to my ever-growing collection. The past few days I’ve been trying to eat what we have and make less runs to the store. My success has been about 60%, which is up from before. Knowing that I had some ground turkey and beef in the freezer, I opted to get it out the night before to thaw. Doing this took a little bit of planning (find recipe, remove from freezer). Not much, but a bit. The peace of mind I had, though, knowing what we were having for dinner the next day is worth something.

I’m also working on minding my food and taking better care of my body again, so I explored sparkpeople for a bit, hoping to turn up something new and tasty. I found a recipe for Diet Coke Sloppy Joes and did a little bit of modifying.

16 oz. 96% ground beef
1 cup diet coke
2/3 cup reduced sugar ketchup
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp dry mustard
Brown ground beef in skillet. Drain beef and add back to skillet. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Cook on low for 30 minutes uncovered so sauce can thicken. You can also add onions or green peppers if you’d like.

Number of Servings: 4

I doubled, using the beef/turkey mix; drained, put in crockpot. Then I took some frozen chopped green peppers and put that in the pot, heated them a bit, adding the ketchup (not reduced sugar – don’t have it), Worcestershire, vinegar (used apple cider instead), dry mustard, and 2 tsp of garlic (I love garlic). After I mixed that around a bit, I added the Coke (I used Coke Zero). I poured this over the meat in the crock, added about 2T of dried onion flakes, mixed it all up and set it on high. I cooked it for about 1.5 hours on high, stirring it here and there, and then let it simmer with the lid off for half an hour or so. It smelled delicious and tasted good, too. Everyone thought it was yummy. It was less saucy than a Manwich, or “traditional” sloppy joes, but I liked it for something different and bit dryer. Doubled, I would say that it fed a little more than 8 with 2 sandwiches each (approx. 1/4 cup per serving).

I love my crockpot.

Self-inflicted Hiatus?

It’s been a while. I know. I keep thinking of things I want to write, investigate, get feedback on… and then life takes a bite, and swallows me whole and it is sink or swim. Facebook posts are quick, not posting anything is quicker yet.

But, as life busies, I feel my brain turning to mush, wondering how I ever was able to function in college, writing, studying, thinking? My goodness, I’m only 38 years old, I shouldn’t be feeling the decline of an aging mind. What I’m feeling is the stifling of a creative soul. The yearning for something different. For being busy with creativity, wellness, inspiration. Rather than the drone of a hamster-wheel, day blending into day, excitement extracted only from a crisis, a blip on the chaotic norm.

Nevermind that, we’re going on a roadtrip. Out east, as far as our over-sized van can take us. Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York… off we go. Me saving money, me mapping the finances, me planning the trip, me reserving hotels (and contemplating a night’s sleep in the van)… it is working my brains and my nerves. And we leave soon. How soon I shall not say, as I’d rather not have my home burglarized (mwahahaha). Advice would be happily taken. Free, frugal stops – adored.


Homemade Deodorant? Still using it!!! Haven’t looked back. Pits are healthy are less smelly than when I wore regular deodorant. Yay. Mine’s a version of the common one thrown out there (cornstarch, coconut oil, baking soda). Less of the baking soda, some essential oils, and voila. Good stuff.

Homemade Laundry Detergent Challenge? Verdict still out. Two batches and numerous loads later, I was not entirely unconvinced. However, once our water softener broke down, it was impossible to use. We have really (REALLY) hard water. It is a shame.

Pumpkin Bread and Pumpkin Puree? Fabulous. Just fabulous. And you can freeze those loaves for future snacking. They freeze just dandy. I wrapped in foil, then put in a freezer bag, brought it out a month (or two) later and the kids were all, Yay, pumpkin bread — when did you make this? and I’m all – Twahahahha, you know your momma takes care of you, hel-lo? and not feeling too guilty about defrosting pumpkin bread. I mean, I did make it. Just not recently.

I found another bread recipe that I love-love-love-love and will share that puppy soon.

Homemade Deodorant Trial

There is a ton of information on the web regarding trying homemade deodorant. Here is my experience with it.

Why try homemade deodorant?

Because I’ve struggled for years to find the “right” deodorant. Because I’ve tried “natural” ones and they never made the cut. Because I don’t like the idea of slathering chemicals on my skin constantly. Because I am a product slut. Recovering, that is.

Armpit Profile

Commonly used: Dove, Secret, Arm & Hammer, Sure. Tried Tom’s; gave me itchy rash. Tried it again; same thing.

Sweaty, but not overly sweaty.

Concerned with odor, but it hasn’t cramped my lifestyle.

Shave? Occasionally. Winters, rarely. My pits are sensitive and I’m not a priss about having clean-shaven pits.

Homemade Deodorant Recipe Used

This is the recipe I started with. It is a common-found recipe on the internet. Search long and hard and you’ll find all kinds of variations and recommendations.

5 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/4 c. cornstarch (alternative – arrowroot powder)
1/4 c. baking soda
Optional: Essential oils. I couldn’t quite tell you the percentages because it was not precise.

The CCO (coconut oil) has a low melting point, so if you make this in summer, you might not have to even put it in the microwave. I made it after the temperature in my house was above the melting point, so I needed to put in in the microwave, briefly.

Homemade Deodorant

I stored mine in a small lotion container after frantically searching for something, anything to keep it in.

Homemade Deodorant


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Bread Machine Bread

For you visual folk, I’ll throw out a couple pictures. But I’ll have you know, I took them with my phone. On purpose. Because I can. And because, frankly, I’m a somewhat die-hard, old-school blogger who likes her blogs a little rough around the edges. I’ve tired of the magazine-like blogs with nearly professional photos with templates that cost as much as my monthly mortgage, and narcissism so thick I have to wipe my screen off when I’m done. I’ma keep it real with my ghetto-photos today.

Every now and then I dust off the old bread machine and revisit the art of making bread in a machine. Most recently I was prompted by the need to whip up some pizza crusts, fast. Being short on time, and NOT wanting a frantic situation to turn into a $30-dollar take-out evening, I ran down to get my machine, thinking I could throw the ingredients in, run to do my kid pick up, and come home to quick make some pizzas. Even though it didn’t work out perfectly, it did turn back on the lightbulb regarding the machine, and its usefulness in the kitchen.

I can’t claim to have mastered bread making, to have a “favorite” recipe, or to say that I’ve made a switchover from store-bought to homemade. But I can say that I dabble in it, experimenting, contemplating. I’ve made bread in the machine enough to know I’m not wild about bread machine bread. Granted, my machine is over a decade old. There may be a whole new generation of machines that bake up a more pleasing loaf but my 2-lb. Oster 5834… not so much.

(If you’ve picked up an Oster 5834 at a thrift shop [or are dusting it off from storage] and need for the manual for the Oster 5834 bread machine, you can download it here: Oster 5834 Breadmaker Manual.

Replacement Parts: Sunbeam / Oster Breadmaker Paddle, Bread Pan, and Instruction Book – if you don’t want to download it here for free.

Order of adding ingrediants to your breadmaker: FIRST-liquid ingredients, SECOND-dry ingredients, LAST-yeast.

Loaf Size: 1.5-2 lb.)

So anyway, now that I have all my links and information handy for me for the next time I forget…

What I like least about bread machines is the bread they bake. What I like most about bread machines is the dough they make. So, basically what I love about bread machines is that it is like having your own little apprentice in the kitchen with you. I can plop in the water, oil, flour, salt and yeast in– and forget it! Sort of. I like to peer through the window and watch it knead, and sometimes it needs a little more flour, or liquid. But, for the most part – you set it and let it work while you move on to other things. Love it.

So, last night at… oh, about 10pm I decided to throw a loaf in the machine and try a new recipe. No clue why I waited right up until I was about to go tuck in an read, but I can’t claim everything I do makes sense. I think I just wanted to feel like I was being productive. I like to have something going at night, “working” while I’m getting ready for bed (load of laundry, beans in the crockpot, etc.). Last night it was bread. After adding the ingredients, and then spying on it for a while, I puttered around the house, waiting for Frank (working OT 2nd shift) to get home. I wanted to stay up long enough to warm up his dinner (chorizo tacos), say “hi” and then throw myself down the stairs and slide under the covers.

But I kept worrying about the bread. I mean, it would be done at 1am and shouldn’t I be taking it out of the machine when it is done baking? What would happen if I didn’t? At 12:30am the machine had 49 minutes left on the timer. I, however, only had about 5 min. left in me. Frank was already burning midnight oil after working two shifts, and having to be back to work again at 7am. He was showering and then throwing himself into bed, too. I couldn’t quite bully him into staying up and waiting on my bread (which he would have, if he didn’t have to get up a few hours later).

I was pretty sure that my anxiety over my bread would keep me awake that extra 49 minutes anyway. So I read a few pages of The Help (my bookclub pick), and find my eyes falling heavy. Bowzer snuggles up to me, increasing the cozy factor. My heated blanket starts to kick in. The smell of warm, homemade bread baking drifts through the house.

Twenty minutes. Twenty? The glass of wine I drank while googling recipes is calling me to nighty-night. I know that even if the buzzer on my oven was blaring through the house right now, I’d pull the covers higher up on my chin, roll over and start to drool. There was no way I was going to come out from under those covers, traipse upstairs and remove that bread from the machine in twenty minutes.

This morning I found the bread, sitting on the cutting board, underneath the towel that I had left out. Paddle, stuck in the bottom. Frank must have took it out before he left for work.

I broke out my bread slicer (a wooden contraption found at Goodwill for $2) and cut Lootie a slice. He ate it with butter and jam. Drove the kids to school, came home, sliced off a hunk for myself, fried up some eggs and prepared to feast. Not bad. Better, had it been cooked up in the oven I’m betting (and that’s what I’ll try next). But for the little effort it took, hey, I’m OK with that. The recipe I used is called “Best Bread Machine Bread” on Try it and see what you think. If you want. The fun part about it is that it defies everything you’ve had beaten into your head regarding making bread in the machine: LIQUID, DRY, YEAST. LIQUID, DRY, YEAST, LIQUID, DRY, YEAST!!! This recipe has you put the liquid, yeast and sugar in first, let it sit 10 minutes, and then add the flour and yeast. Worked fine, my kitchen is still intact. Bread was decent, but my final decision on the recipe won’t come until I make bake it in the oven.

My breakfast, with the bread, toasted.

Bowzer, hoping he’s included in this whole breakfast-eating fun. There’s no hiding his massive under bite and snaggle-tooth. I love him anyway.

Bread Maker Pizza Crust

#1 Happy Holidailies!

Once again, I’m blogging daily from December 6 to January 5. Live with it. They’re using a slightly different system this year and I hope I can get the hang of it before the end of the Holidailies run, but who is to say. I don’t think I like it already, but maybe it will grow on me.

OK so pizza crusts in the bread maker– or rather, momma hasn’t done much of meal-planning since Thanksgiving and she’s flying by the seat of her pants. That’s probably more appropriate.

Wednesday I made a quick run to Costco while Sal was at goalie practice, and I worked hard not to buy for the sake of buying, but to be thoughtful in what I needed. Of coarse, that means I needed to recall just what it was I needed. Need, need, need. Noodle bowls. Ham. Shredded cheddar cheese… gum, sour cream, Sobe. I didn’t so much need the peeled baby carrots, come to find. But I picked up a HUGE bag anyway (sigh). I’ve been spreadsheeting it out to see what really IS a deal and what IS NOT a deal at Costco. So far it looks like I’m getting decent deals. Just don’t buy the vinegar there. Not a deal.

As I was walking the isles, I decided that I would be making pizzas. The huge bag of shredded mozzarella was calling me to make some pizzas and possibly a casserole. In the cart it went (I did end up making crockpot lasagna and I WILL post the recipe this week).

Back to the pizzas. Now that wrestling season has started (and winter soccer trainings, indoor soccer leagues), life has swung back into crazy gear again. The plus is that Frank coaches and all 3 younger boys are in wrestling at the same time. The not-so-plus is that Dante is just finishing up wrestling (for high-school, they use the same mats as the youth wrestlers), and needs to come home just as Frank is arriving with the boys for their mat time. That means I have to go pick up Dante. Before the youth wrestling started, I’d have dinner ready to go when Dante got home (ravished), and we’d all sit down to eat. Now that we’re on different schedules, it isn’t so easy. It’s only 2 days a week, though, that that happens, so I can’t complain.

Basically what I’m saying is, even though all the boys are occupied, it isn’t a real down-and-dirty “work time” for me because I’m running around in between cooking dinner. Last week on one of those days, I thought I’d be all Ms. Smarty Prepared and start a pizza crust in the breadmaker before I left, come home and start up some pizzas. That would have all been find and dandy had I not set the bread to “Quick Bake” instead of the “Dough” setting.

I didn’t actually realize that was the problem, not right away. I thought that maybe there was simply something wrong with my bread maker. I mean, it is a little bit on the older side. But I had made calzone dough in it not too long ago, so I couldn’t figure what went wrong and why my bread maker was so warm. The kids munched on the “bread” and said it was good (they were just hungry). I turned into Maniac Mom, panicking, stressing, hyper-cooking. Refusing to change directions. We were having pizza if it killed me. And it nearly did.

I worked on mixing up a dough that didn’t need to rise or be beaten, thinking that at least they could start on that, and if nothing else worked, their bellies would be satisfied. But, in tandem, I also put another batch of dough in the machine. Well, that’s not true. I intended to put a batch in, while the kids hovered, squawked and asked questions that my brain had to work to answer. Everyone asking me questions and getting in my way makes my head start to sputter and blow smoke. The distractions caused me to add the ingredients to the machine in a fashion that would have rendered yeast-less dough. I had to toss that batch.

Next attempt went fine, although I realized I screwed up the other no rise/beat dough, adding double the yeast. At this point I was about ready to glug down some spiked eggnog and go lay in a snowbank somewhere. Forget dinner.

The first pizza to arrive on the table was the no-knead. Pepperoni and banana peppers. No picture.

Second pizza was another no-knead (still waiting on the bread machine to finish its job). Italian sausage and banana peppers.

Third pizza was with the “regular” knead-and-rise dough, though I didn’t quite let it rise all the way because we were hungry and I was sick of playing pizza-maker. I used half the dough on 1 pizza and the rest I put in the fridge.

They were all OK, but I prefer the knead-and-rise dough. Frank liked the sausage and pepper one, but got horrid heartburn from it. Sal liked everything. They must have all liked the pizzas enough because what they didn’t eat for dinner, they ate the next day. Every time I make homemade pizzas I wonder why I don’t do it more often. Story of my life.

I made a breakfast pizza with the remaining dough. It was also a hit.

Again, Bowzer wondered when he would get his.

Don’t judge us because we don’t take our dog to the groomers. All the boys have long hair at some point.

Light Switch Cover Decorating

This is an older post, but as I was coming up the stairs today, admiring my lightswitch plate, I was quite pleased, thinking that I should make some more of them. They have lasted years and look as good as when I first made them. Still can’t believe it. This project is a totally cheap and easy way to spruce up something in a room  for pennies.

Light Switch Decoration

After re-painting the livingroom and entryway, I decided to change the light switches and electrical covers. After looking around at Home Depot, Menards and the like, I figured it was going to be more money than I wanted to spend to get all new ones with the colors I wanted. So I decided to revamp the prominent ones by using supplies I had on hand . The one new thing I did get was the scrapbook paper, the rest I had on hand (and you should, too). My pictures didn’t turn out so hot, but you get the gist.

scrapbook paper (or paper of your choice)
glue (I used craft glue)
razor blade cutter (man I can’t think of the name right now – exacto knife, maybe?)

I took the scrapbook paper and made an outline of the lightswitch cover.


step2.jpg step2z.jpg

Then I took the glue, mixed it with water (about a 1:3 ratio, glue:water). With a paintbrush and some fingers I smeared glue on the back of the paper, placed that over the lightswitch cover and smeared generous portions of the glue/water soluntion on that as well. I let that dry a bit, then repeated that 2 more times.


After that dried I put a clear protective spray over it that I had on hand (2 coats). I don’t know if it was necessary, but since I had it If figured I might as well use it for extra protection. I also did a little trimming of excess paper at some point during the process.



They look pretty good, but I can see things I may have done different, like trimmed a little more or maybe even did a couple more coats of the glue water to make it even more durable. But oh well.

Preparing Pumpkin Puree With A Crockpot

In making my Pumpkin Dump Cakes, I found myself continually amazed a the price of canned pumpkin. Nearly a dollar and a half for a small can seemed steep to me. Now that Thanksgiving is a little closer, I’ve found them for about .99/can, but, being the happy homemaker that I am, I decided to go through the process of preparing and freezing fresh pumpkin myself. I don’t even really know why I felt it necessary to go through, but I am a curious woman.

I wish I could remember how much my pie pumpkins were. I think they were about .99/each, but I really can’t honestly say. I’ll have to check the prices next time I’m at the store. My real experiment in this case was only partial cost-curiosity.

I decided that I would prepare my pumpkins in the crockpot rather than the oven. I got out my big crock to do this and quickly realized that they weren’t going to fit. I took the pumpkins out and left them on the counter. Days later I had a brilliant idea: do them one by one in the smaller crockpot. Aha! Momma didn’t raise no fool.

Since I have a habit lately of throwing things in the crockpot before bedtime, (beans mostly, to freeze and use) last night with nothing to throw in I looked at my two pumpkins. Plop! In went one.

I set it on its side, poured in about 1 cup of water and put the pot on low, brushed off my hands and walked away.

Prewashed, fear not.

(Notice crazy hair reflected in the lid?)

The next morning I have to say the pumpkin smelled pretty darn good. It was a nice aroma to wake to. Since it had been about 8 hours, maybe 9, I wondered if the pumpkin was ready. The outside didn’t get soft like I thought I would. A fork test didn’t work. A quick jab with a butcher knife didn’t work. A more forceful stab with the knife and I was in like slim.

I didn’t save the seeds for this one. I probably should have, but I was lazy and not really “feeling” the whole pumpkin seed thing. If I really wanted to get my bang for my buck I would have, though.

I took a stickblender to it after gutting it out to puree it, and then put it in the fridge.

I’ve read you’re supposed to let it sit overnight to drain any liquid, and then you can freeze it. In eyeballing I’d guess there’s about as much puree in one pumpkin as there is in the can (or maybe 1.5 cans worth), but I haven’t confirmed that yet. Going to weigh it tomorrow and see if it comes out to 15oz. I suppose I’ll have to make some pumpkin bread with it, too, just to try it out yanno.

Update: Pumpkin #1 was about 15oz. right on the nose. So 1 pumpkin = 1 can of pumpkin

If I were making multiple pumpkins, it would have been better to just stoke up the oven, but this was an easy fix-and-forget method that I would definitely use again.

Homemade Laundry Detergent Challenge

I realize I have an obsession with laundry and laundry detergent. I’ve swung through so many phases of brand name, generic, homemade, eco-friendly… it is shameful. I don’t even want to dig up the archives that reference it. At this time I have a jug of Tide, Gain, Charlie’s Soap, Downy dryer sheets, Gain liquid softener, Ecos… So we will move forward (after one quick digression). The only recipe I could dig up from my archives was this:

Marthat’s Homemade Detergent
Here’s another laundry detergent recipe, sent in by Martha. I haven’t made it yet, but she tells me it’s easier than mine:
1 quart water (4 cups)
1/6 bar fels naptha or other soap grated as fine as possible (now I soak the cube for a week or two in a cup of water).
¼ washing soda
¼ borax
½ quart hot water
cold water
Mix Fels Naptha soap in a saucepan with 3 pints of water, and heat on low until dissolved. (now I nuke it for 5-6 minutes in the microwave). Stir in Washing Soda and Borax (pop back in the microwave for a minute or two– but watch it as it does bubble up. I really don’t think this part is necessary if it is stirred real well.). Stir until thickened, and remove from heat. Add 1 Quart Hot Water to 1 Gallon Bucket. Add soap mixture, and mix well. Fill bucket with hot water, and mix well. Use 1/2 cup of mixture per load.

I don’t know if it was “Marthat” or “Martha” but the recipe is what it is. At that time, I remember using a liquid version of homemade detergent. Since I’m not still using it, I’d have to say that I wasn’t head over heels in love with it. I still have the bucket that I kept that homemade glop in, though.

At any rate, I wanted to do a powder this time. Less hassle, easier to make and store. The internet has a gazillion recipes, and most of them are the same (Fels Naptha, Borax, Washing Soda). Same ingrediants, different ratios. I went with this one:

Homemade Laundry Powder
4c Fels Naptha (almost an entire bar of it, grated, you can use Kirk’s or Zote’s, too)
2c Borax
2c Washing Soda

Mix, store, use.

Simple to remember. I have a hunk of the bar leftover, though, so it isn’t the best ratio for complete usage. But I can store it and grate it for next time. I also didn’t use any scent in mine because, from my experience, the scent doesn’t stay anyway. So what’s the point in wasting it?

I had help in the grating. No, he’s not naked. He’s still in his shower towel, though. He insisted on helping to grate the soap, and stuck with it until the bitter end, something I am entirely grateful (get it – grateful?) for. When it came time to mix the two powders I had two “helpers” who wanted to get their hands in there. Lootie’s always one who likes to feel, and learns by touching. I am still amazed that he hasn’t had his hand completely burned off from Don’t touch the burners (touch). He’s just one of those kids.

grating away mixed and ready to use

I kept it in one of those plastic shoe boxes. You can see my scooper. You may also notice my empty wine glass in the background of these pictures…

The hard part of the whole laundry thing is figuring out how much to put in each load. With this ratio, I’ve read anywhere from 2 Tablespoons to 1/4 cup. I’m still experimenting and will let you know how it works out for me. There’s a great post here from Frugal Upstate that breaks down the costs per load on homemade (using same formulation above) vs. Tide.

So here’s my challenge: I’m going to use my own homemade laundry detergent powder for two weeks (exclusively).

For what it is worth, I have an HE washer, top-loading (NEVER get a top-loader, I really don’t think it cleans that well), soft water.

I know it won’t be easy, at least not for me. I thoroughly enjoy my highly-scented detergents. I’m a scent driven person. If it weren’t laden with chemicals and didn’t skunk up my washer, dryer and clothes, I’d probably be one of those Tide/Downy people that you can smell across the room. In fact I have been, off and on. But the more I read about it, the less I like. And the more build-up I see on my washer and feel on my clothes, the more I steer away. But, I do fall off the wagon. My lust is severe. Hence the line-up of product I have sitting by my washer and dryer.

My routine for the next couple weeks will be my homemade detergent to wash the clothes, and vinegar to soften (I add this to the softener dispenser – this has been my main source of “softener” for quite some time when I’m not gucking it up with commercial softener, though sometimes I mix the two – don’t ask), bleach occasionally. We’ll see how it goes. Today was Day 1. I’ve got 13 more to go.

Day 1 observations: First observation is that it is really Day 2, since I threw a load in last night. But I need to stop. This isn’t all that technical. I’ve done a couple loads of darks, 1 white, 1 blankets/jacket. All have been fine as far as I’m concerned. Not much unlike Charlie’s Soap, really. I dug my nose in a few different items and they all smelled clean. I even plunged it in some pits. Take one for the team, I do. One bra still smelled faintly of Tide. None smelled like the bar of Fels-Naptha. None smelled like vinegar or the essential oils I put in my vinegar hoping they will smell of the oils. This is not new to me, but I’m letting you know about it. Why I keep wasting my EOs? Slow learner. My whites looks as dingy as they always have. I blame my washer for that. My 2nd load of darks that I removed from the dryer today were laden with static. Not sure why. Stay tuned.

Cheap and Easy Decorating – Lightswitch Covers


(Repost from 2006)

After re-painting the livingroom and entryway, I decided it might be good to also change the light switches and electrical covers. After looking around at Home Depot, Menards and the like, I quickly realized that to replace all of the covers, I would have to spend more money than I had budgeted. So I decided to revamp the prominent light-switches using supplies I already had on hand. The only new supply I picked up was the scrapbook paper. My pictures didn’t turn out so hot, but you get the gist.

scrapbook paper in patter or color to match the room
glue (I used craft glue)
razor blade cutter (man I can’t think of the name right now – exacto knife, maybe?)

I took the scrapbook paper and made an outline of the lightswitch cover, cutting out the holes for the switches to fit through. I did not make holes for the screws; it wasn’t necessary.


step2.jpg step2z.jpg

Then I took the glue, mixed it with water (about a 1:3 ratio, glue:water). With a paintbrush and sometimes with my fingertips, I smeared glue on the back of the paper. Then, I placed the paper over the light-switch cover and smeared generous portions of the glue/water solution on the front. I let that dry a bit (10 minutes, maybe), then repeated with 2 more coats.


After that dried I put a clear protective spray over it that I had on hand (2 coats). I don’t know if it was necessary, but since I had it If figured I might as well use it for extra protection. I also did a little trimming of excess paper at some point during the process.



They look pretty good, but I can see things I may have done different, like trimmed a little more or maybe even did a couple more coats of the glue water to make it even more durable. But oh well.

UPDATE: Three years later these have held up beautifully.

Weekend Wrap-Up (Pancakes)

It is still, technically Monday. Not too late for a weekend wrap-up.

We did a lot this weekend. Friday night we went out with my brother, Frank’s cousin and a couple friends. It was a long night, but a nice time. We covered lots of ground, had plenty of fun, and finished the night off at a favorite Mexican restaurant with a delicious platter of shared food.

Saturday I woke up and made pancakes. Mmm. Later, we bummed around and then stopped at an anniversary celebration (parents of a boy on Dante’s soccer team). Got to catch up a bit with folks we don’t always see. Then it was home to watch some television with the family.

The next day we went to an impromptu soccer tournament, local festival where we played BINGO and the kids played some cheap games to win cheap toys. Oh, and I made waffles Sunday morning (they didn’t turn out so well).

Nice weekend. But back to the pancake-making. My mom’s been making buttermilk pancakes for the boys for lunch the past few weeks on occasion. She’d watch them (actually, she’d entertain them) for a few hours while I went in to work, and they would delight in some of her “famous,”  “best-ever” pancakes. I’ve been requested to make them at home, but keep forgetting to get the recipe. So I had to improvise. A try at it last week left me with some not-so-good ‘cakes. But this recipe for Buttermilk Pancakes was a keeper (not only is it a keeper, but it introduced me to Google’s Knol, which is pretty darn cool).

My favorite eggs.

What happens when you get too cocky…

What happens when you pay attention… (this is Lootie’s batch, he has a syrup-love)

For Franny and Dante, who love chocolate chips.

It was a yummy recipe, with great instructions (read the instructions, if you like making pancakes… I like his way of mixing in 1/2 of the dry to wet, and then mixing in the rest of the dry). I tried using it for waffles and it was a bummer; didn’t work. But that’s OK. It makes delicious pancakes. Will have to make a point of getting my mother’s Famous, Best-Ever Buttermilk Pancakes recipe to compare.


GIVEAWAY – Good-As-Money

I have 2 coupons to give away, courtesy of Eggland’s Best Eggs (they sent me some for me and some to share).

(1) for a  Free carton of Eggland’s Best Eggs
(2)  50¢ off coupons for Eggland’s Best Eggs

Simply leave a comment here telling me what you’d use the eggs in and I’ll pick a random winner on Friday. Make sure you use an email address I can contact you with. 🙂 Yup, that’s it. You don’t have to follow me, you don’t have to blog about it. Just leave a comment so I have a way to contact you.