Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Custom Curtains for My Boys

My boys share a room and one of the beds, unfortunately, has to be up against a window.  We've tried every which way to arrange the beds and nothing works that doesn't involved someone next to the window.  We've even bunked them and with a 4 yr. old and 7 yr. old........that's a bad idea, ya know?  So, long story short, the oldest one is next to the window and he has this funny thing he likes to do.....he likes to lay in bed and look out the window.  I know, crazy!  Until now, I've had basic shades up in the room.  Only....it's my boys.....so I buy the cheap ones.  Once upon a time, I had the pricey ones, and they met with the same fate as the cheap ones, so why spend a ton for the same outcome, right?  They get shredded...........not just shredded, but SHREDDDDDDED.  Every time he pulls aside the blind it bends and eventually creates little cracks along the plastic and rips.......then.......oooooo...you can pull on the pieces and the rips run all the way up the blind......fascinating! (to a boy, yes).  He doesn't dare pull on the blinds to open them correctly because of the inevitable jack-in-the-box-like reaction when the spring catches......and it's terrifying.....so we don't do that.  
I've replaced those darn things so many times!  This last go around, I was done.  D-O-N-E.  There has to be something better.  I didn't really want to do blinds in the room because........well, you should see the blinds in my family room near where the boys' toys are.........nope.  Next idea, please.  So, I started thinking........a vertical blind convenience (for easy outside viewing) with a shade function (black out) and bedroom curtain feel........hmmm........my solution was narrow lines curtain panels that overlap.  I looked around to see what others had done and couldn't find anything, so, I will claim these as my own creation (amazing!) since if had to do the math and such myself.

Brief 'how to':

 I purchased twin size flat sheets at Walmart. (Hind sight, buy the full size) $5 each.  You can't buy that much fabric for even close to that.  The boys each got to pick out a color and I bought white.  Then I cut everything into 10" strips.  Backed all of the colored panels with the white, added tabs to the top, and then hung them up.  Sounds easy, but this took me most of the day and I had to go back to Walmart for more fabric.  The windows could probably use an additional panel or 2 but if was freaking tired.  I have plenty of fabric leftover, though, so maybe I'll get to it eventually.  For the 36" windows, if used 7 panels on each.  

The first two pics were during the day.  Not totally blacked-out, but a nice soft light that doesn't hinder nap time.  The third is a nighttime pic of the other window.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Garden Update

So, it's been 20 days since I planted seeds......not sure if it's the overwhelming rain we've been getting or what........but things progressing every so slowly this year.  We finally have tiny plants....most of which I can identify, some I can't, but I know what I planted there and they don't look like weeds..so we'll go with 'plant that I planted on purpose'.


/\  Beans!  \/

 \/ Cucumbers /\

Pumpkins /\

I think this is a Pea /\

\/  Zucchini or Squash, I forgot which hill I put which in /\

No idea....

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Garden 2014: Cucumber Management????

It has finally begun!!  The great garden of 2014 is officially on its way to greatness!  The dirt/manure was delivered, spread, and seeds dropped in holes.  This mama is tired.  Now I have a decision to make about the beans and cucumbers.  How do you grow yours?  In the past, i erected tee-pees over the beans because i saw it done that way at a natural garden in Richmond and thought it was a great re-use of old sticks in the yard.  Turns out, though, I didn't buying climbing beans that year.  So, i had these super cool tee-pees surrounded by 10-inch high bean plants.  Dud.  Also, my dead sticks from the yard took root and started growing leaves.  Kind of odd.  I didn't do beans last year.  Then there are the cucumbers.  I always have luck with cucumbers.  I've told people that it's the one plant you can really screw up.  They just grow.  You can't stop them.  You can only try to manage them.  In the past I've used twine run from the otter edge of my boxes to the fence behind, but they weren't strong enough. I've tried PVC pipe boxes with that green rubber-y twine wrapped around like a ladder.......that was just crazy.  The last two years, I've used two large pieces of lattice in an A-frame formation.  This works pretty well, except when the plants go crazy and it's hard to get to the ones in the middle of the back or you have those 'silly' cucumbers that grow in the middle of the holes.  So, the seeds are in the ground, but I know I don't have much time to decide on a method of 'cuc' management.  Any suggestions?  I'm hitting pinterest of course, but I could use some tried-and-true stories!!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Apologies and Spaghetti

So, dear reader, I failed.  Failed to meet the challenge of sharing words with you and for you for an entire month (minus Sundays).  I nearly made it, but alas, life happened, and I was presented with the choices of blogging or sleeping and having survived some kind of killer virus for nearly a month.....sleep won.  I hope you can forgive me.

So, tonight I felt a little adventurous with dinner.  Wait...let me start again.  I will start by stating that I, unlike many I know, have no business being in a kitchen.  This is not just a clever line, but a true statement.  "I don't cook.  I put someone through culinary school."  Really and truly.  A 2007 grad from the Stratford University Culinary School.

That aside, I realize that one can not be a true Pinterestee by dreaming of home projects and melting crayons alone.  You must branch out and try things.  I will also admit that I have been recently inspired by 3 of our nieces to prove that anyone can cook!

Better yet, try not following a recipe.......try mixing two recipes and hoping for the best!  Yup!

A little while ago my cousin posted a picture of her successful attempt at a spaghetti bread bake.  I'd seen that before and thought, "hey, i remember that!"  I tucked it away for 'someday soon'.  I also had a craving, though, for some chicken Parmesan.  So.........mix them.  I do have to say I felt better about adding a protein to the pasta.  My mom would be proud if she hadn't sworn off pasta years and years ago.

Anyway, moving on.  So, I'm crap at writing a recipe, so I'll just give it to you in pictures.  If you want to make it yourself, try pinterest if you don't know how to make chicken Parmesan.

biscuits.....because I'm a big fan of the Sandra Lee way of doing things...I just took the biscuits and mushed them together and then rolled them out.

 Rolled out and the sides cut like a comb.

gather items to make fried chicken.

 I decided to spare you the pic of boiling pasta.  But i did take a picture of my jar of sauce.  i don't know.
Make chicken and then place the sauced-up pasta a chicken in the dough cradle. Then chunk up some cheese and add some more sauce.

Then you go from one side to the other layering the strips.  this looks like it might be complicated, but it's not.  You don't weave anything, just lay it over and make it look like that.

Brush with melted butter and add some garlic and cheese on top.  Bake for 30-40 min at 350.