May 28, 2013

Amy's Banana Bread.

this is my sister's banana bread recipe and one of the only recipes i use.  its easy and always yummy.  {my tip} use whole wheat flour instead of regular 
or add some chocolate chips for an extra treat!

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 mashed overripe bananas {i actually usually use about 5 bananas!}

preheat oven to 350.  grease a loaf pan.  in large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt.  in another bowl, cream butter and brown sugar.  stir in the beaten eggs and mashed bananas.  mix with flour combo until well moistened.  pour batter into pan.  bake for 50-60 minutes.  cool 10 minutes, remove from pan and enjoy.  

May 23, 2013

washing my windows with Norwex.

a year ago i got my first Norwex cloths.  i had heard lots about them prior to owning them and now as a Norwex user, i am obsessed!  they do a great job cleaning and minimizing the amount of paper towels i use.  you can clean with only water - eliminating the need to purchase antibac sprays from the store.  i use mostly all natural cleaners {lots of vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice}, but i appreciate that these cloths really do the work {and kill the germs!} with only water.

{my Norwex collection: two Enviro cloths, a Polish cloth, and a dusting mitt}

one of the tasks i hate the most is washing windows.  seriously - i am NOT good at washing windows. we've been homeowners for about 9 years {three houses} but i've never found a great way to wash my windows.  i always felt like it took so much time and so much work, leaving me with a mediocre result.  
enter Norwex.

at the Norwex party i went to, people raved about using their Norwex products for washing windows.  i didn't try it until this spring.  in fact, i just finished washing all 25 windows in our house with the Enviro and Polish cloths.  it was an amazing experience with stellar results!  i washed the windows in a few sessions - half hour here, half hour there.  i think my total time spent washing 25 windows was probably 1.5 hours.  inside and out.  with only water.  it was awesome.
and my windows are so so so clean.  no streaks, no residue.

{step 1}
wet your Enviro cloth with water and wring it out.  then wipe down your surface.  wipe away whatever needs to be scrubbed off your window.

{step 2}
use your Polish cloth to go over and dry your surface.  the Polish cloth wipes through any grime on your windows - its really amazing!  all the water spots and scum come off with ease in this step.

we have double hung windows throughout our house {only a couple years old, thanks to the previous owner of this home!} so i was able to do inside and outside of each window all at once.  each window probably only took 5 minutes or less.  when my cloths seemed to be dirty, after a few windows, i washed them in a delicates bag in my washer.  it took a couple washes, so that is why my window washing was in a few sessions.
{wet Enviro cloth}

{Polish cloth}...repeat.

{step 3}
step back and admire your new sparkling, shiny, steak free, clean windows!

i also use Norwex to clean my kitchen counters and bathroom counters and mirrors.  they are my go-to cleaning cloth.  wash once weekly in a delicates bag with your regular wash.

May 22, 2013

{un}crafty - coffee filter flowers.

we got to host our moms here for mother's day! {read more about it on our family blog here}  
it was a great day to spoil them with a lovely lunch after a pretty amazing church service.  i feel like now that my "baby" is 14 months old, i am finally getting my wits about me again - it was fun to plan and craft!  i tried to make the day special for our moms, so i started planning {and crafting} early.  i wanted to help the kids make something for their nana & baggie, so we went with the flower theme and made some super easy coffee filter flowers and painted glass vases for them to take home with them on mother's day.

{our flower themed mother's day lunch}

supplies you need:

coffee filters


spray bottle with water

straws {or pipe cleaners}
empty and cleaned glass jar

craft paint

 i'm certain we have all seen the method of pour paint into a clean glass jar and swirling it around inside until it is covered...that's what i did here.  i just used some paint left over from other projects.

 then i used some metallic pearl white and gold paint on the end of a pencil eraser to make some random dots around the outside of the jar.  it was easy.  i did the jars while the kids were coloring their coffee filters.  {but kids could totally do the paint in a jar thing - easy and fun!}

just scribble around on the coffee filter until its pretty much covered.  it doesn't have to be all colored in {although my very thorough 5 year old made sure to cover every inch} because when you spray with water, the colors with bleed.

once the coffee filters are colored in, spray with water and let them sit to dry {i set our on paper towels in the kitchen while the dried}.  then to add stems, fold your filter in quarters and either glue the tip into a straw {striped paper straws would be so cute!} or wrap with a pipe cleaner.

 this is such a quick and easy project! {and no mess!}  the flowers are so fun because each is so unique.  i think this would make a cute teacher gift too {maybe add a little gift card to their favorite lunch or coffee spot}.

happy {un}crafting!

April 25, 2013

diy board and batten.

we moved into this house knowing it would need a lot of love from us to make it a place that felt like "us".  after removing carpet from the front entry and adding more of the bamboo hardwood featured in the rest of the house {in place when we purchased - not what i would have chosen!}, the entry needed a little something else.  i had been watching board and batten pop up around blogs and magazines and love the look.  so i mustered up the courage to show my husband and ask him if he would be willing to tackle a board and batten treatment on one wall of our entry.  he loved it and we went to work planning it out right away!!


i don't have any great photos of it - these {in progress photos} are all iPhone pics, but it give you an idea.  the finished product photos were done at night, so they aren't great, either {such is life}.  we used these two  {really great} tutorials for guidance along the way:

here is our version.  it was a Memorial Day weekend project last year.  i left the house with the three littles so my husband could start and complete the project - all in two days!

here is what we started with.  before i left town, we ran painters tape along the wall where we wanted the ledge above the paneling to reach.

john sent photos all weekend to show me his progress.

we also fixed up the baseboard trim with shoe moulding along the bottom {something we will continue as we work on rooms around the house}.

primed & painted paneling.  primed and painted walls.

finished.  then we just added hooks from target {of all places!}

April 19, 2013

how i got the streaks out of my stainless appliances.

we moved into this house 18 months ago and it was not clean {not even close}.  so, being 4 months pregnant, i hired a woman to clean the house.  but, that didn't go so well.  even after her service at the house, it was not clean {not to my standards}.  so, i had to take matters into my own hands.

my stainless appliances had crazy streaks that i couldn't remove with microfiber cloths or stainless steel cleaner.  so, i searched for ways to remove streaks and found an easy solution that worked for me!


plain old olive oil and a paper towel!

first, i clean up the appliance {get rid of any spills or drips}, usually using my norwex cloth.

then i {and my little helper} drip some olive oil on a paper towel and rub it over the stainless, in the same direction as the grain of the stainless steel.  that's it!  sometimes there is a little lint from the paper towel or a little excess oil so i go over the appliance again with a dry towel.

my range had purple streaks going against the grain and i thought for sure there was no hope, that is was damaged and i wouldn't be able to fix it.  after about 3 applications of olive oil, it looks perfect {seriously}.  amazing!

April 18, 2013

{un}crafty - no sew fabric strip garland.

here we go: another super easy, no skill required, fun little craft for you!

i made this fabric garland to hang in our toy room 
{this is a live action shot from a sick day at our house - "Dolphin Tale" anyone?}

its fun, festive, and so easy to make.

supplies you need:

rotary cutter & cutting mat {or just a plain old scissors!}


fabric scraps {anything will do}


i had some cloth napkins in bright colors that were screaming for a re-purpose, so i finally decided to do this craft.  i followed some advice from Joy's Hope blog to get me started.

i started by ironing out the napkins.  then i used a rotary cutter and mat to measure and cut.  i measured 1x18 inch strips and cut accordingly.  it was a lot of cutting!  i think the strips could be longer if your fabric allows - my tassels ended up being pretty short once they were tied on.

i lined up all the fabric strips and got out my ribbon.  
i followed a pattern, but random would be really cute, too!

to tie the strips onto/around your ribbon, i followed the steps shown above.  
kind-of a loop, more than a traditional tie.

i just kept going until i had a length long enough for the wall i intended the garland to hang on.  i used command strips to hold the banner up and we like it!

i'm thinking of making another for my living room using an old tablecloth, some burlap, and ribbon...

happy {un}crafting!

April 17, 2013

easy pumpkin muffins.

i only do easy recipes.  here's one we always enjoy!

1 spice cake box mix
1 small can pumpkin
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 water
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

preheat over to 375.  mix ingredients together.  grease muffin pan and fill {i only fill each space with about 2 tablespoons of mix} and bake 25-30 min.  makes about 30 muffins {and lasts about a day at my house}.


April 16, 2013

{un}crafty - faux metal letters.

of course we have all seen anthropolgie's metal letters that are awesome.  but i was looking for a cheaper way to make metal letters in my boys' room.  i had previously covered letters in scrapbook paper for my oldest son's room in our other house.  but i wanted something more modern and more boyish for this room.  so, i set out to fine a way...

forgive me, but i found this idea somewhere online.  i have no idea where.  if you google "faux metal painted letters" you will find a million tutorials.

just a reminder: the crafts you find here don't require any artistic skill or crazy tools to complete.  just a little patience and some post-bedtime minutes {and a glass of wine...ok that's up to you}.

supplies you need:

paper mache/cardboard letters {joann's has sales or use a coupon}

black craft paint

silver craft paint

foam brush

 paint your letters black and let them dry.

then brush silver over the black running your foam brush in all directions.  you can't even mess it up, just brush like crazy with the silver paint until you have covered all the black.

this whole project took only a part of one evening for me.  i had 12 letters to paint and it was super quick.  one coat of black, then by the time i was done with all 12 letters, the first were ready for a crazy coat of silver.  i hung them up using 3M command velcro strips - easy!

your letters will look like galvanized steel.  voila.

happy {un}crafting!

April 15, 2013

the boys' room.

aka {the fraternity}.
aka {where the wild things are}.

i gave you a tour of the nursery, so here's a little look into the boys room.  i'm proud of the boys' room and its been a long work-in-progress.  i've been adding to the room for over a year and i still don't feel like its quiet to the finish line.  but sometimes tweaking over time is the best method for me...i have to try things out and then decide how to change them up.

of course there is a pennant on the door...obsessed, i tell you.

now, this room was inspired by a layout in the Land of Nod catalog.  in fact, we had some paint color matched to a Mythic paint sample we ordered from Land of Nod.  then i found sheets, comforters, throw blankets {at Target, of course!} to mimic some of the colors and layering from the catalog.

my super crafty mom made the chevron valances for us.  just like in eden's room.
my dad even got in on the project.  
parents rock.

this dresser is from the nursery at our old house and i finally changed out the knobs.  of course, now i wish i did different knobs, but these will do.  pretty sure the boys  inside the drawers are always a disaster.  truth.

the shelves hold some special things that don't have another home right now.  this whole wall is looks ok, but i'd like to add more interest...
the locker bins hold lots of junk!  usually if the boys have something that we don't want little sister to get or if they get a trinket somewhere, i tell them they can keep it in their bin.  then, periodically we have to go through the bin and decide what to keep and what to throw out.

i recently made this art out of paint chips.  i originally wanted photos in these frames, but i didn't have the right size on hand.  i decided something that i don't need to update or switch out would be good in these frames.  so...i cut up paint chips and pasted them onto cardstock and framed them.  easy. 

this is my favorite corner of the room.  we don't use the chair a lot and it takes up a lot of space, but there isn't another place in our house for it right now.  at bedtime if the boys ask us to sit in their room for a few minutes, or if we are telling a story, we will use the chair.  maybe it won't be in there forever.  the bookshelf was made by my grandpa and my dad and then assembled and stained by my dad.  its great!

more pennant, a world map, and their names.

my sneaky helper.

we really lucked out on these Room & Board bunks we found on craigslist!  the storage drawers underneath are a life saver and the quality is awesome.  the boys love them.  of course, bunk beds are not easy to make - the sheets and blankets are a pain.  {here's a realistic approach to making bunks} but we are easy going about that - making beds isn't a priority around here...yet.  also, i don't think bunk beds are a "forever" solution.  when the boys are big they are probably not going to want to be bunked.

the final little corner of the room.  their chalkboards/corkboards.

props to my husband who has to do lots of the dirty work when it comes to re-doing any room.  we did the majority of this makeover in a 48 hour period when i was 5 months pregnant.  enough said.  he did a lot.  the walls and ceiling of this old room were pretty damaged and by the time he was done with joint compound and a sander, they looked brand new.

i'm sure i'll be making small changes in this room...i'll keep you posted.