Going Turbo…




I am going Turbo…well kind of. I am now co-blogging at The Inspiration Vault! It’s a new site that will vault all craft, party and Scout ideas and things to inspire others to make, build, or change. If you love the tutorials on Party in the Midwest and want more visit my new site – www.theinspirationvault.com

Dining Room Makeover


When we bought our house there were two things I knew had to be fixed: the 1970 kitchen cabinets and the wood paneling dining room. The kitchen is going to have to wait because of the cost involved but we … Continue reading

Dream Craft Room


We are getting very close to closing on our first house!! We should get the keys August 11th! We are so excited. The three of us sit around and talk about all the things we want to do to the house and in the house.

Drew cannot wait to have a playroom. He talks about which toys he is going to keep in his room and which will go in HIS playroom. He also talks nonstop about how we will get a dog. (This was a promise I made him years ago with him. We’ve lived in apartments since he was born, so there was no room or money for a dog. I told him about 4 years ago, that when we bought a house, he could get a dog.) Brad keeps talking about how the garage will be and what new tools he thinks he needs. He wants to rip the carpet off the stairs and make them hardwood. He is so excited to have a small putting green in the back yard. (This actually came with the house!) I on the other hand, cannot wait to have my very own Craft room. Now grant it, it will also be half office, but I don’t care. I have always wanted a room that if I start a project I can leave it without worrying about where we are gonna eat at or who might step on it.

This is the picture of the room we are planning on converting into the Craft/Office space:

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(This picture is from the house listing and contains nothing that I own)

It is a smaller space, only about 11′ X 10′. With having to put a PC desk and a craft table in the room it’s going to be a little tight. I am strongly considering taking out the closet doors and putting the craft table in the nook. With so much craft stuff, I have spent many hours scouring Pinterest for ideas to best utilize my small space. (I of course created a Pin Board dedicated to just my craft room – Perfect Craft Room.)

 

Here are some of the ideas that I have found that I like and will plan on doing some form of in my new house.

 

Idea 1 – Because the room is so small and we will be using as an office as well, I have been thinking strongly about removing the closet doors. Below is a before and after from DIY N Crafts.

Redo Your Craft Closet with This Easy DIY Project

I love the peg board wall and the easy to access baskets under the bench.

 

Idea 2 – Staying with the pegboard thought. Here are some ways to secure items to the board.

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Family Handyman has quite a few good ideas for pegboards and storage.

Short PVC pieces keep things organized

Idea 3 – STORAGE BINS! I love storage bins. Right now all of my craft “junk,” as my husband so lovingly calls it, is in two tall drawer bins stacked on top of each other. Probably not the safest thing, but right now we make do. I would like to get more to better organize all that I have. A separate set of drawers for polymer clay; paints; pen; pencils; glue; etc…

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I’m sure I will find more inspiration before we move into our new house in exactly ONE MONTH!!! Once we get things going I will do my best to take pictures of all the ideas that came to fruition.

STAY TUNED!

My Awful Time Making Nutella


I have been thinking about making homemade Nutella for awhile. I have pinned numerous recipes on my Pinterest boards. This week, after literally months of talking about it, I finally decided to give it a go. I found a recipe in my DIY Cookbook. It seemed simple enough and and figured I could make it in about an hour.

I went to Wal-Mart to get what was needed – coconut oil, unsweetened chocolate powder, hazelnuts, vanilla and powdered sugar. I have never bought coconut oil, so I knew that for just 2 tablespoons it would be a waste of money. According to the recipe, I could also use Canola Oil. This I knew would be a better purchase for my pantry.

Let me tell you, the Wal-Mart I went to only had chopped Hazelnuts. Since it called for whole hazelnuts, I called Meijer and Kroger, neither carried any type of hazelnuts. I got on my phone and Googled, “Where to buy whole Hazelnuts at a grocery store.” Turns out they are hard to find, but health food stores tend to carry them. Good news, the one near my house did!! I asked the lady on the phone the price and I about died! $8 per pound!!!! Hmm, nope! I will buy the chopped ones here at Wal-Mart.

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After my shopping was done, I read over the entire recipe one more time before starting. Boy am I glad I did! I realized my little pulsing food processor was not big enough to handle this job. Thankfully my friend Marie had a nice, big Kitchen Aid food processor and she was nice enough to let me borrow it.

*Oh I was so excited to get to try this out! I love the Kitchen Aid Mixers. (You know, the big $200+ ones.) I don’t own either, but I know people that do.

OK, so now it was time to really start! I put the chopped nuts into the oven, per directions and set timer to rotate half way through. When my timer went off and I looked at the nuts they were on the verge of being burnt! I didn’t even think about the fact that the chopped nuts would take even less than half the required time as the whole nuts. They didn’t seem to awfully burnt so I went with them.

The next step was to shake nuts in a bowl with a bowl on top. This was to loosen the skins and they were to stick on the bowls. This did not work because I used the chopped nuts!! At this point, I am losing my determination.

Now it was time to learn how to use the Kitchen Aid food processor, so I can turn the nuts to a paste like cream. Marie had warned me that it had specific blades and pieces for certain jobs. I read the booklet and figured out which blade I needed and which bowl. After putting it together, it wouldn’t start. Hmmmmm. Duh! It needs to be plugged up! (Have I mentioned that I am Blonde?) But even after plugging it up it wouldn’t start. Marie did mention that if something wasn’t put together right it wouldn’t start. So, let me make a hour long frustration, short and not so sweet – I HATE the Kitchen Aid food processor!! My husband even tried to help me figure the stupid thing out!
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Even after I got it running, when I stopped it to scrap the sides, it wouldn’t start back up! I would have to twist and push to get the lid and bowl “just right” before it would start!

After my hour of dealing with getting the nuts chopped and blended, it was time for the other ingredients. My son was so excited about this because not only did he get to help measure out the stuff, but he really wanted to eat the “chocolate!”

Oh boy!! I knew that this was one of those moments every parent waits for. That moment when you can trick your kids into eating somethig they want, only knowing that its not what they think. My dad did it to me at his age an now it was my turn. (My dad used homemade icing, minus the powdered sugar. He handed me and my little sister beaters, unbeknown to us that it was just Crisco and butter!) I gave Drew a small amount, enough to cover his tongue. He went from pure joy to disgust in about 2 seconds! He then began to use his fingers and scrap at his tongue. The whole time I was dying laughing.

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Don’t worry, I did not let him suffer. I gave him a glass of milk to swish around. He thought this was so funny because he made chocolate milk in his mouth.

Now that everything was mixed, it was time to taste the fruits of my labor. The harvest was not rewarding! My homemade Nutella was disgusting!!! No one liked it. It smelt super burnt and was still gritty. All that effort was all for nothing. I ended up throwing the whole batch in the trash.

I do not handle failure well, so I spent the next hour on Pinterest looking up other Nutella recipes. After contemplating another go at it at Midnight, I decided that my next DIY will be Funnel Cakes!! Stay tuned…hopefully I don’t mess that one up too!

Homemade Pizza Lunchables


So this next idea I cannot by no means take credit for. I found this idea on one of my Pinterest marathons, it comes from Mommy’s Kitchen blog. She had this great idea for saving money by making her own lunchables.

After a year and a half of having a child in school and now trying to save for a house and possible #2, I have decided to give it a try.

So here is what I used –

Pizza Dough (Jiffy)
Pizza Sauce (Great Value)
Pepperonis (Hormel)
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (Great Value)
Wax Paper (Reynolds) or Parchment paper
Sandwich Bags (Great Value)
Gallon Freezer Bags (Ziploc)
Olive Oil Spray (Great Value)

So to start I followed the directions on the Jiffy box to prepare my pizza. That is until I got to the part about how to put the pizza on the pan and how long to cook it. Since I wanted to make smaller pizzas I took pieces of the dough and made small balls.

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After pinching off the dough and making it into a ball, I flatted it out (using help for gravity) into a disk. I tried not to make any holes but some did happen. To remove the holes I placed the flatten dough onto the pan and used my fingers to smoosh the dough to fill the hole. I was able to get quite few pizzas on my pan. (I made two pan fulls worth one box)

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I only baked my pizzas for about 5 minutes at 425°. I removed the crusts once they were starting to turn brown on the bottom but still had some fluffiness to them on top.

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I let them cool completely before i bagged them to be frozen. After they cooled I stacked them three high between wax paper.

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Then, using my Mom’s suggestion I took each set of three and placed them in the sandwich bags. (This will hopefully make mornings easier so I don’t have to count the crusts, I can just remove a small bag from the freezer bag.) I then took all my sandwich bags and put them into a gallon freezer bag, removing as much air as possible before sealing it up.

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The next day Hulk took his lunch to school I took out the crust and put them into the new container I bought that has a squeeze container for the sauce and compartments for the cheese/pepperonis and the crusts.

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All in all, I know this saved me money. I didn’t do the true math on this like Mommy’s Kitchen did but here is my quick guestimation on the breakdown:
Jiffy- $0.64
Pizza sauce – $1.00
Pepperonis(1lb) – $7.58
Mozz Cheese (2 cups) – $2.50

At my local Wal-mart 1 pizza lunchable is $1.58. I made 12 pizza crust with 1 oz of Jiffy. I call that a win!