Thursday, May 24, 2012

Upcycle Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns

Photo courtesy of cooljuno411 via
We're in the thick of grilling season again.  This means we'll all have to figure out what to do with all those leftover hamburger and hot dog buns.  In a perfect world, the number of buns eaten would equal the number of hot dogs and hamburgers consumed.  Unfortunately, this is not heaven.

So, rather than tossing them (waste not, want not), let's turn them into CROUTONS!  Really, really yummy croutons that will store in our pantries for a long while.  And next time we have a craving for a yummy summer salad, homemade croutons are readily available.

Here's my method:

Cut the leftover buns into crouton-sized cubes.  For every 6 cups of bread cubes, toss in a plastic bag or large bowl with 4 Tablespoons melted salted butter and 1 clove minced garlic (if you want garlic croutons).  Arrange the seasoned cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until crispy and dry.

This works with day old bread or week old bread.  Just make sure it's not growing mold!  :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Girl and Her Shelf

This past December I started a DIY project while the kids were with my mom.  To my great surprise, I finished without any assistance from the hubby.  And I'm telling you, if I can do it, so can you!

It started with a desire for a place to display my girls' beloved trophies and to hang their bags.  I wasn't able to find anything store-bought that was big enough.

I stumbled upon this photo on Pinterest from the blog Our Vintage Home Love and it was my inspiration for the project:

The project began with a trip to Lowe's.  I purchased white paint, a small paint tray, painter's caulk, regular nails, finishing nails, (I'm still not sure what the difference is.) screws, and satin nickel hooks (I returned to the hooks to Lowe's after a trip to Hobby Lobby, but that's a story for later.):

I had the patient employees at Lowe's cut the wood and crown molding to size: (The employees were true gentlemen and really held my hand through the project.)

First, I painted the wood and the crown white:

Once I glued and nailed all the pieces together like the Lowe's employees showed me, then I brought it inside to dry: 

I attached these beautiful hooks from Hobby Lobby:

Because I didn't know of anyone experienced with a miter saw, I wasn't able to finish the edges with the crown the way I would have liked to.  I now know of someone that can do that.  I'll be asking him for a huge favor if I ever need to make something like this in the future. 

And here is the finished product (with not so great lighting):

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Foods that Fight Sickness

Photo of oats courtesy of Phil Dubois via
According to Women's Health Magazine, there are certain foods that can boost immunity.  Listed on this site are:

Chamomile Tea
Olive or Nut oils
Whey protein (found in yogurt)
Butterbur herbal supplement
Sports drink (most surprising to me)
Red wine (wish I liked it)
Chili peppers (the hotter the better)
Reduce food intake in general

To read more about the studies that led to this list, read the full article here.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Family Night

Photo courtesy of John-Morgan via
Several years ago, two sweet ladies drove from two states away to share tips and parenting ideas with a small group of young moms in a living room here.  One had been a mentor to a mentor of ours, and she really helped cast a vision for what godly motherhood looks like. Our families have greatly benefited from their sacrifices.

One of the ideas given was regarding a regular Family Night.  One woman said her family had pizza and a movie every Friday night, and that Friday nights were "sacred".  They never agreed to do things that would interrupt it, unless it was completely necessary.  The mentor-of-our-mentor mom shared that her family rotates ideas for Family Night, and that each time it had a different personality.

When I pitched the idea to my man, he loved it, and we've had a rotating Family Night, ever since.  Everyone in our family looks forward to it.

Here's how it works, our rotation starts with Daddy, then Mama and then kids, in their birth order.  Until a child turned 4, he or she was not allowed to choose.  And honestly, when they were younger than that, they didn't even notice!

Each person has to choose the food, the activity, and possibly dessert, and there is a $20 budget, which rolls over if we don't spend money one night.  

Here are some of the fun things we've tried:
  • Eating Out Night - My hubby's top choice, finished off with a dessert at home or no dessert at all.
  • Ice Cream Sundae Night - Create an ice cream sundae bar for dessert after a light dinner.
  • Movie Night - Rent a movie and eat taco dip, nachos, popcorn or pizza in front of the TV.
  • Family Video Night - Same as above but with home videos.
  • Themed Movie Night - Watch a movie and eat themed food with it, i.e. Ratatouille.
  • Game Night - Play board games or video games as a family, with TV snacks.
  • Scavenger Hunt - Indoors or out.
  • Park Night - Pack a picnic and visit a local park or playground.
  • Hot Cocoa Night - Create a hot chocolate bar for the winter months.
  • Pet Shopping - Take your pet to a local pet store and pick out treats for him/her.  Treat a neighbor's pet, if you don't have one.
  • Indoor Picnic - Rearrange the living room furniture, lay a picnic blanket down and roast hot dogs and marshmallows in the fireplace.
  • Play-Doh Night - Create.  You may even want to compete.  My husband won.
  • Midnight Movie - Okay, so maybe not midnight, but have a "lame family night" and once the kids are good and asleep, wake them to find a rearranged living room and buttered popcorn for a late night showing.
  • Carnival - Go to a local carnival or fair. 
  • Flashlight Tag - Indoors.
  • Train Ride - Find a train to ride.  Our local mall has one.
  • Candy Store - Eat a small dinner and then find a candy store to raid for dessert.
  • Toy Store - Go to a local toy store and window shop.  The kids can bring their money, if it's been earned.
  • Family Walk - Take a long stroll somewhere, the kids can bring their bikes.
  • High School Game Night - Go to your local high school team's home game.
  • Pool Night - Go to your neighborhood pool with a pizza for dinner.
  • Reverse Night - Allow the kids to act like parents for the night.  They can eat whatever they want, stay up as late as they want, but they have to make dinner, clean the kitchen and put the parents to bed (parents can watch a movie).  If they break anything they have to pay to replace it, just like Mama and Daddy would.
  • Thankfulness Night - Set aside a night to remember all the ways God has been faithful to you as a family. 
  • Window Shopping - Eat dinner at home and walk around downtown.  Sometimes we enjoy cupcakes from our favorite local bakery.
  • Downtown Festivals - Take advantage of seasonal events that take place in your hometown.
  • Fire Pit Roast - Roast hot dogs and marshmallows in the backyard, make S'mores.
  • Valentines Night - Create a handmade Valentine each to give a friend, and eat heart cookies for dessert.
  • Christmas Lights - Drive around after dinner and enjoy Christmas lights; don't forget the music.
  • Gingerbread Decorating - Decorate a gingerbread house or create a graham cracker nativity together.
  • Pumpkin Carving - Let everyone carve or paint a pumpkin.
  • Easter Egg Dying Party - Create all kinds of egg decor.  We love rubber bands.
These are ideas I'd like for us to try:
  • Camping - In the living room or outside.
  • Family Soccer Game - In the backyard.
  • Memory Book - Run the laptop to the TV and create a photo book together, or create one the old-fashioned way with scrapbook supplies.

What Family Night ideas do you have or have you tried as a family?