January 19, 2013

Happy Sabbath

Today the weather finally decided to mellow out and warm up. The past couple of days have been windy. I've never been a fan of windy days. Maybe a gentle breeze, but not the wind. The wind dries out my skin, gets dust in my eyes and I walk around feeling like a dehydrated cactus. I took advantage of the good weather and decided to take Lucas outside for a quick photo shoot. He's a week away from being 9 months, and I want to document his growth.

He wasn't all that cooperative. Instead of posing and smiling like I wanted, he wanted to crawl around the blanket in search of grass to eat. I soon gave up trying to take outdoor pictures, and moved inside.

Lucas is getting so tall! His list of accomplishments are growing. The most recent accomplishment is walking unassisted. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a picture of him standing and walking all by himself. 

Wednesday was Lucas's 9 month well baby visit. Thankfully, he only had two shots. Its horrible to watch as his little faces reddens and  balls up, with tears streaming down his cheeks and his poor little cries come pouring out of his mouth with the discomfort of shots. It was over soon enough and thankfully he didn't cry all the way out of the Doctor's office.

January 12, 2013

Spray Painting Picture Frames

I have a rather large stack of old mismatched picture frames. Most of the frames are a light oak,  scratched pine and an assortment of oddly colored plastic and metal.

 Here is one of the plastic frames that I used. First, I removed the glass panel from the back of the frame and set it aside. Next, with a damp cloth I wiped the frame down removing all dust. I placed the frame on the newspaper. I did the painting outside in my back yard. It was a perfect day for painting - no wind and lots of sun. I wanted to avoid using the garage due to the toxic fumes produced by the spray paint.

Here is the frame after I painted it. The metal and plastic frames needed one heavy coat and just a light second coat for touch ups. The wood frames (especially the oak) needed two or three coats of paint. I gave the frames several hours to dry. The paint can recommends allowing the paint to dry for a full 24 hours. I'd recommend following the directions on the can. I had to do a few touch ups due to my impatience.  

Two more frames that I painted. The frames are made from oak. 

The finished product.
My next project is to paint the wall.

Slowly but surely, my cozy starter home is becoming my dream home. :) One step @ a time.

Supplies I used:
Picture frames - used ones I already had ($0)
One can of spray paint -  Rust-Oleum 249854 Painter's Touch Multi-Purpose Spray Paint, Satin Midnight Blue, 12-Ounce ($7.15)
Prints/Photos - used ones I already had ($0)

January 8, 2013

a listening husband and beef stew

In the months leading up to Christmas I had been dropping hints left and right to my husband that I wanted a crock pot. The idea of being able to leave dinner simmering for hours appealed to me. Low maintenance meals are great for this inexperienced cook! And as always, my wonderful husband delivered. He never said a word. However, on Christmas morning all wrapped up with a bow was my new crock pot. Eager to start, I spent the next couple of days flipping through my cookbooks and searching through thousands of yummy recipes on pinterest. I knew that I wanted to make a beef stew. Earlier that week my husband brought home some delicious beef. Finally, I settled on a recipe I found in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. It turned out delicious!

Old Fashion Beef Stew

2 tablespoons flour
12 oz beef stew meat, cut into 3/4 inch cubes 
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups of vegetable juice
1 cup beef broth 
1 medium onion
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
2 cups of cubed potatoes 
1 1/2 frozen cut green beans
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn   
1 cup sliced carrots 

Slow Cooker Directions: 
Prepare and brown meat as directed. In a 3 1/2 or 4 quart slow cooker layer meat, onions, potatoes, beans, corn and carrots. Combine 2 cups of vegetable juice, the broth, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, marjoram, pepper, and bay leaf. Pour over meat and vegetables in slow cookers. Cover; cook on low heat setting for 10 to 12 hours, or on high heat setting cook for 5 to 6 hours. 

I will use this recipe again. However, instead of one cup of beef broth, I will increase the amount of broth to two or three cups and add water to the stew. I chose to set the heat setting on low, and by the time it was done cooking much of the liquid had simmered out. I also noticed that the stew lacked salt. I used a low sodium beef broth. Next time I will add salt. 

The stew is best served hot, on a cold day with warm bread to compliment it.