January 27, 2015

Valentine's Day Easy Project

Let’s welcome February with a fun and easy little decorating project, Valentine’s Day wall art.

If any of you are like me, once all the Christmas decorations are packed away, my house feels empty and the walls sparse.  My dining room walls and table tops were covered in green and red foliage from wreaths to poinsettias, and now they are so empty.  In an attempt to add a little fun décor for Valentine’s Day this year, and to fill the void on my dining room wall, I quickly spray painted some $2 dollar wood panels with my kids this weekend.

  • Thin wood boards/panels  that are the same size
  • Red Spray Paint
  • Painters Tape
  • Cardstock (to make the heart)
  • Hanging Clips
To make the hearts, take a piece of cardstock and fold in half. Draw half a heart on the fold, cut out, open up, and use the heart shape as a template for the wall art.  
For the outer boards, use painters tape to cover the edges of the board in order to make a natural frame.  Place double sided painters tape under the heart to make sure the heart stays natural colored.
For the center board, use painters tape to make the frame, and then add more tape to make an inner frame just inside the outer frame. Remove the outer frame tape for this board to make the frame red instead of natural wood.  Place painters tape to cover everything inside the frame, except the heart.  I used scissors to trim the tape edges next to the heart.  
Take the three boards outside and spray paint red.  Allow the paint to dry overnight.

The next day, peel away the tape to reveal your new wall art!

Now hang with little metal clips (I used curtain hangers from IKEA) on nails and enjoy your new décor!

January 8, 2015

Supertaster woes

Hello friends! So yesterday, I declared my goal of quitting all sodas for good! Well, it's going well, but I need a replacement for caffiene. I like tea, especially chai, but can't stand coffee. However, everyone I know drinks coffee, and with Frank making a pot every morning I am bound and determined to make myself like it.

Although I don't think Frank really believed me when I brought it up years ago when cringing over broccoli and coffee, I am a supertaster. Yup, a person with a whole lot more taste buds on my tongue than the average person. In fact, 20-30% of the population are supertasters! So, I am sure many of you all out there are as well and can identify! My super tasting ability unfortunatley makes me taste nasty bitterness in broccoli, spinach, and of course coffee as well as many other foods/drinks. I have forced myself to eat broccoli and spinach over the years, but I've never been a huge fan like Frank. He can eat broccoli totally raw. Crazy.

Back in my sophmore Biology class hundreds of years ago, my teacher tested us all using  a bitter chemical called 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) on a piece of litmus paper. I remember only 2 of us in the whole room hated the taste of it, and were were also the only 2 who hated coffee.

So, here I am all these years later and my taste buds still hate bitter foods. I tried a very weak latte today, and that I can handle. Pretty yummy.  The milk masks the bitter part quite well. Just don't want to always have to add milk! From my past experience with beer (I used to hate the bitter metallic taste), I know I'll be drinking it black after a few months of persistence.

How about you all? Any of you supertasters? Do you like coffee and how do you drink it if so?

January 7, 2015

Hello 2015!

Happy New Year!!! Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. We've been busy with family visiting and kids on holiday from school and it has been a glorious two weeks. Or "amazing" as Lily now likes to say.

So, did anyone make New Year Resolutions? I have in years past, but am not the best at falling through with my plans. I planned on taking family portaits once a month this year, and only did 4 times. I also planned on taking portraits of the kids every week! Failed on that one after about 2 months.  So this year, I didn't really plan on making formal resolutions, however, after watching "Fed Up" last night, I did.

1. Quit drinking Sodas of all kinds forever and ever. To include Diet cokes. I have been strangely addicted to diet cokes for a very long time, and the habit is a bad one that I have been wanting to quit for ages, but never commited.  Watching "Fed Up"gave me enough motivation to quit for good. So, hoping writing it on here will also help me keep it up.

2. Stay even more committed to our "Real Food" diet and cut down on the sugar intake even more. I hadn't realized that all sugars (to include honey) are processed by our bodies the same way, and thought if I used healthy sugars to bake etc, then we were still doing great. Not so. So, you'll probably be seeing a lot more interesting recipes from me as I experiment around.

That should do it for me this year.   How about you all? Did you make any resolutions? Did you stick through with your resolutions from last year?

Looking forward to the new year and every new day. Hello 2015!

December 31, 2014

Happy New Years

Wow! Can you believe 2015 is almost here! We've had family visiting for the holidays and it has been so much fun! We went to Vienna on Christmas Day through Sunday on a whim and enjoyed some new sights this time around including the Belvedere Palace hosting Klimt's "The Kiss". Now we have about 6 inches of snow on the ground and plan to get out and sled today. Still trying to plan out some fun activities tonight in addition to fireworks, fondue, games, and interviewing the kids.  Just a quick update because I haven't had much time to get online over the holiday break, but Happy New Year to everyone!

December 19, 2014

Friday I'm in Love and some Christmas goodies

Friday! Yes! Two weeks off coming up! I am so excited! This week has been a busy one for sure, with late nights of baking and wrapping and attending Christmas concerts and the like. Only 7 more days till Christmas. I was hoping for snow, but it's highly unlikely this year. We haven't had a bit! It is warm and rainy and feels like spring. Even my roses and some tomatoes have not died yet.

Last night, I was up baking till 11, making Christmas gifts for Cooper and Lily's teachers at the Kindergarten. I bought them the cutest little gold pots with tiny poinsettias, but I  have managed to kill them. All of the leaves are just falling off. Not sure if I over watered or if our house is just too cold for them. Anyhow, that left me scrounging this week for new ideas. So, I ended up buying each a nice Bath and Body Works foam pump soap and put those in a gift bag with a cute jar I decorate and filled with goodies I made last night. Chocolate peppermint fudge, thumbprint cookies, almond shortbread cookies, toffee, and peppermint chocolate cookies. The jars I found at the euro store here for about 1.50 euros each, and I had the jute and twine lying around from last Christmas. I took some pine scraps from our Christmas tree we cut and tied them on to the jars to look more festive and smell delicious. Hope they enjoy!


And, since I haven't in forever, here are some fun finds!
  • This post really made me laugh out loud.
  • The really real Santa Claus
  • To the general rule that money, above a certain low level, cannot buy happiness there is one exception. “While spending money upon oneself does nothing for one’s happiness,” says Norton, “spending it on others increases happiness.” - for the rest of the article
  • Second Languages Spoken around the world
  • Yum! Would love to try my hand at these this weekend.
  • Oh, and I made this for Thanksgiving and it was delicious! Turned out perfectly.