Archive for March, 2012

March 30, 2012

dress ’em

A yummy way to eat the “it’s not trash yet” produce lingering in the fridge…

Make a salad “chutney“!

  • small dice cucumber, red onion, roasted red pepper, tomatoes
  • top with a favorite dressing or red wine vinegar, olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, oregano
  • use on top of any greens or add to a sandwich

“Mother’s words of wisdom:  “Answer me!  Don’t talk with food in your mouth!”  ~ Erma Bombeck

March 29, 2012

real lessons

What a GREAT book!  Use What You’ve Got & Other Business Lessons I Learned from My Mom, by Barbara Corcoran (with Bruce Littlefield)

Use What You've Got

Marrying lessons she learned from her mom during childhood to the world of business, Barbara Corcoran gives a wealth of transferable concepts & skills.  The stories entertain, the teachings inspire, & the lessons reveal true life applications for parents, families, teachers, & business leaders.  Ms. Corcoran shares struggles, failures, processes & successes of her life while highlighting the journey as the joy.

Favorite points & quotes:

  • systems make a well-run house & office
  • color code, be fair, give appreciation, make a “good idea” box
  • identify what motivates people
  • raises are soon forgotten–try unexpected bonuses
  • play together
  • “good performances are a result of great preparation
  • on bad days, reframe perspective

“And that was my mother’s genius.  She kept her house going by putting her finger on the special gift she saw in each of her children, & making each & every one of us believe that gift was uniquely ours.  Whether it was true or not, we all believed it.”  ~ Barbara Corcoran

March 28, 2012

prairie skirt

A cute doll clothes project putting left-over fabrics to work.  One young crafters & seamstresses can handle as well.

  • select 3 fabrics
  • cut one 17″ x 4 1/2, one 22″ x 4″, one 25″ x 4″ (adjust lengths depending on doll size or desired skirt fullness)

  • on top-tier skirt piece, make a tunnel for a 1/2″ elastic waistband
  • sew gathering stitch on upper edges of pieces 2 & 3

  • sew piece 2 to 1, then piece 3 to 2

  • thread 10″ piece of 1/2″ wide elastic through tunnel – sew in place on each side
  • check length of skirt & finish bottom edge with zig-zag hem (ignore the fact that this step was done earlier in shown pics…hindsight is 20/20!)
  • sew length of skirt together – right sides together!
  • add ribbon or button

To make coordinating headband:

  • cut one 2″ wide x 12″ long piece of each fabric
  • stack & sew them all together on one end
  • braid fabrics – measure against doll’s head to know when to stop
  • sew braided end together
  • attach small piece of elastic
  • cut 3″ x 4″ piece of one fabric, sew long side together to make tube – slip onto head band
  • sew remaining elastic end on other side of braid
  • slide tube over elastic & sew into place on each end, tucking in ends to finish edges
March 26, 2012

happy camper

Getting weary of dishes?  bathrooms?  floors?  Go camping to bring out the gratitude for civilization!

Truly a lovely, relaxing experience at Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks State Park.  (minus Nutty the mouse & Randy the…let’s just saybug)

The dogwoods were GORGEOUS.

For the campfire cooks, here are two winner dinners ~

Hobo packs:  ground beef, canned carrots + green beans + mushrooms, cut up potatoes, onions, salt & pepper

Why does everything taste better cooked over a campfire?

Jambalaya:  saute cut up turkey sausage (in butter), add chopped green pepper, onion, garlic, saute.  Add can of chopped tomatoes, chicken broth & rice pack (1 cup rice with salt, white pepper, black pepper, 2 bay leaves, oregano leaves, thyme leaves), cook for 20 min., add canned tiny shrimp.

“It is vain to do with more what can be done with less.”  ~ William of Occam (1300-1350)

March 21, 2012

ham? hmmm…

Kids = specialness.  Here is a coffee cozy design by one such kiddo…

The original drawing:

Design delivery:

To most, the only thing that makes sense…is that it makes no sense!  …”You know, HAM…Hamster??!!!”

However, following through on an imaginative drawing gives completion satisfaction & dream realization.  Hopefully giving encouragement to continue being curious & creative.

Plus, project process involving materials, placement & color decisions exercise the brain, too.  And it makes a great birthday present for Daddy!

“When a thing is funny, search it for a hidden truth.”  ~ George Bernard Shaw

March 20, 2012

report card

Published in 2011, Push Has Come To Shove by Dr. Steve Perry delivers a raw & honest view of the state of education in our country.

Push Has Come to Shove: Getting Our Kids the Education They Deserve--Even If It Means Picking a Fight

Interesting points Dr. Perry states…:

  • nothing improves student performance as much as quality of instruction
  • parents are neither the cause nor the solution for the problems in our schools
  • many schools don’t know how to make parents useful partners
  • most good teachers don’t want anything to do with teachers’ unions
  • students know who the good teachers are
  • schools & educators derive some of their greatest growth from a sincere question

Additionally, Dr. Perry offers parenting thoughts from what is the best home atmosphere in promoting life-long learning to the challenges, including his own, of the 24/7 world of parenting.

  • “What I see in all successful parent-child relationships is humility & respect.”
  • 5 things parents can control (pg 95):  early reading, early numeracy, setting high expectations, curiosity, discipline
  • being a parent means putting your kids’ needs above your compulsions of adulthood while simultaneously keeping the you in you
  • “from the middle class up, we give our kids too damn much.”
  • successful students’ parents don’t do the studying for their kids, even if they do it together
  • successful kids are not perfect
  • create a shrine to learning in the home – read, watch what money is spent on as it reflects values, find educational toys supporting intellectual growth

“There’s always a price for what you want.”  ~ Dr. Steve Perry

March 19, 2012

slaw solution

Poor hubbie…we didn’t have the sauerkraut for our grilled pastrami & swiss on rye on St. Pat’s Day…but the alternative he made, in my opinion, was WAY better!

  • 1/2 green cabbage
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1 or 2 carrots


  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1.5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • celery salt
  • smoked paprika
  • kosher salt & pepper

“A fruit is a vegetable with looks & money. Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine, something Brussels sprouts never do.” ~ P. J. O’Rourke

March 16, 2012

kid mailbox

Rescue an ugly wooden crafty item:

& transform it into a sweet project:

  • remove front decoration
  • prime box, paint – off white glossy shown

  • spray paint metal decoration – flat black shown
  • let everything dry for a day
  • re-attach black decoration
  • place “address” (birthday) numbers – Hobby Lobby self-adhesive, approx. 1″, .99 cents/each

got mail?

March 15, 2012

debt diet

Would you rather be overweight by 10 to 50 pounds & have zero debt?  Or be at your ideal weight & have $10,000 in debt?

Questions above were posed & reported in a recent Yahoo! health article titled, Surprising Facts About DietingNearly half of the 2,000 people surveyed said they’d rather be 50 pounds overweight!  78% said they’d rather be 10 pounds overweight than have 10K in debt.  Interesting…

Regardless of the survey, money motivates, controls & holds power.  Consider these resources to help put money in its place:

  1. More Than Enough, Financial Peace & The Total Money Makeover all by Dave Ramsey
  2. Thou Shall Prosper 10 Commandments for Making Money by Rabbi Daniel Lapin
  3. The Price of Privilege – How Parental Pressure & Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids by Madeline Levine
  4. Debt Free U by Zac Bissonnette

“Dogs have no money. Isn’t that amazing? They’re broke their entire lives. But they get through. You know why dogs have no money? .. No Pockets.”  ~ Jerry Seinfeld

March 13, 2012

accordion puppets

The darling originals below are a cinch to make & great entertainment…

Supplies: 2 strips each of two colors of construction paper, 2 popsicle sticks, glue, face decorations

  1. glue the same color strips together
  2. glue the two pieces at one end perpendicular to each other:

Fold the colors over each other in an accordion fashion, back & forth:

Make the face (use crayons, markers, googly eyes, yarn, noodles, paper, etc.) & glue onto facing of one end.  Glue on popsicle sticks one on each end:

Get ready to make a puppet cast & put on a show!

Live in the Kansas City area?  Check out the Paul Mesner Puppet Studio – amazing, creative & inspiring!

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