Sunday, June 28, 2009

Leavin' On A Jet Plane

Ashlyn and I are heading out in just a few minutes for Minneapolis. Bright and early tomorrow morning we get on an airplane and will meet up with my mom, sisters and niece in Orlando for a few days at Disney World - girls only! The best part is that Ashlyn has no idea!

She thinks we're just going to the Cities for the night to have a mommy/daughter getaway - and to shop at Build-A-Bear. She's going to be so surprised and I hope to capture it all on video!

Britney will be here with Carter until Friday night when we get home. When I asked him what his plans were for the week, he said go karts, fishing, playing - oh and if he gets bad, I'll just put him in here...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Breakfast on the Farm

Today we went out for an event called Breakfast on the Farm. This year it was at our friends Joe and Rita Vander Kooi's farm. They have a dairy farm just south of Worthington.

There were pancakes to eat, tractors to climb on, animals to pet, and a dairy farm to tour. We learned a lot, had a great time together and enjoyed some good food and company!

Just a little info about the Ocheda Dairy...They currently have about 800 cows. Each cow is milked 3 times a day. Each cow also gives about 10 gallons of milk - every day. That sounds like a lot! We got to see some babies that were only about a day old. The milk that they produce is sold and eventually goes into making cheese for McDonald's and Subway.

Carter was in heaven with all of the equipment on display. I wish we had taken the video camera so that you could hear his running commentary on what machine was used for what. It was too cute!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Recipe Wednesday

Finally! Another recipe Wednesday! We've had a busy couple of weeks since the kitchen was finished, and I could finally find my recipes again. Britney's family was here for a visit over the last 10 days or so. They left bright and early at 4:00 this morning - YUCK! No one should ever see that hour of the day (or is it night?)

Anyway, while they were here, we threw a baby shower for our cousin Elin. She's due with their miracle baby in late September. For the party favor, we did cake balls wrapped in cute little baggies with a baby sticker on them all tied up with some pretty ribbon. I'm sure I didn't get a picture...

The cake balls recipe is from Bakerella who I found one day browsing online for baby shower ideas! Perfect!

These little things are so good that Britney's mom and sister decided to rename them Yum Balls.

Cake Balls

1 box Devil's Food Cake Mix - cook as directed on box for 9x13 cake

1 can cream cheese frosting - 16 oz.

1 package chocolate bark (regular or white chocolate) - I used almond bark because our rinky-dink town doesn't have anything else...

1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.

2. Mix thoroughly with 1 can cream cheese frosting. (It may be easier to use fingers to mix together, but be warned it will get messy.)

3. Roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet. (I got between 40-45)

4. Chill for several hours. (You can speed this up by putting in the freezer.)

5. Melt chocolate in microwave per directions on package.

6. Roll balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper until firm. (Use a spoon to dip and roll in chocolate and then tap off extra.)

We found that these are the best around the 2nd day after you make them. They almost melt in your mouth!! Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I love softball. I had forgotten how much until I started playing on a rec league recently.

Last night was only our second game. Britney, Monte, Christian and the kids came to the game to watch me play. Apparently we need to work on the strategy of the game with Carter. The second time I was up to bat, I was waiting for a good pitch, so I let the first two go by. I could hear that little boy yelling from the time I stepped into the batter's box. "Go Mama!" Then when the first pitch went by and I didn't swing, I heard, "Why didn't you hit that?" Then when the second pitch went by, I started getting pointers from my 4 year old. "You have to swing to hit the ball, Mom!" It was hilarious!

But I must admit that I love hearing him yell, "Hey Mama!" every time he sees me run out to the field. He stands in the bleachers with a huge smile on his face waving his heart out!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Riding a Bicycle

For those of you with kids who already know how to ride a 2-wheeler, how in the world did you teach them to ride?

Ashlyn is 7 and got an awesome bike a couple of months ago. I found it for FREE when I was junking in the Cities with my friend Jackie. But that's a whole other post...

Most of Ashlyn's friends can ride without training wheels and she desperately wants to be able to also. We've been working at it for a couple of months, but we end up frustrated at each other and call it quits. We've always butted heads on everything. I can't wait until she's a teenager...

So, any tips, suggestions, strong drinks to try afterwards?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Thrifty Wall

I thought I would start with the most fun part of the kitchen for me. It was definitely NOT painting the cabinets. Especially the insides where the backs are beadboard and took three coats...

It's definitely this part of the kitchen!

The picture on the left - the one of the silverware - is something I've seen on several blogs in the last couple of months. I thought it would be so easy and cute to do. I thought I had struck gold when I found a whole shoebox of old silverware at a yard sale last month - for FIFTY CENTS! She even threw in the bottle of Tarn-X to go with it :) Then I found the frame at another yard sale for $1. It just needed a quick spray paint job, some hot glue, and scrapbook paper, and I had myself the first piece of "artwork" for the kitchen!

What I love most about this wall is that nothing (except for the trim - I don't remember how much that was) cost me over $18. I got the table and chairs the first summer after we moved at a flea market that happens here three times a year. I don't even remember what color it was when I got it, but I stripped the paint off of it, stained the top, and painted the legs and chairs to match. I think the chairs were $5 each. And I've definitely gotten my money's worth out of this little set. It's been in the kitchen, on the sunporch, on the front porch, in the living room for small group meals, and finally back in the kitchen.

The lamp is one I've had for years and years. It used to be gold with a champagne colored lampshade. I spent $1.50 on the new finial and the rick rack. I had the toile fabric from the kitchen curtains in our last house. A quick spray paint job, some hot glue and a whole new lamp! For $1.50 :)

My very favorite thing in the new kitchen is the monogram. My good friend Jackie made the vinyl initial and "Fransen" for us for Christmas. I kept it in the closet until I could figure out the perfect place for it. I didn't want to put it on the wall somewhere and then realize I had found a place that I would like it better. I looked for frames, old windows, anything that was big enough to hold the monogram. Then one day I was poking around in the basement and came across that frame. It was just the right size, so I grabbed my black spray paint of course! I had the scrapbook paper, so I just pieced it together inside the frame and finally mounted the monogram. I love it! And it literally cost me less than $1 for this beautiful piece!

So, how about you? What are some of your favorite and thrifty things in your kitchen?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Are You Ready?

If there is anyone still reading this blog after my weeks of being MIA, I can promise you it was worth the wait :)

Are you ready for my new kitchen?

Just so you can see yet again how far we've come - the lovely before picture:

And now...Drumroll, please!

The after!

So, what do you think? I'm hoping there will be several posts over the next few days, breaking down how I did all of this for under $500! You can do it, too!