Make a Flirt Pole

flirt pole diy completeThe Problem….having the time and energy to wear out your hyper pooch. The Solution….The Flirt Pole!

Living in the upper Midwest, the winters here can be brutal, and I admit that I can be really wimpy when it comes to having to brave the elements. What that translates into is a seriously hyperactive dog with a ton of pent up energy.

So what to do? There is only so much bone chewing our little was willing to do. Add to that her short attention span and extremely high prey drive, and I was at a loss. Until I came upon something called a “flirt pole”. (more…)

Pizza Crust for the Absolute Beginner

pizza dough beginner cover 1Making my own pizza crust had been on my “to-do” list for years. Pizza night is a weekly event in our house, so learning to make it myself became a must, The thing stopping me? A major intimidation factor.

Before this, pizza night consisted of the good ole frozen variety pizza. Cheap and quick was the name of that game. After all, I was at work all day. Who has time to make pizza dough?

Even more so, I had never worked with yeast before, nor did I have a paddle mixer or bread machine.  Clearly this was an endeavor I had better leave well enough alone. Or so I thought. (more…)

Fish Tacos

Fish tacosNow here is something I can say with great confidence…..and it is this…..I sure do love me some tacos!

Bad grammar aside, it’s no mystery as to why the taco is so appealing to so many. And it is this one word……diversity.

Up until recently, I thought I had enjoyed them just about every way possible. Beef, chicken or pork. Sometimes shredded, other times cubed. Heck, even ground works. And the meat options are only the beginning to prove my point that tacos can be anything you’d like them to be.

So having enjoyed them in so many different ways, I admit it did give me pause when I first heard the term “FISH tacos”. Fish? Really?

Not being a big fan of the stuff, I can say I wasn’t exactly eager to dive into this one. Just seemed wrong, ya know? Kind of like when someone decided to dip bacon into chocolate. Everyone loves them both. But together?

Well, turns out the answer it a resounding YES! Scroll down and I’ll show you how I’ve been putting these together ever since by the request of by uber picky eating family.

A Quick Way to Fix Up Your Tom’s Shoes

toms shoe fix coverAs much as I love Tom’s shoes, I actually only own one pair. I’ve worn them for about two summers now. Actually, it’s more like I LIVED in those shoes during that time. I chose a solid gray pair and they go with pretty much E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. So that is why it was just a little bit of a heartbreak to notice that the toe of the shoe was starting to develop a frayed, nasty hole.

I didn’t do much about it at first, and now wish that I had. Now that another summer has arrived, I of course went to my closet to seek  out these lovelies only to find the hole was just simply too big, too obvious and too ugly to take me through another summer.

Of course I should just buy another pair. So what’s stopping me? Let’s see….swimming lessons, tennis lessons, summer day camps, pool passes and not to mention funds for our latest “staycation”. That’s right, I’m pinching pennies anywhere that I can. But I just can’t give up my Tom’s! (more…)

10 Amazing Summer Recipes from your Slow Cooker

summer slow cooker 2I don’t know about you, but when it’s summertime, my slow cooker rarely makes an appearance. I guess I’ve always associated crockpot meals with the  heavy stews and roasts that are so warm and comforting during our freezing Midwest winters. But as I’ve since discovered, that’s been a big mistake.

Don’t be like me and overlook the fabulously tasty family dinners that can come from your crockpot in steamy, summertime weather. Bonus….these dinners don’t heat up your kitchen, and you’re not standing over a hot, smoky grill either!

So let’s give that grill a rest. Check out this lineup of amazing dishes that can be cooked up on the hottest of summer days. Big payoff, little effort…..and super delish! (more…)

My experiment with unshrinking rayon

I don’t have much patience for laundry. The sorting, deciding what to tumble dry or line dry. Worse yet, lay flat to dry. Hot or cold and which wash cycle. Ughh. Just give me the ‘ole warm wash and tumble dry, please. However, this last load left me wondering how to go about unshrinking rayon. (more…)

Spring in the Midwest Outfit Inspiration

Even though I’m not technically a fashion blogger, I can’t resist having a little fun playing pretend! I recently started messing around with Polyvore to concoct a few outfits for inspirational purposes only. I say that because I’ve found that, apparently, I have expensive taste. The price tags on the items I choose tend to be way out of my league, but that doesn’t mean I can’t take part in the fun! (more…)

4 Essential Cookbooks for Absolute Beginners

beginners cookbooks coverWhen I was working full time, I was quite proud to say that I still managed to keep a regular meal plan.  But admittedly the main players on these menus were really, super basic fare (jarred spaghetti sauce & ground beef, anyone?). Now that I’m home more, I figured it was time to up my game a bit in the culinary department. But where to start?

To explain, I don’t have the same backstory that most good cooks have. Tales about generations of women gathering together in the kitchen, teaching the techniques of age old family recipes and showing their love through food. Nope, never happened.

My story goes more like this: Mom, who’s own mother didn’t revel in the task of cooking, making the effort to cook new & interesting recipes for a family of die hard, picky eaters. The list of meals my Dad would eat was quite short, along with his low tolerance for cheese or anything remotely “spicy”.  She cooked mostly to please his palate, and  us kids had to just go along with it. (more…)

Decorate with DIY Dream Clouds

dream clouds cover 3As my girls get older, they seem to be developing some very specific tastes. Food, clothes, décor……you name it. Gone are the days where I could peruse the girl’s clothing department on my own and return with cute things they’d happily wear. As I’ve been told by my ‘tween daughter…”Mom, you just don’t know what’s in style for kid’s”.  Huh?

I thought I did pretty well all these years. After all, isn’t that one of the perks of having daughters? You get to dress them in all of the clothes YOU love!  So Mom’s, beware. Your days as Personal Shopper to the Nick Jr. set are numbered.

Which brings me to their latest idea. Redecorating their bedrooms. Mind you, we haven’t the budget to do an overhaul of new this and fancy that. Thankfully, sites such as Tumblr and Pinterest exist. We found lots of fun ideas for room décor. My eldest darling saw an idea for what are called ‘Dream Clouds”, and was super excited to try it. (more…)