Monday, September 3, 2012

Abby's Sanctuary

I did it! I finally sucked it up, ran to the craft store, and decorated Abby's room.  Honestly, it took me all of an hour to do it. Aside from cleaning the room so I could get in there first. Gabe and I also took down her bunk beds (I know she is an only child but hey, they are fun right?) and put in her nice clean white bed. AHH!

 These diamonds above her bed are inspired by all those framed pieces of fabric I see on Pinterest. That was my intention. But when I saw the price of frames I thought I would just do it myself. Luckily on my way out of the store I happened upon the baking isle and found these awesome 12X12 cake cardboard plates. Abby and I just hot glued the fabric on there and voila! they are done. I hung them by hot gluing a paperclip to the back and them pressing them to the wall with a thumb tack woven through the paperclip. Ingenious, I know.
 My Dad gave me these fun shape curtain things. So I hung them on the wall and then used the colors to coordinate the fabric I purchased.
 This vanity was my great grandmas. Now it is my baby girls. How fun is that?
 This I made with a framed poster that Abby had that I HATED! I got fabric, batting, ribbon and brads and put this baby together. Now she has a fun memo board to put all her papers and pictures on. Hopefully, they will end up here and not on the floor. Fingers crossed.

THE CLOSET! This was pretty easy actually. Just put the dresser in the closet added a cheap shelf some plastic shoe boxes and a shoe organizer. Nice thing is she can now see everything.
I also created day tags that she hangs her clothes in at the beginning of the week once the laundry is done. That way when she wakes up she goes right to the day grabs her clothes and NO ARGUING! I love it.

I think I turned out pretty decent and I didn't lift a paint brush. Maybe another day, but for now we are all satisfied and happy with the results.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Zucchini Chips

This zucchini is about 4 1/2 in around and was16 inches long.
So I left for a couple of days and forgot about my garden. You know what that means, HUMONGOUS zucchini. What do you do with humongous zucchini? Well, as far as I know you make zucchini bread, or zucchini muffins. But when you have a humongous zucchini it only takes 1/3 of it to do a bread recipe. Yup I still have lots 'o zucchini. Oh Pinterest!!!
Yes I turn to my faithful Pinterest to find a recipe that will satisfy my zucchini needs. Don't you? Well first Abby and I sat down and found this recipe. But, I didn't have the ingredients besides the zucchini.  But Abby kept saying "so? Lets see what we have." (I love my kid) So to the fridge we went. We found shredded Parmesan cheese and tomatoes from our garden.
So I sliced up the zucchini and the tomatoes sprinkled them with season salt and Parmesan cheese and stuck it in my oven (which is still on from the zucchini bread) 350* for 15-20 min. This is what we got.----> Can we say YUM!? The tomatoes made it, I think, but Abby says straight zucchini all the way.
You would think that after that yummy snack we would be done but OH NO not in the Johnson household. We go big or go home. Well... we are home but, you get the gist. LOL
So back to Pinterest we went. We were getting pretty good at this zucchini slicing thing so we decided to see if we could make chips. Of coarse you can! and oh man did we make some chips. Pinterest had a gorgeous picture but the link didn't work so I thought "what the heck" we will just fly by the seat of our pants and create another fabulous recipe.

Zucchini Chips
1/3-1/2 of  a Humongous Zucchini
1/3 c bread crumbs
1/3 c Parmesan cheese
1/2 t Italian seasonings
1/2 t parsley
sea salt

Combine bread crumbs, cheese, seasonings, parsley, pepper, salt in food processor. I used our NINJA, because its cool. And blend until it's crumbly.

 I used a mandolin with a wavy blade to cut my zucchini but I am pretty sure it would be fine if you just sliced them straight. 
I sprayed a cookie sheet with cooking spray. 
Then because I am lazy and didn't want to dirty another bowl I just took out the blade on my awesome NINJA and dipped the zucchini slices in till both sides were coated.
I put them on the sheet single layer. 

Then because my oven was still on 350*. I stuck them in. I checked them at 10 min but they still looked raw. At 20 min they looked FABULOUS!

I took them out and set them single layer on a paper towel in case of extra moisture.
They lasted about 2 minutes before Abby and I dug in. Super yummy. The ones that browned were more crispy and very yummy. But all were super yummy and the perfect snack.

*note when adding salt that the Parmesan cheese is already salty so go sparingly. Enjoy your ZUCCHINI! I know I am.

Monday, August 20, 2012

I Thought I'd lost It

This past week I did something I never thought I would do. I knew my summer was dragging and my motivation for cleaning the house had severely dwindled. I was drowning in To-Do lists which grew larger every day. The arguing between my family members was at an all-time high and I was looking for a way out. So I did what any one would do…I went to BYU!
I saw the announcement in the Sunday sacrament program asking for volunteers and thought “what the heck, I’ll give it a try.” I signed up to host for 4 hours a day for 4 days at BYU education week. In exchange, I could go to any of the other classes for free. I had no idea what I was in for but hey, it was my ticket out. I thought for sure I would be sick to my stomach the whole time I was romping around the enemy’s territory and for the first little while I was nervous. But after the first two hours I was amazed at the spirit and the kindness of the others I served with. The first day was a little strange since the first class I hosted was about addiction and when the instructor asked how many people were recovering and so many hands went up I understood the reasons they weren’t so nice at the door. But when I got switched to another class the following day I realized the Lord had another plan for me.
While hosting the last three days I gained greater insight and understanding for others. The people entering into my classroom were from all over the U.S. and all had different agendas. Some were very kind and some were rushed. Others just wanted to rush by, some sneak by, and then there were those that were there every day diligently seeking knowledge and were so happy and gracious I wanted to almost cry when they gave me a hug or smiled and said thank you for helping them. I think that is when I turned a page.
This journey I was on was not only about me and gaining a greater knowledge of the gospel but about me sharing what light I had with others and them sharing theirs with me. I met some amazing people and went to some amazing lectures. I was able to tailor my gospel learning to what I needed most and after doing so I have grown more in the last week than I have in the last five years.
I have truly felt that I had lost my way; that I would never feel that strong overwhelming spirit guide me and teach me through gospel learning. The last five years my ward, stake, and buildings have been in constant change. We are now on our 7th ward and going on 2nd stake. We have changed ward buildings 4 times and I am still in the same house.  Add all that in and my inability to make any lasting friendships and you have one lost soul. I felt as though I was drifting away from where the spirit could reach me. I just kept the saying in my head “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."- Maya Angelou
I am still in the same house but I feel as though I have moved a million miles forward. I got a push from the Lord to do better and be better. I’m not saying I came away from there converted to BYU. In fact, on the last day, last class, the instructor was saying why he loved BYU and showed a picture of a BYU football player and I had to choke down my vomit. I know where my sports loyalties lie, GO Utes! But, the spiritual growth and learning and experiences that I gained were so overwhelming that I cannot deny that being on campus and going to those classes were where I needed to be at that time.
I thought I’d lost it but the Holy Ghost is still here guiding me and the Lord still loves me and has a plan and a place for me. My future is still not mapped out. My to-do list is still here, but my resolve and my heart is full enough to get me through what I can do today.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

30 Days of Pinterest

Pinterest…it’s my new fetish. It’s like an online catalog of everything you could possibly cook, wear, make, visit, party, exercise, sew, and so much more. Yes I talk about it with my friends and with people I just run into. I’m nuts. I found while talking to people about this fabulous website that they love it too but never really get around to doing any of the stuff they have “pinned.”
“Wha…wha…what? Really?” I guess many people are viewing it as their daydream, time sucking website of choice. But, for me it’s a magical world into all things that are possible in my home and away. I have found the greatest activities to do with my family and recipes that I would never have thought of on my own.
I decided that I would take 30 days of my summer break from school to do all things Pinterest. Now not all of these were done one day after another some days I did more than one and others I did none but for thirty days I played Pinterest queen and had a blast doing it and my family did too.
Here is the review of my findings:

1. Gabe’s birthday was coming up and we are SO out of money. I had to create something good. He is always complaining that he never gets a back rub. I found this awesome shirt that Abby and I could make and we had a lot of fun coloring and deciding on the buildings that should be on the shirt. We put all the places that Gabe loves to go. The temple, Chunga’s (Mexican restaurant), Moab, Utah football stadium, bowling, Gold’s Gym, the park, our house, Maverick gas station, and the donut shop. We bought his favorite cars (Hot wheels size) Miata and Jeep, some chocolate, and a head massager and put it all in a box and labeled it Dads massage kit. He loved it and we had fun making it for him and “driving” all over his back.shirt *****
2. My friend Shanna has a daughter the same age as mine. She decided to be baptized just like Abby. Shanna asked me to bring a desert so I went to trusty Pinterest and found this pineapple sheet cake. I tweaked it a bit by adding coconut and nuts. I cooked it according to the instructions and it turned out really dark on top. Next time, and yes there will be a next time, I will cook it for less time. Everyone at the luncheon loved it. I brought the large pan home with two pieces left which lasted about an hour.pineapple cake J****
3. Oh in the summa summa time I crave a cool glass of lemonade and a big ‘ol scoop of ice-cream. This dessert had both. Pink lemonade freezer bars. I was so excited because I had everything already in my house. Ritz crackers, butter, frozen lemonade, and cool whip. I whipped this up quick. Sadly, it didn’t set up very well and it was SO SOUR! I think we ate 3 pieces and couldn’t take anymore. The garbage liked it more than us. pink lemonadeL *
4. Bobby pins, Can’t live with them can’t live without them. I love bobby pins for a quick pull back for both mine and Abby’s hair but they always end up everywhere. The sink is covered with them my nightstand the bathroom floor, Abby’s room, etc. etc. etc. so I saw this clever trick to use magnet strip and attach it to your cabinet door or inside side of drawer. I have a little wooden organizer I set on the counter that I put it on. It is fabulous! Easy to get to and they are always right there for me to get to. I think I needed a stronger magnet because mine fall at the slightest touch but the concept is great! ****
5. I am always looking for new ideas to say thank you to Abby’s teacher and this year her teacher was amazing. It was her first year teaching and she was great. Abby loved her and so did I. She let me volunteer in her classroom and works off many hours towards my own college courses. For the end of the year I wanted to do something to make her first year memorable. I saw these beach towels wrapped with a magazine and a treat and decided to throw my own twist on it. I knew her favorite color is red so I found a lounge chair towel that was red and had a large pocket on the end that you could fold the towel up into and carry as a bag when done. Since I had access to the entire class the day before school let out I had each student write their name on the pocket part of the towel and I painted on 2nd grade 2011-2012 so she would have it to remember always. I added sunscreen and her favorite treat. Voila! It was a huge hit. She came up to me on the last day and gave me a great big hug and thanks for making her feel so special. She deserved it! *****
6. Dinner time is always such a pain. No one likes to eat the same thing and a lot of the time my husband is allergic to what I want to make. This recipe satisfied us all. French dip crescents! Easy peasy I even had Gabe pick up the ingredients on the way home and we were eating less than 30 min later. Just crescent roll dough, roast beef from the deli, provolone cheese, and au jus dip and we had a winner.French dip *****
7. I hate sushi or pretty much anything fishy but I love the way it looks so pretty on the plate. I saw peanut butter banana sushi and thought “I would eat that.” Easy to make and was pretty good. A bit rich.  Abby and I could only do 2-3 pieces and we were done. ***
8. OOO for Gabe’s birthday I decided I would make a yummy meal. I did wild rice and mushroom stuffed chicken breasts wrapped in bacon. Need I say more? chicken*****
9. I love to decorate and July 4th is no different. I saw these great fireworks that you could make with toilet paper rolls. I just stopped at trusty Hobby Lobby and grabbed a few sheets of scrapbook paper and Abby and I were on our way to star spangled greatness. We stuck them in the planters on the porch and they look great! Of course I got carried away and ended up making wooden fireworks too and the look patriotic as well.*****
10. Keeping with the patriotic theme I decided to make a wreath. I saw the cutest one on Pinterest several months ago and it looked like it had been pinned a gazillion times. But since everyone I talked to seem to never actually get around to creating their pins I figured my door would be fabulous while they kept dreaming. It took about three hours which I spent watching Vampire Diaries and pinning little pieces of felt all over a Styrofoam wreath. In the end I was very pleased. I did change up the stars and painted wooden ones instead of paper. I figured it would hold up better.wreath *****
11. Hard water ugh! My shower enclosure is glass and sadly you can’t see through it. Okay so now I’m embarrassed. Again Pinterest gave me a recipe for greatness. HOT vinegar and dish soap. Mix in spray bottle and be prepared to be amazed. I have used vinegar before without this kind of results. I was blown away and now everyone I know now knows that my shower is clean. LOLshower *****
12. My glass cooktop is used a lot. And I am not the greatest cook in the world so spills are bound to happen. I have the fancy scrubbing brush but I can sit there for almost an hour scrubbing and not get the results I want. I decided to try Pinterest version of a stovetop cleaner baking soda and a warm soapy rag. NADA! I was disappointed. No such luck there either. Guess my stove top is destined to be dirty. Can’t say I didn’t try.stovetop L
13. Abby loves to sit in the tub. She will be in there for hours just playing with her dolls and chillin’. She is also a regular kid who is fascinated with glow sticks. Pinterest combines the two and Wow did she have fun. We put a blanket over the window to make it dark in the bathroom, filled the tub, and threw in the glow sticks. Awesome! I think I might have to try this on my own sometime. *****
14. Summer snacking is a nightmare. Abby is ALWAYS hungry. 10 min after dinner she is hungry. So naturally I turned to Pinterest and naturally it had an answer. One person had the idea that their kids had to pay for their snacks. The idea is that each child receives so much “play” money like 1’s and 5’s every Monday. Mom is then in charge of two boxes. One box holds proportioned snacks worth 1 dollar and 1 box holds proportioned snacks that cost 5 dollars. Then you have the free options. The 1 dollar options in my house include rice cakes, crackers and cheese, and graham crackers. The 5 dollar bin has cookies, licorice, and marshmallows. The free options are any fruits or vegetables, raisins, and nuts. If you plan it right the kids get few 5’s and more 1”s which eventually run out. Hopefully your kids will go for more free options to save up. Abby on the other hand uses all her 5’s in the first few days and lives on 1’s the rest of the week. If she comes to me saying she is hungry I just refer her back to the boxes or free list and that ends all arguments. I like it. I still get a little whining but it has died down tremendously and now I don’t have to go scrambling trying to find her something to eat she knows right where to go. snacks***
15. If it’s not “I’m Hungry” it’s “What can I do?” whined in my ear about 100 times a day. Ugh! Don’t kids just go outside and play anymore? Why does everything have to be planned and carefully orchestrated for our kids? Where’s their imagination and sense of freedom and curiosity? Granted my daughter is very creative when she wants to be and, I think, is the most social out of all the kids on our block but on those days when no one is available to play and she is BORED again I am left scrambling for something for her to do while I complete my chores or read a book. I came across an activity that looked like fun. Abby got a skein of yarn and created a virtual laser obstacle course up our stairway. It was great and kept her entertained for hours. Our cheap masking tape from the dollar store didn’t hold up really well so I would recommend painters tape for better stickiness to the wall. It was a lot of fun watching her complete her lasers and more fun trying to get through them when it was time for bed. It was even pretty funny when the dog couldn’t figure out how to get through. *****
16. I love fingernail polish if you didn’t already know from a previous post. Pinterest has so many different ideas of way to design your fingernails. My favorite which I have already done 4 times is water marbling. You get the colors you want on your nails and drip the paint into a cup (disposable) of water then swirl it around with a toothpick. This creates a marble effect. I prepare my fingers my masking them with tape then dip my finger into the paint. Voila! Marbled nails. It is super fun and gets quite a reaction from people wondering where you got your nails done. Abby loved it too. water nails*****
17. Another nail idea was to create the gradually darkening shade of polish. You get 3-4 shades of polish just a titch darker than the next and paint on a makeup sponge. You then place that on your nail for the desired look. I just couldn’t get this to work. My sponge kept soaking up the polish and I couldn’t get it to my nail fast enough. Big bummer; because it is a really cool look.nails *
18. Hair styles are all over Pinterest. So on my biannual hair coloring I headed to Pinterest first. I saw the prettiest red mixed with blonde and a great short cut perfect for summer. After describing what I wanted to my hair stylist she set to work making my hair look gorgeous. In the end I LOVE it and will probably go with the same look next time.*****
19. My daughter Abby has the worst hair. She is beautiful and her hair is a great color it just tangles so easily, takes FOREVER to grow,  and is a mess 10 minutes after doing it. I saw a style called Swedish piggy’s and decided to try it. I am a hair stylist by no means so Abby is pretty patient with me when I want to try something. It is just two piggies in the back crisscrossed over one another four times until you get to the neck and secure with elastics. It looked so cute and stayed in for two days.piggies *****
20. Another idea of designing fingernails was dipping the end of a straw in the polish and applying to your nail. I don’t know if my nails are really rounded or if I am seriously challenged but this did not work for me and ended up looking like a bunch of goofy lines on my nail. straw nails*
21. MMM I made the best cauliflower. Even Abby ate it and she does not like cauliflower. I just mixed all the ingredients in a sauce pan brought to a boil then put it in a blender and pureed it and poured it over steamed cauliflower. The sauce was tomato based and a bit spicy. Yummy cauliflower****
22. Another idea I used for the 4th of July was a fun popping drink. We had blue pop rocks and I wet the rim of our glasses with water then dipped them in the pop rocks I then filled the glasses with red crystal light and threw in the leftover pop rocks. Both Gabe and Abby looked over at me funny while I was drinking because I busted up laughing. Gabe had been saying something and the popping was so loud I couldn’t hear what he was saying. It was pretty funny. Will do again! Oh and with the leftover packages of pop rocks that I had I made “POP” corn. I made popcorn in our machine and then sprinkled the pop rocks over the top. While watching fireworks it was funny to see people’s reaction when they realized their popcorn was literally popping.pop drinks *****
23. I love little girls and their hair bows. I just think it tops off their personalities. I can make hair bows but wanted a little extra inspiration so I found a pin that described in photo every step in creating all different styles of bows. I also broke out the shrinky-dinks and stamps and made fun centers for them. Abby and I had fun playing with this one and we looked fabulous afterwards too.bows ****
24. Although I had the idea on my own I found a tutorial afterwards that shows how to make wands. Since Abby and I have started listening to Harry Potter I thought it would be appropriate to be prepared for all of those crazy spells and make some wands to play with while we listened. We used clay and made all kinds of crazy designs. This was a fun activity that easily took over an hour which included baking time. The tutorial I found uses chopsticks and hot glue with beads to create fun designs. I might try that next time.wands ****
25. Ugh I am so not motivated to exercise. Pinterest is filled with all kinds of ideas to get you up and moving. Abby and I tried a week of daily planned out exercises and they were pretty fun. If I could just stick to it we might have a good thing going.daily plan ****
26. Sticking with the exercise thing Pinterest has a pin linking you to a website that has all of those advertised workout videos for free. P90X, insanity, etc. Abby and I tried it one day and wow we are total wimps. It was still fun and we plan on doing it again when our week of no TV is up (details to follow on the TV thing). (update: link has been deleted guess someone found out they were free and canceled the link. Doh)*****
27. Tuna and cucumbers. This was amazing and we will have it again and again and again because they were yummy first off and secondly they were so fun and thirdly they were easy to make. I took a cucumber and made large slices, scooped out the seeds to form a bowl, made tuna salad, then put it in the cucumbers. YUMMY! tuna*****
28. Okay here’s the deal I love my hardwood floors they are beautiful and just the right color to hide most of the dirt but cleaning them is almost a half a day’s work out and I always end up with streaks so I find no purpose in doing it. (Don’t look closely at my floors) I looked on Pinterest and found a recipe for streak free floors. Vinegar, dish soap, water, and alcohol. Spay it on wipe it up. Nope didn’t work still have streaks and I mopped first so I know it wasn’t just dirt I was pushing around. Man I was hoping that one worked for sure.floor L
29. Love this next idea. Glad press and seal plastic wrap on your refrigerator shelves. This is amazing and I am surprised I didn’t think of it sooner. It makes for the easiest cleanup and if it is just small it wipes up. *****
30. I have a few purses but the few that I have I never know where to put them so they end up on my closet floor. Pinterest has a solution for that too. Go figure LOL. Shower curtain rings. Just put them around the rod in your closet hook your purse to them and you have a clean floor and a place for everything. (If you have heavy purses the dollar store rings are a bit flimsy)purse ****
31. Where I live there are countless numbers of rocks so this next activity was right up our alley. Abby and I went searching for big flat rocks and came home with a bucket full. Next we washed them and stuck them in a 350* oven for 15 minutes. while that was happening we peeled the wrappers off some crayons. I laid out some butcher paper in the backyard and when the rocks were done "cooking" we set them on the paper and set out coloring them. The crayons just melt onto the rocks making the most amazing watercolor designs. Abby didn't want to stop even when our rocks ran out. All our colored rocks are now decorating our planters and flowerbeds. Super fun activity! rocks*****
32. I have the best recipe for pizza crust and we love making pizza at our house because we can put whatever we want on it and customize it to each of our family members preferences. When Abby and I saw a pizza made to look like an angry birds character we knew that was perfect for us. It was fun shaping the crust and adding the toppings in just the right spots. When it was done cooking the image was blurred but was Delicious! pizza*****
33. I was asked to bring a dessert for our annual family reunion so I headed to Pinterest once again. I found a recipe for Crispy peanut butterscotch fudge squares. YUM! They weren’t hard to make and looked beautiful. Because it was a family reunion I made a double batch…Bad idea! They didn’t set up. They were so rich and gooey. Yummy! but messy. If I make these again I am doing a single batch and seeing how that works.butterscotch ***

34. And last but not least Pinterest is helping me plan my next vacation. (I’m hoping Disneyland) There are tons of pins about the best time to go the best places to stay and eat, and they even link you to Disney’s schedule and crowd estimators. How cool is that? When I do finally get my vacation I’ll be sure to tell you how each of those tips worked out.Disney

So there you have it my 30+ days of Pinterest. It’s not over I am finding many more things to do and have many pinned still to get to. So, for the most part, Pinterest has made my life and household a bit more energetic, organized, tasty, beautiful, and so much more. If you don’t believe me I challenge you to try actually doing some of those dreamed of pins and seeing for yourself how Pinterest can change your life...