Thursday, August 25, 2016

Roasted Smashed Potatoes - August Pinterest Challenge

"Those potatoes were amazing!"

That's what my husband said after dinner the other night in which I served up Roasted Smashed Potatoes as a side dish to our baked fish. 

And I have to second his sentiments. These were pretty awesome! 

It's just red potatoes that you bake, smash, season, and bake some more. I bought a 1.5-pound bag of small red potatoes. You're supposed to smash them with a potato masher, but I didn't have one of those, so I just used a juice glass. 

The skin on these was crispy. The seasoning of salt, pepper, and thyme was just perfect. And who doesn't like roasted potatoes? 

Aaaaaand that's another thing crossed off my August Pinterest Challenge list!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Forever You & Me Scrapbook Page

I've got another scrapbook layout to share with you. This one literally took me two minutes to put together. Why? Because the page was pre-made! All I had to do was stick on the picture I wanted and I was done!

The papers and stickers on this were all part of a paper pad kit that I purchased WAY back in 2006! As I got down to the final couple of pieces in it, I just started putting pages together minus any pictures just so I could use up as much of the kit as I could and then get rid of the rest. This pre-made page has been in my stash for SO long! I'm glad I finally had a picture that fit! This picture is me and my husband at a wedding last June. Babies Junior was also in this picture - we just didn't know it yet!

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Mad Woman Upstairs - Book Club

Catherine Lowell's The Mad Woman Upstairs was my book club's pick for August. A book club member discovered it when it was recommended to her through her Kindle. Because we had read Jane Eyre several months ago and because we were looking for something light to read for summer, we decided that a fictional book about the last surviving descendant of the Bronte family sounded like a good choice.

Here's a basic synopsis:
Samantha Whipple is the last remaining descendant of the Bronte family on her father's side. Her father has died. Her mother lives in Paris. And Samantha is now a student at Oxford's Old College where she is doing everything she can to avoid talking about the Brontes. But there is speculation that a "vast Bronte estate" exists and that Samantha, much like her late father, is hiding it from the public. Samantha knows she has an inheritance from her father, but she doesn't know what it is! And he's sent her on a scavenger hunt of sorts to find it.
So Samantha is our main character, and then you've got a vengeful old man named Sir John who thinks Samantha really does know about the "vast Bronte estate", and then you've also got Samantha's tutor at school who is all broody and hunky (much like Mr. Rochester?) and wants to help Samantha without crossing inappropriate lines.

What did I think of the book? It took me awhile to get into. But once Samantha started getting clues from her dad, the book took on more of a Da Vinci Code quality, minus people getting killed, and I liked the unraveling of mysteries. It also made me curious just how much of the information Lowell included about the Brontes was real and how much she just made up to create a good story for this novel. Lowell was an English major at Stanford, so I'm guessing she studied the Brontes extensively, hence her ability and interest in writing a novel about them?

What did my book club think of this book? Well, only three of us showed up, and only two of the three read the book. But the two of us that did read the book had a good discussion about it! The other woman liked the book, saying that it was a fast read (she read it in one day!) and that she liked how it echoed Jane Eyre without being a complete re-telling of Jane Eyre. She, too, wished that an afterword had been included with the book giving us a little more backstory as to how the author came to write about this. I think it's safe to say that we would recommend this book to other book clubs.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Lantern Lights Part 2 Scrapbook Page

And here is the second part of the three-page layout for the pictures from the Lantern Festival. If you missed the first two pages, check them out here.

I had used photo pocket pages for the first two layouts, but I didn't do that with this third page because I wouldn't have been able to fill in the backside of a photo pocket page using whatever pictures were coming next. That's always the downside of the photo pocket pages!

The patterned paper is Sassafras Lass, and it's the same paper that I used for the title on the first page of this layout. The green background paper is Basic Grey. The journaling spot is also Sassafras Lass, and the butterfly was just something from my stash. I just liked that it gave some dimension to this layout. It's pretty!

I had so much fun taking pictures at the Lantern Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden. If they do it again, you should definitely go!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Cleaning Your Pillows (Or Replacing Them) - August Pinterest Challenge

I had every intention of cleaning and drying our pillows because, let's be honest, it hasn't been done since I bought our pillows a couple years ago. So I turned to this tutorial from My Frugal Adventures, and the very first thing you're supposed to do before you even start the cleaning process is determine if your pillows are worth the time it will take to clean. Meaning, should you just replace the pillows outright?

How do you do that? Well, if your pillows are crazy flat like ours were, that might be a good indication.

But for more proof, fold your pillow in half. If it flips back open, then it's alright and you should continue with the cleaning process. But if it stays flipped, it's a dud. Get rid of it!

Guess what our pillows did?

Not good.

So I hopped on over to Kohl's because I had a coupon. (When do I never NOT have a Kohl's coupon?) And I found some really plush microfiber and hypo-allergenic pillows on sale for $4.99.

Ahhhhh it feels so good to have nice new pillows! And it forced me to finally change our sheets. Win win!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Lantern Lights Part 1 Scrapbook Page

So last summer I went to the Lantern Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden. I wrote more about it in this blog post last year, but I'm just now getting around to scrapping the pictures I took at the event.

I had SO many pictures! It was very hard to decide which ones to print, and then I needed an easy way to get all of them scrapped! So once I narrowed down my pictures, I busted out the photo pocket pages to create these two layouts using horizontal 4x6 pictures.

Those glittery blue sticker letters are Recollections brand. And the paper is old Sassafras Lass papers. I liked the colors on the paper, which I thought reflected all the color of the Lantern Festival.

The back of the paper had these colorful flower sketches on them, which I also thought fit well with the Lantern Festival because there were (as you can see from the photos) light-up flowers within the show!

So, this is "part 1" because I still had several vertical photos that I just couldn't leave out. So I'm in the process of finishing up a solo page for the last four photos that won't use any photo pockets. It'll just be a regular page, but it will still use the same patterned paper so that all three of these pages are tied together. I'll share it with you soon!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Grocery Bag Holder - August Pinterest Challenge

This might have gotten done a lot earlier if people hadn't kept throwing away my empty Clorox Wipes containers!!

So, here it is: a grocery bag holder.

I don't know about you, but I always re-use plastic grocery bags as trash bags for our bathroom trashcans. Grocery bags are the perfect size for the smaller cans! But if you're like me, then you're stash of grocery bags might look something like this:

Never fear! The internet is here with multiple tutorials on how to take an empty Clorox Wipes container (or Lysol Wipes container, if you use that brand) and fill it up with your grocery bags. I followed this tutorial from Tatertots and Jello.

I did everything except embellish my container because, well, I just didn't have time or care to do so. But you can totally get on board with that if you want!

I like this because you get to re-use two things that would otherwise just get thrown away. And it clears up a cabinet that is overflowing with grocery bags.

And this crosses yet another thing off of my Pinterest Challenge list!