Thursday, March 1, 2012


Lic? Funny title to a post huh?
It's short  for Little Industrial Cart

I found it during my lunch break today at the ReStore.
I walked past it once, then again, then one more time.
Then I lifted up the little sides to make the tabletop larger. Then I glanced at the blueish patina. Then I looked over the adorable little casters. Then I saw the price tag. ($10) Then I smiled. Then I finished walking throught the store while thinking about LIC the whole time, worrying that someone else spied it, and was taking it up to the check out.

So I ran, skipped, shuffled, , walked briskly, back to LIC snatched it up, and checked out.

Now, what to do with it?
Should I use it in the playroom as a portable desk?
Use it as a snack tray for meals on the go?
Use it for surfing the web on the laptop?
Put it in my Etsy Shop when I open it this weekend?
Take it to the local consignment store and see how much it sells for?

So many decisions..what would you do?

Linking to:
Beyond The Picket Fence
five days five ways  feature friday free for all

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Angry Birds and Eating Fried Worms

My baby boy turned 8 on Monday!
Wow, has the time flown by! I can't believe that my little boy, who was 6 weeks early, and only 4 pounds when we left the hospital, is now to my shoulders, and big enough to be out of a booster seat!


This year we had a very difficult time coming up with a Birthday Party idea. Parents who live in cold climates, and have kids with Winter Birthdays understand my dilema.

1) The weather in Maryland is soo unpredictable. For example, it flurried on Saturday morning, and we had 40 mph winds, plus 30 degree temperatures. On Sunday, it was 60 degrees and sunny!

2) When your child wants to invite more then 10 friends and you live in a modest house, that is going through a remodel due to the flooded don't want to have a party at home.

3) 8 years old, well that means that we have had to come up with 7 previous party ideas for places, and it's no fun duplicating a party.

Here's the rundown

Age 1- Pirate party at home (just family and close friends)
Age 2- Bob the Builder Party at a local Kids gym
Age 3- Curious George/Firetruck Party at a local volunteer Fire House (Very cool party)
Age 4- Indoor Treehouse and obstacle course at Athletic Center
Age 5- Indoor Bounce House Party
Age 6- Pirate Party at Indoor Swim Club
Age 7- Ice Skating Party at indoor ice rink

Age 8- ??? What to do??

E loves Angry Birds, so I was trying to come up with a theme related to them. Like what??

Well...there is a local up and coming business close to our home that hosts video game parties.
So, I asked what E thought of that idea..and it was quickly shot down. I was surprised by his reaction, but when he explained that he wanted all of his friends to be together, and not in separate cubbies playing individual games, I understood.

When I went to the video game center, they showed me another option for a party. They have a Private screening room! It's awesome! It's a room with speakers lining all of the walls, and three levels of chairs, all leather, some reclining.  The movie screen is an 133inch HD screen where you can play the movie of your choice.

So, what movie could keep 15 8 year old boys (3 girls) interested in a movie theater that 's not too babyish, but fun? I had no clue!!

So I searched a mom forum, and found out about a movie from 2006 (the kids would have been 2) called HOW TO EAT FRIED WORMS

Angry Birds and FRIED WORMS...OMG, it was meant to be!!!

I repurposed an easle that I recently used at a bridal tea, and made it a Now showing board.
I decorated it with worm balloons that I found at party city, but I didn't get a picture prior to the kids deflating them.

I had all of the parents write down their names and provide cell #'s in case of an emergency,and told them to enjoy the next 2-1/2 hours...we'd see them when they came back!

I gave each of the kids a ticket stub and prior to them going into the theater I drew 5 tickets.
These are the 5 kids that would get to sit in the reclining chairs with E. I didn't want there to be any fighting, so I thought that this was the most fair way to do this.

I also gave each of the kids a glow bracelet and had them put them on. I instructed them that if they needed an adult during the movie, or needed to use the restroom, to raise their hand and someone would help them.
 (This was a pretty genius idea if I must say so!!)

Right before the movie started, I gave the kids a party horn, and told them that whenever they saw a worm or the word worm was shown, to blow their horms!! (This kept the movie interactive!!)

After the movie, we had popcorn, pizza, dirt cake, worm(jello) shots, giant marshmallows, licorice, gummy worms, spiral worm cheese doodles, worms(squirt cheese) on crackers, and a cake made by my neighbor!

Here's a glimpse of some of the party..

Notice that E and his daddy are wearing the same shirt!!

For goodie bags, I made Angry Birds and Pigs, thanks to this link that I found from The Party Animal.

I filled them with spiral straws from the dollar store, Angry Bird Gummie snacks from 5 Below, and a custom made cookie from my local bakery.

It was a fun and different party! And I've received messages form many of the parents about how much their kids liked it!!

Linking to:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Before- Basement Renovation

It's a little pre-mature to start taking about my basement renovation, but, I'm so excited about the recent progress that I can't wait to share!

Back in August, the East Coast was hit with a hurricane. Her name was IRENE!!
Our area was very lucky, as we had minimal flooding, winds were not as strong as suggested, and overall, mother nature was not as angry with us for this storm as she was for many areas North of Baltimore. Don't let me paint a picture in your mind that we just had a rain storm, we had a hurricane. A hurricane with strong winds, massive downpours, and our streets looked like streams! Tree limbs flew through the sky, trashcans rolled down the side streets, and electrical wires flashed with sparks as they fell on top of trees!

Portions of our neighborhood lost power for 5 days, many trees and power lines toppled over, and many of our neighbors, including us, were faced with sump pump failure due to power loss, or flooding of basements due to our french drains overflowing.

The above pictures were taken 2 days after the storm, as I stood on my fron porch, and looked to the left, then to the right. The electrical line in the second picture was a temporary line that BG & E installed after they hauled away an entire tree that was laying on top of the original line.

We were pretty lucky overall with damage to our property. None of the 3 60 year old trees in our front yard came down. They just lost a few dead branches and lots of leaves. And, our basketball hoop fell over in the driveway, and not on any of our vehicles.

The real problem was our basement!
Our basement was completely finished living space. It consisted of a family room, and a play room/spare bedroom.

Our home is a rancher, that was built in the 1950's. The homes that had a basement had a french drain. The drain is basically a trench that runs the perimiter of the foundation of the house that collects ground water and drains it into the sump pump to be sent back outside. You don't see the drain, as it's behind the walls. Well, our french drain filled, poured into the sump pump, which could not keep up with the massive amounts of water, causing it to not only overflow the sump pump, but to overflow the French drain, which let me remind you, runs the entire perimiter of our basement.


So, this caused the entire basement to flood. some spots were bad, some were really bad, and some were awful! At some points, we had approximately 6 inch deep water.(on top of carpet, and on furniture, and up the walls)

Our insurance company was not able to inspect our home for 1 week, and they allowed us to start the removal/clean up process ourselves. It took 4 adults, and one 7 year old 10 hours to remove all of the saturated carpet, padding, and wet furniture and stuff.

We each had a wet vac and did our best to absorb the water left on the floor once the carpet was removed.

We had to rent industrial fans, and remove the wainscoating from half of the walls, and spray for mold.

Here's some of the wet carpet in the bed of our truck.

We made countless trips to the landfill, and had a dumpster in the driveway for two months!

The progress of the renovation has been extremely slow. We are trying to do as much work as possible that we can do ourselves And, it's been a long process!

The list below is just a small glimpse of what we've been doing since August, in addition to working full time jobs, a part time job, running to and from birthday parties, basketball practice and games, volunteering at school, enjoying three holidays, overcoming food poisioning and the flu, being in a wedding, eating , and sometimes sleeping!!

Completed Projects
1)     Knock down the wall between family room and playroom.(Nice way to get out frustration!
2)     Install a storage closet in playroom New construction!
3)     Install a non-existent powder room in Playroom with above ground plumbing.(yikes) All new construction! (We hired a plumber to install a toilet and a sink with a macerator pump- the plumbing is exposed and above ground, as we did not have a rough in) ***BEST INVESTMENT ON THIS RENOVATION BY FAR!!!***
4)     Build an archway between two rooms. LOVE!
5)     Change lighting going down the steps.
6)     Install and finish drywall on 8 walls. My husband is a saint!
7)     Remove bi-fold door from furnace room. Easy peasy
8)     Replace door into storage room. I’m not happy with the look of this
9)     Install Antique Door on powder room Hung, just needs to be stripped and painted
10) Install Bamboo floors in new powder room. LOVE!
11) Install new electrical outlets, and replace old outlets. Thanks to my brother
12) Install new electrical switches. Thanks to my brother
13) Install bamboo flooring in the new bar area. LOVE!
14) Build custom “built- in wall” for storage, display, and television/media. (IN PROGRESS!!!)
15) Paint the playroom Done!
16) Buy furniture (IN PROGRESS!!)

1)     Build a bar
2)    Install carpet
3)     Paint the family room
4)     Install Brick wall
5)     Install new lighting
6)     Replace old ceiling tiles
7)     Install surround sound system 
8)     Decorate
9)     Enjoy!


Friday, January 13, 2012

Fu Manchu Friday

The Ravens are in the Playoff on Sunday! Caw Caw
 (That's the cry of a Raven if you didn't know your bird lingo!)

In Baltimore, every Friday during football season is Purple Friday, but this week it's even more Purpley around the city, and state.

Here's some of my co-workers from this morning!

One of the big trends right now, thanks to Joe Flacco, our Quarter Back is a Fu Manchu.

You know what a Fu Manchu is right?

Here's a few examples:

Dr. Fu Manchu

Joe Namath

Joe Flacco

Paul Sr. from Orange County Choppers

Hulk Hogan

My Dad

And now.....

Drumroll please.....

Introducing the newest Fu Manchu..

my son, E

Also known as

"Mini- Flacco"

Ah ha ha ha ha

I love it!!

Gooooooo Ravens!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Easy Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

My grandparents are Italian. We had pasta and homemade sauce all of the time when I was a kid. I was very spoiled to have sauce that was literally made with love, and the taste proved it! Mom and Pop would schedule a day during the week to make a "batch" of the sauce. They usually made it together, and it would be an all day event. All fresh ingredients, simmering on the stove for hours, and then portioned into containers to 1) be used for dinner,2) be distributed to my mom and aunt & uncle  or 3) to be put in the freezer for use later.

I would consider myself a sauce snob! (Funny I know)  I am not a fan of jar/store bought spaghetti sauce. My grandparents, who are now in their 80's still made their sauce, but not nearly as much as I wish that they did, and every once in a while I get a batch sent to me.

My grandmother gave me her recipe, and I feel soo lucky to have it. (And I'm not sharing it, it's a secret family recipe) However, it takes time..I I need to literally plan to spend a half of a day to make the sauce. And, unfortunately, its not feasible to make it on a regular basis for me.

In conversation with my sister in law recently, I was telling her about my dislike for jar/store bought sauces, and she shared with me a recipe that she found online.Thanks Donna!!!

The following recipe is from America's Test Kitchen.

-It's inexpensive to make

- It only takes about 20 minutes to make

- It taste really good

- You can tweak it to add additional ingredients to suit your taste.

- You can freeze it and it still taste great when it is reheated!

The recipe is called "QUICK TOMATO SAUCE"


This recipe make 3 cups which is enough for 1 lb of pasta.
 (If you are like me, and like sauce, I would double the recipe..that's what I did!)

2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/4 cup (one medium) grated onion (I put mine in a food processor, I don't like chunks of onions, so  if I can't see them, I'll eat them!)
2 medium garlic cloves (minced or pressed in garlic press) GET the Garlic Press from Pampered Chef!!
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes (Recipe suggests using Tuttorosso or good quality brand tomatoes)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons of coarsely chopped basil leaves
1 tablespoon of Extra Virgin olive Oil
Ground Black Pepper

(I add Freshly grated Romano and Parm Cheeses, and I use more Sugar then the above calls for)

Heat butter in a medium saucepan until melted.

Add onion oregano and 1/2 teaspoon of salt until liquid has evaporated and onion is golden brown
Add garlic and cook until fragrant (hmmm..garlic and onion are already fragrant right?)30 seconds

Add tomato and sugar Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Then lower heat to medium-low and let simmer until sauce begins to thicken..about 10 minutes. Take off heat, add in basil and olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

I add the cheeses prior to taking it off of the stove and I add  more sugar while still on the heat. (I'm a rebel!)

I also like to add pork or small pieces of chicken to my sauce

To serve, I scoop sauce on the plate, top with pasta, then add more sauce to top, and garnish with fresh parsley and more shredded cheese.

(Are you hungry??? look at that stove top, sauce is splattered everywhere)

I couldn't wait to eat it, I had to test it by dipping fresh Italian bread in the pan..YUMMM!!

Very quick, and good recipe!!

Try it, and let me know what you think!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Christmas- Came and Went

   I was asleep for most of the month of December. It came in like a freight train..and left just as quickly.
I did really well with the shopping, and organizing this year, and even had a husband Elf help me do a bunch of the wrapping, but it just didn't seem like the normal "Christmas Season" to me this year.

Maybe it was because we were forced to hear the Christmas carols in early November, or because the stores were stocked well before the Halloween costumes were displayed, or maybe because we have had an unseasonably WARM fall/early winter? I was literally wearing short sleeves and no jacket one day while shopping on Main Street.

I normally have the tree and decorations up by the first weekend of December, but this year, we didn't even attempt to get the containers out f the garage until the second weekend, and Scott and E  bought our tree at a Lions Club stand one week night in the pouring rain (while I sat in traffic driving home from work),and it sat on the porch for 3 days to dry out, and then stood in the family room for another 2 days until it got lights and decorations.

And now, here we are in the first week of January, and I'm actually loving the warmness and comforting feeling of the holiday decor, and the tree had to be taken down, due to the drying branches, and the weather is finally starting to feel like it should for Christmas! 

But,  I'm ready to start cleaning the house, de-cluttering, and donating things to Goodwill, and getting the house in order for the next holiday...Valentine's Day!

I want to share a few of my Christmas decorations/decor so that you can enjoy it as much as I did...even if it only lasted for 2 weeks this year!

For the past 3 years E and I make a "Family" Christmas ornament that we add to all of the gifts that we give to family and friends.

Here are those that we did in this year, 2010, and 2009

Our Front Porch
Antique Child's wagon with lighted presents and giant ornaments

Antique sled and Milk Jug

I bought both pairs of ice skates at Goodwill (It's difficult to see the black pair on the ground.
The scarf is mine, and the basket came from Homegoods, and the greens came from the trees in my yard

Here is my mantle in the Living Room..

 I just love this picture of E opening his stocking on Christmas morning..sitting on the hearth, laughing with excitement!! (Had to share it!)

The Coke Crate is a yard sale find that I purchased over the summer, and the ornaments are Vintage Glass  that I purchased at Goodwill.
The little "Charlie Brown" tree was given to me by my mom...I love this little tree!

More pictures of the Living room decor..
I love Apothecary jars! 

Pillow was made by Scott's grandmother, and the little Santa bear reads Twas the Night Before Christmas

The Coke Crate on the second shelf was my other yard sale find from the Summer. I purchased little favor boxes, and glued #1-24 on them and had a piece of candy inside each day for a homemade Calendar. 

The little mouse was one of my purchases from the Lucketts Holiday open house, and the Christmas Memories Book is one of my most treasured items. It was given to me at my Baby shower, and every year since my son was born we fill in a page. It's so much fun looking back at each year!

Lastly, Here's our tree from this year! It was beautiful! 9' Tall, and smelled Ah-mazing!
I don't have a theme for my ornaments, I've been collecting them since I was 13, so it's a very eclectic mix!

Ours was a very Merry Christmas, I hope yours was as well!