So Here's My Life

The things we make,
the food we eat and
the shenanigans in between.

A blog about making things by

Friday, August 30, 2013

Hanging Instagram Wall Display

So Instagram. Huge Fan. Probably one of my favorite social media networks these days. Well, ok - it IS my favorite. Taking photos is definitely my thing. So when Instagram became available for Android users a couple of years ago, I was all over it. I had been super jealous of all those iPhone users with Instagram.

But after a while I realized I had a problem - so many photos, and no where to display them!  What to do?

Ta-da! Fun solution, inspired by Pinterest pins. And a great way to fill empty wall space. Plus it's cheap and easy! What more could you ask for?

Here's how I did it:

- Instagram photos (as many as you want - I used 27 4x4 photos)
- twine
- 3/8" binder clips
- 6 flat-head nails (not pictured)
- hammer (not pictured)
- ruler or tape measure (not pictured)
- hot glue gun & glue sticks (not pictured)
- leveler (optional)

Start by nailing 3 nails 7 inches apart in a vertical line. (I recommend using a leveler to make sure the nails are in a straight line.)

Next, measure 63 inches across from the top nail of your vertical nail line and hammer an additional nail. Now, add two more nails below, 7 inches apart to complete a second vertical line of nails.

Starting at the top left nail, tie a square knot around the nail with the twine. Stretch the twine across to the opposite end, loop twine completely around the nail in one circle. Pull twine down and loop around the nail directly below. Be sure to keep twine tight as you wrap around each nail.

Stretch twine across to nail on the opposite end, and loop around again. Pull tight, pull twine down, and loop around nail below.

Pull twine tight and stretch it across to the nail on the opposite side. Tie a square knot around nail and trim excess twine.

Now hang up those awesome Instagram photos you've acquired with the binder clips!

A couple of tips:
 - Keep the twine tight as you loop it around each nail. It's best if you re-tighten after each loop. This project is doable by yourself, but it's easier if you have someone else to help you so they can hold the twine tight as you loop and tie knots.
- A leveler is not necessary, but very helpful to assure that everything ends up straight.
- I used the Walgreens app to print out my photos. The frames around some of the photos were not evenly trimmed. I think next time I get photos printed, I'll order them in 4x6's instead and trim them myself. Or use another printing company. Any suggestions? 
- I found it hard to make the knots tight in the place I wanted with the twine, so I ended up using a dab of hot glue behind the knots to secure them to the wall to make sure they stayed put.

I ended up printing 87 photos. Yes, I really did. So I have a couple more Instagram projects up my sleeve. I'll share them soon...once I finish them.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Six Recipe Substitutions For Common Ingredients

So you know how you found that awesome recipe on Pinterest the other day? You've been dying to make it and have finally found the time. So you pull out the ingredients only to realize that it calls for buttermilk. Buttermilk? Who keeps buttermilk in their fridge on a regular basis? And why?? Now what? You can save it for another day when you finally remember to add that missing ingredient to your grocery list OR you can substitute. Oh yes.

Here are 6 substitutions for commonly used (and forgotten) ingredients:

If you don't have lemon juice
1 teaspoon of lemon juice = 1/2 teaspoon of white wine vinegar

If you don't have cake flour
1 cup of cake flour = 1 cup less 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

If you don't have buttermilk (because seriously, who does?)
1 cup of buttermilk = 1 cup of milk plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice or 1 cup of plain yogurt

If you don't have brown sugar
1 cup of brown sugar = 3/4 cup of granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup of molasses

If you don't have heavy cream
1 cup of heavy cream = 2/3 cup of milk plus 1/3 cup of melted butter

If you don't have ricotta cheese
1 cup of ricotta cheese = 1 cup of cottage cheese

And just for the record, I refuse to buy buttermilk. Because it never gets used unless it's for a recipe. And then I end up with a bunch leftover buttermilk to spoil in the fridge. So much easier to substitute.

What do you guys do? What ingredients have you found to substitute when you're in a pinch?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Breakfast cookies

Let's talk about food. Specifically dinner. Do you like making dinner at the end of the day? I don't know about you guys, but I used to dread making dinner. Dread. Around 3 PM I would start thinking, "Hmm...what am I going to cook tonight?" And then I might start flipping through my recipe books or my Pinterest boards for dinner ideas. 4 PM would roll around and I still wouldn't have a plan (because it's not like I actually had all the ingredients for those recipes I was looking up anyway). Enter feelings of dread. Then between 4:30 to 5:00, I would start rummaging through the fridge and pantry. Shortly after 5 PM my husband would call and let me know that he was on his way home. At this point I would grab some sort of meat from the freezer, toss it in the microwave to defrost, and quickly throw a bunch of ingredients together and call it good.

It's not that I hate cooking, 

...but I hate the planning part. Enter Shrinking on A Budget. It's a weekly recipe planning service that focuses on weight loss, keeps your grocery bill relatively low, and even uses Weight Watchers points. SOAB (aka Shrinking On A Budget) provides recipes for 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 snacks, 7 dinners, 7 sides to accompany each dinner, and 2 desserts. AND to top it off, a  categorized grocery shopping list is also provided. (!!!)

I love this! It's like SOAB knew what I was thinking before I even realized I was thinking about it! I love that I no longer have the late afternoon dinner-scramble. It's already planned for me! And I really love no longer having to write out a gigantic shopping list of ingredients to purchase. Instant relief.

So here's what I'm getting at...

My family and I have enjoyed some of these recipes so much that I want to share them. Not all of them. Just some of our favorites.

Today I'm sharing a recipe for Breakfast Cookies. These cookies remind me of oatmeal cookies. But more like a giant fluffy, fall flavored hunger-satisfying cookies. After you finish one, you'll be like, "Wow, that was so amazing I want another, but I don't have any more room." Dilemma. But the good kind. The combination of cranberry and pumpkin flavors are the perfect recipe to put you in the mood for the Fall season. So far this has been one of my favorite recipes. It's relatively quick and great to make ahead of time for a busy morning. And it's fun! Who doesn't like to eat cookies for breakfast???

Breakfast Cookies


2 Tbsp Craisins
1/4 cup Fiber One Original Cereal
1/2 cup Old Fashioned Oats (not instant)
6 Tbsp Flour
1/4 cup of Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup baby pureed peaches (approximately a 4 oz jar)
1/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/4 cup Egg Beaters (or 1 egg if you don't have Egg Beaters)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Chop Craisins into small pieces. Set aside.

Grind Fiber One Original Cereal into a breadcrumb-like consistency in a blender or food processor.

In a small mixing bowl, add ground Fiber One, old fashioned oats, flour, Splenda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, add baby puree peaches, canned pumpkin, and Egg Beaters.

Mix well. Add liquid mixture to the dry ingredients, and stir until completely blended. Slowly sprinkle chopped craisins into the batter, making sure they don't all stick together.

Spray a large baking pan with non-stick cooking spray, and spoon batter into 4 evenly spaced circles. Place pan in the oven for 12-14 minutes or until the tops of the cookies are set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

Terrific, right? Now go to the kitchen and make them right now!

All of the Shrinking on a Budget meals have been shared with permission and I am not being compensated in any way for promoting the meal plans. I definitely recommend you check out her website. It has made my afternoons so much easier. Do any of you subscribe to Shrinking On A Budget?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Where have you been?

Have you missed me? Say yes. Even if you don't mean it. Humor me.

In case you missed it, which I seriously doubt you did, I had a baby. Almost a year ago. When I got pregnant at the beginning of 2012, I had hardest time doing anything other than laying face down on the couch and sleeping or puking in the toilet. Basically that's how my entire pregnancy went. Mostly. Good times. Not really, but totally worth it for the baby.

Our second baby was born at the end of the September after a week of on again/off again labor. So aggravating. This time around I chose not to have a birth plan, simply because I wanted to be flexible. My first son's birth didn't go quite how I hoped or planned and I was a bit disappointed (I wanted to go natural but wasn't rested enough to make it to the end). So this time I didn't plan. I probably would have attempted to do a natural birth again except for the fact that labor was frequent during that last week, that I was too hungry or tired to even consider a natural birth. (I lost a LOT of sleep that last week, and wasn't able to eat much either). When it was really time to go to the hospital this time, I just wanted an epidural so I could sleep and I wanted that kid to come OUT. And he did. About 12 hours after we checked in.

{Check out that awesome lanugo hair on his back. Such a hairy little guy}

7 lbs 10oz & 20 inches long. He looked a lot like his brother but shorter and fatter. But just a little. :)

So then after I had the baby I was super tired (of course). And I nursed this little guy. So there was no taking turns during the midnight feedings with Joel. He started sleeping for 12 hour stretches at night at the end of December, so I got more sleep at that point. But somehow between caring for an infant as well as a preschooler, I was still tired.

{Christmas Eve}

Summer proved to be chaotic and although I was rested when summer started, the chaos of summer undid my restful demeanor. We took a road trip to visit Thomas the Train, replaced the entire downstairs floor (I'll blog about that soon), my husband had about 123,897 business trips (summer is the busy season when you work in the IT field), I got super sick with a crazy sinus infection that knocked the socks off the doctors, and I managed to over-exhaust my infant and he started waking up at the crack of dawn (5:30 AM). It took FOREVER to figure out how to fix that one. (Let me tell you how awesome it was to get up at 5:30 AM with a tired baby while you are super sick and your spouse is out of town. Basically I wanted to cry those days. But I didn't. Because I'm tough. Not really.)

{Thomas the Train!!!}

But things have calmed down now. I've been on a crazy amount of antibiotics (and my face doesn't hurt from the sinus infection), the busy season is coming to a close for my spouse, the baby is sleeping until 7 AM again, our floors are done, AND my older son started preschool!

{I think this is the funniest photo ever, specifically because the older kid is accidentally covering his face and it looks like I'm about to drop the younger one. His facial expression is priceless. He is SO the younger sibling. I laugh out loud every time I see this photo.}

So basically what I am telling you is that I had to take a break from blogging between pregnancy and the first year of baby #2 because I was tired. And the thought of blogging during this time was not something I could manage. I know plenty of people manage to do both during those times, and basically I think they are like amazing. Super mom. Not me. But life has calmed down. And I'm not tired like I was before. So I'm back. Did you miss me? Say yes. ;)