Thursday, August 25, 2016

Multi-Grain Waffles - That Taste Good

You know how mainstream breakfast foods are actually desserts? Don't get me wrong, breakfast is without a doubt my favorite meal of the day. But pancakes, waffles, french toast, scones, biscuits and gravy - you name it. And face the fact, if you haven't already, that all of these delicious breakfast foods are usually made with white flour (which equals bad carbs) and usually slathered in syrup (which equals starting the day with sugar). I love me some white flour and sugar. But I am trying to cook as much as I can with whole grains and naturally occurring sugars which means a lot of oatmeal, homemade granola, and eggs.

However, I came across this delightful multi-grain waffle recipe about a year ago that is really tasty and satisfies the requirements for my idea of a "healthy" breakfast. So if you want whole-grains but you still want waffles and you want them to taste good, this is the answer, my friend:

Whole Grain Waffles
Makes about 6-8 servings
Adapted from


2 c buttermilk (or you can use 2 cups regular milk mixed with 1 1/2 Tbl white vinegar)
1/2 old-fashioned rolled oats

1 1/3 c white wheat flour (Use white wheat flour! The flavor and texture is lighter than darker wheat flours.)
1/4 c cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

2 large eggs
2 Tbl brown sugar
1 Tbl canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract


1. Pre-heat waffle iron.
2. Mix buttermilk and oats in large bowl and let sit for about 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, mix the next 6 dry ingredients together.
4. Add eggs, brown sugar, oil and vanilla to the oatmeal and buttermilk mixture and stir together.
5. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir together with a spoon or spatula until combined. Try not to stir too much. As you can see in the picture below, the mixture is going to be a bit lumpy with the oats and that is fine and dandy.

6. Pour about 1/2 cup to 1 cup (depending on how big your waffle iron is) onto the hot waffle iron and cook until ready.

Serve with butter, fresh fruit, cream, maple syrup, or whatever sounds delicious.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

$5 DIY "Canvas" Prints

Our living room is kind of a funny shape. It's long but not a rectangle; the stairs/closet take away a chunk of room by our angled entryway, and the bay window cuts out a corner of the room on the other side. It's just plain awkward, with a tiny wall by the kitchen and a loooooooong wall at the front of the house. Our television lives on the tiny wall, but what to do with the long one?

I wanted a trio of big family pictures! I also, as always, didn't want to spend a lot of money on them. I mean, we're renting this house,  which means a couple of things. One, whatever decor goes up here is temporary. Two, we're saving for a house down payment. Two compelling reasons to be frugal even if that wasn't already in my nature.

I have to say I'm pleased as punch with the results! I wasn't going to bother blogging about it, but both Elin and Mom asked for the link I roughly used and oh no! It's temporarily down or expired or something. So I guess I'll get to share after all.

I think there are a lot of tutorials for this floating around on the internet, though. The idea is to print high quality photos as an "engineering print" at Staples. Fact: the nearest Staples to me is 20 minutes away. It looks like you can also print these at Office Depot, but as their website was more troublesome, I went with Staples.

Another fact: I don't have very many high-quality images. Look, phones are so convenient for taking photos, alright? So... I just used my phone images and crossed my fingers that they would look respectable. Overall, I was pleased with the results! It's definitely not HD, but the pictures are pretty crisp and not pixelated. I started with just one print to judge the result. Better to lose out on $4 than $12 if you're not satisfied, right?

So online (or in the store, if you're so inclined), I created a Staples account and clicked on "Engineering and Oversized Prints." I chose B&W prints, ignoring the giant warning that these prints aren't suitable for photos. I chose the 24" x 36" size, which is the middle option. I love it, because this makes the print just the right size to go over a standard foam poster board. No need to buy foam board from Home Depot and cut it to size, though that is certainly an option if you wanted the larger 36" x 48" print. So after downloading my image, selecting the size, clicking the "Fit Content to Paper" box, and setting the orientation, I was all set to order my print. Before tax, this costs $3.59. Love it. One trip to staples and Dollar Tree later, I had my print and a $1 foam board.

Now, for the application. The blog that is regrettably down recommended a spray adhesive for best results. I didn't want to go alllllll the way across the street to home depot to search out her magic spray, so I had my modge podge and brush in hand, ready to make the most of what materials I already had.

But I was a little depressed. After all, I've used modge podge before. I know that it's so tricky to make the adhesion perfect, with no bubbling or wrinkling. So I didn't. I actually just folded my print around the board like a crisp Christmas present and carefully taped the edges to the back of the board with packing tape. I know this is a ghetto admission, but then again, we are using cheap prints on poster board, right? And you know what? I love it. The pictures are slick and smooth, taut against the foam board. I really don't miss the textured look. I used the wonderful Command adhesive strips to velcro my art into place, and voila! For $15, my big empty wall is filled with the faces of people I love.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Barbie Just Moved Into the Neighborhood

One of my favorite Christmases when our children were young was the year that my husband and our two oldest sons built the girls a Barbie house. This was in the days before cell phones and selfies, so the pictures I have of it are not even worth posting. But believe me when I say that it was a masterpiece. So it was hard not to get excited when  Delys suggested that we build one for her daughters.

I had saved my original plans (which I adapted from a house that my sister built for her girls several years earlier--thanks, Al!). I thought about posting them, but there are a lot of plans out there already, so I am going to focus more on the building details and decorations that might be a bit unique.

One of the joys of the project was pulling the whole family in. My kind son-in-law helped me assemble the frame work, and others helped with sanding, painting, and decorating:

The original plans called for only one attic room which had a door opening out to a rooftop patio. But Delys wanted more indoor living space, so our house has three full stories:

(It was challenging to get a good picture of the entire house because of where it is in her bedroom.)
Rather than try to cover everything at once, I will take a room at a time. So today, a few outside details and half of the attic. . .

The house has a pitched roof. Eventually, I plan to shingle it, but for now, it is painted white like the rest of the house. I also thought it would be fun to add a chimney and/or dormer windows someday.

I could have simply painted the front, raw edges, but I chose to trim them out with fluted wooden molding that I cut to length with my drop saw. It also hides the rough edges of the carpet and flooring, giving the house a more finished look. It's available at both craft and hardware stores. I applied wood glue, and then, using a tiny bit, drilled pilot holes through the molding into the front edges and then nailed it in place with finishing nails.

The house is made of plywood, so it is HEAVY. We added handles to each side to make it easier to pick up and move--something we don't plan to do often:

The attic rooms are the "children's" rooms. I connected the two rooms with an arched doorway that I cut into the wall with a jigsaw before I put it into the house. Both rooms are carpeted with a remnant from the carpet we have in our home. (I hope we don't have to pull it out to patch up a disaster.) I attached it to the plywood flooring with finishing nails. We used acrylic craft paint for the walls.

The room on the left is the "teenager's" room:

To maximize sleeping space, I made a bunk bed and trundle. I would share plans, but I don't really have any; I sort of made it up as I went, which is clearly evident if you examine it closely enough. I did look at this site which has the inspiration for the bed as well as darling plans for a house and more furniture: I made the trundle from a shallow wooden box, making sure that the bottom bunk was far enough off the ground to leave space for both the trundle and the bedding. Just for fun, I made all the bedding reversible:

The little rocker is a thrift store find, and the armoire was an unfinished piece I found on clearance at Michaels. The dresser is made from two drawers that I pulled out of a five-drawer dresser that was too large for the space. I simply glued them together and painted them white. (The other drawers will show up in the bathroom downstairs.) A blue wooden tray sits on top of the dresser. and a small, counted cross stitch sampler hangs above it. I used removable velcro hanging strips to attach everythng that hangs on the walls so that we can move items around without leaving holes in the walls.

So, Skipper, come on over!