Saturday, March 24, 2012

Baked Oatmeal

Wow. I haven't been around here in a while! Shame on me. I guess I've been enjoying our unusually mild Wisconsin winter this year, which is just crazy. Even though it's officially spring, I'm still holding my breath for a random, fierce blizzard... at which point I would make a big cup of chai tea to go with this d-i-v-i-n-e baked oatmeal!

It's very easy to put together, easily serves at least 6, and you can throw it together the night before and bake first thing in the morning. If you go this route, store the prepped oatmeal overnight in the fridge for next day baking, or store in the freezer for another morning.

Baked Oatmeal
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs
3/4 cup raw or brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
3 cups regular or quick oats

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Beat eggs, sugar and butter together. Mix in baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.
  • Stir in milk and oats.
  • Bake for 35 minutes or until middle is set.
  • Optional: Serve topped with milk and a sprinkle of sugar.
To Freeze: Pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish and cover well. Freeze.
To Serve: Thaw overnight. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until middle is set.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Woke up early this morning because I had an appointment to get ready for after I taking Miki to school... or so I thought. Something nudged me to look at the calendar - Oh, look! My appointment was yesterday! *sigh* Really. What's my deal?

Since my morning freed up quite a bit, one the way back home I decided to go off our normal route and onto a little nook of a road. I love this "secret" road because it's off of a very busy city street, and once you part onto this small road, you feel like you've gone back in time and into a quieter place. This road is home to a convent, a cemetery, a school, and a church. The church was originally built in the late 1800s, and then parts were rebuilt after a fire in the early 1900s. We don't see many of it's style where we live.

I got dibs on the room with the balcony at the top.

They have one of these beautiful angel statues in every corner of their small cemetery, which is pretty ancient, from what I've read.

Was a pretty dreary day today. Definitely calls for a trip to the candy store.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

{ c.r.e.a.t.e } Oatmeal Canister Lends a Hand

This week, I was about to throw away an empty oatmeal canister... again. I wonder if I'm the only person who feels guilty throwing one of these bad boys in the recycle bin. There just aren't that many containers in this size and shape, and I know that I could put these things to use somehow. Well, it hit me this time. We desperately needed some extra storage for all of Lily's small toys that she accumulated this past Christmas, but it had to be something that didn't take up too much space - and this container was it. As is the norm when an idea hits me, I dropped everything else (I'm sure I was on my way out to throw out the trash and recyclables), and got together a few things to beautify the container into a small toy storage bin for all of those run-away toys.

You'll Need:
  • empty oatmeal canister (any type of container should work)
  • scrapbook paper
  • Mod Podge glue/sealant
  • foam brush
  • tape
  • embellishments, stickers, etc. (optional)
Ready? Go!

1. Size up your scrapbook paper to your container and cut to size. The paper may or may not wrap completely around the canister. Mine didn't, but since the paper I chose had vertical stripes, the exposed area blended perfectly with the paper. It looked like just another white stripe on the paper. Personally, I wouldn't have minded even if it was more obvious. It's a house for toys.

2. Using the foam brush, apply a thin layer to the entire outer surface of the canister.

3. Starting at the vertical crease of your container (if there is one), line up one straight edge of your paper and press it against the canister. Slowly do this as you go around the entire canister, making sure to press out any air bubbles.

4. Back to the foam brush and Mod Podge. Apply one last thin layer around the entire surface of your new canister and allow to dry (about 15 minutes). Tape down any paper edges for reinforcement.

5. Get creative! You can add stickers, little pom-poms, scrapbook embellishments, glitter... anything! Just remember what the purpose of your canister is and determine whether or not the extra embellishments will be secure enough and able to withstand lots of human contact (unless it's for decorative purposes).

I just happened to have this long sticker sitting in a drawer.
I used it to reinforce the bottom edge of the paper to the canister.
Couldn't have matched it up better if I tried!

Here's the top...

So there it is. Super duper easy and I used things that I already had on hand, which is always awesome. I had the alphabet stickers for a few years and got them from the Target dollar section (my weakness, my love). I got the paper from Michael's over the summer for a Father's Day craft and am sure it was on sale 5 for $1.00. The foam brushes came in a pack of 3 for $1.00 at our grocery store. So aside from the Mod Podge, if I had to run out and get the supplies, it would basically cost the equivalent of a latte. I'm happy with that!

Hmmm... already thinking of other ideas for the next victim empty canister.

Friday, January 13, 2012

{ c.r.e.a.t.e } Binder Cover Sheet - funner than it sounds. Really.

Soo, I have a homemaking binder that I actually rarely use. The good intentions were there, but for some reason, it's so much easier to throw papers on top of "the black thing" (armoir/dresser type... thing... that graces our kitchen) than it is to 3-hole-punch a sheet of paper and have it all neat and orderly, and in one spot. Go figure. As I was decluttering the top of "the black thing" today, lo and behold, I ran into my binder. In the clear view cover, I had inserted the 2-hour House Cleaning Checklist that I spoke about in this post. Well, BAM! Nothing gets you more motivated and screams "fun" than walking past your binder everyday (when it isn't buried under unfiled papers) and there's a to-do list staring up at you... and you haven't even opened the thing. So, for the first time in 2012 (and I am SO proud to say that!), I spent an hour and a half at the computer looking for different sites that would allow me to layer pictures, graphics and text. I was on a mission, and yes, it is amazing what motivates me.

I wasn't finding anything that I could easily jump into, until I stumbled into an online scrapbooking site called Crop Mom, and there was no turning back. And so, I present my *new* binder cover that I couldn't be more happier with! [drumroll please...]

See the two lovely ladies centered on the bottom? They totally remind me of my sister and me - I love it just as much as I love her! The only thing I didn't know would happen once I finished was the Crop Mom logo there in the corner. It covers up the cute little striped feet and a bingo card that reads "FROLIC" at the top. Frolic has been one my words for years. Seriously. Very underrated, in my opinion. Anyways, for this awesome service being for the most part free (and completely addictive), the logo is a small price to pay, and she deserves the shout out for such a kick butt website.

Ahh... it feels good to get that creativity flowin'! Now... let's see if a certain binder gets more sunlight in it's days, eh?  ;)

Friday, January 6, 2012

My Random Favorites - Pine Trees

For some reason, growing up in the northern midwest wasn't something that I was really proud of. I didn't hate it, but it wasn't something I bragged about either. I suppose when you see pictures of cities as fabulously glitzy as New York, Chicago and Miami, it's easy to think your state lacks a certain... luster. However, something changed in my reluctant heart about two years ago. My daughter started a new school outside of the city, and that meant daily drives past tree nurseries, barns, apple orchards, and a few chance encounters with deer (not always alive, but deer nonetheless). Another thing. Lots and lots of pine trees. They stand out so much more when they aren't competing with buildings, don't they? There is something so comforting to me about these trees... slightly odd, I know. Odd as in wanting to wrap a scarf around the teeny tiny ones that wouldn't even constitute as a table-top Christmas tree and giving it a hug. Yeah... that kind of odd.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wrapping Up 2011

Milwaukee's Red Arrow Park - photo credit

Wow. I can't buh-LIEVE 2011 is just about over. The older I get, the faster the years fly by. This was a very good year for our family, filled with a million plus blessings. And of course there are those moments I would rather forget, though I know next year I may find myself laughing at the thought of them... maybe. Here's a super quick wrap up of 2011 for me:
  • My daughters turned 2 and 8 years old this year.
  • I won the Rock the Lakes t-shirt design contest over the summer (woot!)
  • Finally found the perfect church for our family.
  • Was baptized!
  • Became a part of the children's ministy at our church.
  • Lily (youngest) began sleeping through the night regularly (yes!)
  • Went on more dates with my handsome than I can count - most dates this year than all of our married years combined!  
  • Reunited with my best friend, Jenny, in 2010, and used much of 2011 to catch up and see our kiddos play together. I'm still completely in awe at where God has led us through the years, together and apart.
  • Surprised the girls with a trip to Disney World!
  • Missed our flight to Disney - I can kind of laugh at the sight of me running through the terminals after screening, Lily in one arm (barely), barefoot, shoes in one hand along with carry ons, and a belt around my neck as I "cheer" Miki to keep running. 
  • Was asked if I was "expecting". (Nope. Can't laugh at that one yet.)
  • Hello Lilypops was born. 
I'm looking forward to 2012, and although I'm normally against New Year's resolutions, I do have a few things on my mind that I would like to take a look at in the New Year. More of that later. For now, I am finishing getting our house back in order after a very busy Christmas. It's amazing how much chaos can sweep through this place in the form of wrapping paper, bows, boxes, tissue paper, cookies and other things that make you go "yummm", toys and instruction manuals, and clothes. All blessings that are not taken for granted, but really makes for some frantic moments when all you're looking for is your phone while you're on you're way out to a third Christmas gathering. I spent today getting my little home back into shape, and am SO thankful for Money Saving Mom's: Whip Your House Into Shape in 2 Hours guide. I've mentioned Money Saving Mom in my Apple Butter post. She has so many helpful tools and ideas that I like to refer to from time to time, and her free, downloadable 2-hour House-Cleaning Checklist was a life saver. Confession:  If I'm sinking in disarray, it's very hard for me to just pick one spot and get to work. I get overwhelmed at looking at an overflowing sink of dishes when the floor needs to be mopped, the laundry needs to be done, the sheets need to be changed, bills need to be payed, and... you get the point. Lists are my best friends (if I actually stick with them). Now, I'm sure it would have taken me 2 hours, but I had some play time with Lily and a coffee break after finishing the first half of the list in an hour. With other distractions and minor interruptions, it did take me most of my day to get through the list, BUT, my little home is BACK and I can relax, enjoy Christmas vacation with the girls, and hopefully get some early shut-eye tonight!