Boo-booed Book Basket

Few things in our house are as “loved-up” as books.  So, it is no surprise that with 5 kids under roof a page gets torn here and there.  Thus was born:

The Boo-booed Book Basket.Boo-boo book basket 2

Now when a book gets a boo-boo, the kids put it in the basket and I can carefully tape it up and restore it for reading when I get a chance.  So, before you pitch a beloved book because you don’t have time to fix it, put it in The Boo-booed Book Basket and patch it up in your “free time”.

Caprese Squares

This appetizer is usually gone within seconds of being served.  The ever-popular combination of ripe tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil is complimented by a savory spread and baked on refrigerated crust, making it easy to enjoy with one hand so you can sip your Simple Summer Margarita in the other.


  • 10 oz package of refrigerated pizza crust
  • 2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2/3 c. mayo
  • 2 tbsp basil
  • 4 medium tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine Parmesan cheese, mayo, basil and garlic until smooth.  Set mixture aside.  Roll out pizza crust and sprinkle with 1 c. mozzarella cheese.  Place tomato slices evenly over cheese.  Spread mixture over tomatoes and bake for 15-20 minutes.  Let cool and then cut into squares before serving.  You may want to eat your fill before sharing them or you may not get one!!

Variation – To enjoy as an entree, cut larger slices and serve with a fresh salad.





Lantern Makeover

Lantern makeover before

I found these great lanterns on sale at the end of the summer season.  I paid around $50 for the trio.  I liked the looks of them, but the colors weren’t really my style.  Don’t get me wrong, they would have looked perfect on some fun and funky front porch.  However, my house is not really fun and funky…more like very traditional.  But with a can of spray paint, I got what I wanted! Lantern makeover 2

Homemade Grout Cleaner

The white grout in our powder room was starting to look a little dingy so I went on a search for a recipe for grout cleaner.  There are plenty out there, but this one met my number one criteria–I had all the ingredients already in my house.  It worked great at shining my floors right up!Grout Cleaner supplies

You need:

  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tbsp. baking soda
  • a large bowl
  • scrub brush and/or old toothbrush
  • spray bottle
Grout Cleaner before

Before cleaning……

Grout Cleaner after

After using the Homemade Grout Cleaner

I mixed up the vinegar, water, and baking soda in a large bowl.  You could also put it in a spray bottle but I didn’t have one handy.  I poured some on the floor and set to work scrubbing.  It also helps to have a couple of old towels handy to wipe up any excess.  Happy Spring cleaning!

Go Green (and Cheap) Window Cleaner

Spring Cleaning has just been made easier and less expensive…….

Here is a great recipe for a Go Green (and Cheap) Window Cleaner that is sure to let in all of the spring sunshine.


  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 squirt of dish detergent

Mix ingredients in an empty spray bottle and spray onto window pane.  Use paper towels (or if you really want to go green, you can use old newspapers) to wipe the surface clean.

This earth friendly mixture can also be used for counter tops and appliances.  I have also used it to clean every surface in my bathrooms as well as deodorize the concrete floor in the unfinished part of my basement.Voila!!

Creamy Lemon Pie

This delicious lemon pie is super simple and sure to impress.  For a yummy twist, substitute fresh squeezed key lime juice for the lemon juice.Creamy Lemon Pie 1


  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • prepared graham cracker crust
  • 8 oz. Cool WhipCreamy Lemon Pie 2


Preheat oven to 325*.  Beat yolks with a mixer.  Add sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice, and mix until thoroughly combined.  Pour into crust.  Bake for 30 minutes (until pie is set).  Cool completely, then top with Cool Whip.  Chill.  Enjoy!Creamy Lemon Pie 3

Scuba Diver Eggs

Give your Easter eggs their own scuba gear with this adorable idea.  Egg - Scuba Diver 2Ingredients:

  • hard boiled eggs (or you can use plastic eggs and skip the dyeing)
  • egg dye (not needed if you are using plastic eggs)
  • “bendy” straws
  • rubber bands
  • foam
  • water bottle caps
  • 3/4″ round label stickers
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun

Egg- Scuba Diver

Dye the lower half of the egg desired color (if you are using plastic eggs, mix the tops and bottoms for a better look).  Using the foam, cut out silly feet shapes for each egg.  Place rubber band at the top of the dyed part of the egg.  Cut bendy straws to desired length.  Place label on the cap and add eyes.  Hot glue the straw to the side of the egg.  Hot glue the feet to the bottom and finally hot glue the cap to the front.  Now your egg is ready for diving.  Cute right?!

Oz the Great and Powerful Party under $50

My daughter read the book, Oz the Great and Powerful and wanted to see the movie.  She decided that a themed 10th birthday party would be a great time to debut the film at our house.  My goal? – Throw a party my daughter enjoyed AND keep everything under $50.

I borrowed this sign from my cousin and hung it on the door to greet our guests.Oz the Great and Poweful party - signOz the Great and Powerful Party - tableThe table was set as the Emerald City with Dollar Store paper goods.  A basket adorned with balloons made a nice “hot-air balloon ride” centerpiece.

Emily wanted the food to go from black and white to technicolor and I made a banner with the phrase, “You are capable of more than you know.” -OzOz the Great and Powerful party - buffetOz the Great and Powerful party - black and whiteOz the Great and Powerful party - colorsWith the use of a stem of fake flowers from Walmart, I turned ordinary cupcakes into a field of poppies.Oz the Great and Powerful Party - poppy cupcakesThe bulk of the party was spent watching the movie in our basement.  I had recorded it on DVR, but it got deleted.  So, despite that fact that I had to buy it for $14, the party was still put on for less than $50.  Oz the Great and Powerful party - movieEmily enjoyed her party and all the little efforts made to carry out the feel of Oz.


Strawberry and Spinach Salad with Crumbled Blue Cheese and Walnuts

This salad is so perfect it can charm the crowd as an ideal side dish or steal the show as the main course.

Salad Ingredients

  • 6 oz raw spinach
  • 1/2 pound strawberries, rinsed, drained and sliced
  • 1/2 cup candied walnuts
  • 4 oz of blue cheese or Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Dressing Ingredients (mix and refrigerate overnight)

  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika

Toss the salad ingredients together in a large bowl.  Drizzle dressing as desired and toss.  It is likely that you will have dressing leftover.  Enjoy!

Star Wars Party Under $50

My son wanted a Star Wars party for his 7th birthday.  My efforts to pull off the theme met my little man’s expectations and that’s the most important thing (oh yeah, and that I was able to entertain for less than $50).Star Wars Party light saber wars 3The cake was simple.  Just a good old boxed cake mix, frosting and some clip art.  Also, adding Popems around the perimeter made all the kids salivate. Who knew?Stars Wars Party CakeThe rest of the food was simple.  A few munchies and some Star Wars gummies I scored at the grocery store.Star Wars Party buffetStar Wars Party gummiesThe best part of the party was definitely the Light Saber Battle using light sabers I made out of pool noodles.  I bought pool noodles from the Dollar Store and cut them in half.  I wrapped duck tape and black electrical tape about one end of each of the noodles to look like a handle.  The kids had a ball and there were very few casualties.  Star Wars Party light saber warStar Wars Party light saber war 2At the end of the night the kids watched Return of the Jedi.  Voila! A Star Wars party.  One little guest was quoted as saying, “It was the best party EVER!”