May 29, 2013

The Pintester Movement - Homemade Jewelry Cleaner!

Posted by Ethne~

Holy $h*tsnacks, dudes, Pintester is having a challenge!  It’s the Pintester Movement, y’all. 

You know Lori and I love a challenge; as a matter of fact, we love finding Pinterest challenges, like here and here, and reporting to you guys about it.  Our husbands also love when we do these projects.  Like, they throw up in their mouths when they hear a new craft is afoot.

This is a dramatic reenactment of the look Lori and I receive from our husbands when we tell them we have a new project to do.  Gracias to this tiger from the Omaha Zoo for his mad skilz at husband-facial-impressions.

But unlike normal challenges, Pintester practically begs you to FAIL at pins.  That’s not the full truth.  I’m fairly certain she said she’d take successes and failures from us Pintestes, but since lots of her tests are flops and I enjoy laughing at her flops, I figure TEST FAIL is a fine goal range for the Pintester Movement.

I wanted to keep in the spirit of Pintester – my interpretation anyway. She tests stuff she pins that is either so stupid she has to try it on our behalf or stuff that we all wish we were already trying ourselves.  Throw in a whole lot of substitutions (she doesn’t go out of her way to buy ingredients for tests), some alcohol and (my fave) a lot of cussing and you’ve got a winner.  So for picking my test, I wanted to use something I had already seen/pinned on Pinterest and wanted to try; and I didn’t want to have to go out of my way to procure ingredients.  Also if the test failed, that would be totally rad.

I looked at a few baking options and narrowed down to these delicious-looking sugar cookies or homemade peanut-butter cups, but I’m not total crap at baking, so there wasn’t enough of a window for failing.  I therefore decided on a few projects related to cleaning (which I am crap at) with baking soda.  One involves making homemade jewelry cleaner, originally pinned from here.

I wear my Pandora bracelet, wedding ring and a right-hand ring every day.  I never take my rings off unless I’m making meatloaf.  They could use a cleaning; the Pandora silver is pretty tarnish-resistant (they made their own sterling silver concoction apparently, no lie) but I still wear it everyday so it's probably loaded with germs for starters.  (I didn’t clean the charms because the reviews for this cleaning recipe said that it can remove the intentional oxidation/black shading on stuff like my charms and I didn’t want that to happen.)

I cooked 1 cup of water for 2 minutes in the microwave, and prepped my cereal bowl with a piece of tin foil to fit in it.  When the water was ready, I put it in the bowl, added the 1 T salt, 1 T baking soda and 1 T Dawn dishsoap and stirred it around till it was mixed up.  Then I put the tin foil into the bowl and placed my jewelry pieces on top of it.

I let things sit for the full 10 minutes.  While it worked its magic (and it worked, check out the pictures), Shaun said, “why do you always do stuff that smells like farts?”  He wasn’t kidding.  Whatever was going on in that bowl smelled like a$$. 

That black stuff on the cloth rubbed off the bracelets.


So, since this test totally worked, and I completely recommend it, I’m sorry to report that it’s not a fail.  To make up for any disappointment, I’ve attached this here link to when I tested that homemade leg wax on myself.  That was proper failure.

May 28, 2013

There and Back Again - Omaha in Pictures (minus the zoo).

Posted by Ethne~

Hey dudes!  I hope you all had a lovely weekend.  We spent the Memorial holiday in Omaha, Nebraska, with Dad and Mom Connie.  We planned to visit, but it was also perfect timing for Connie’s retirement party after 30 years with the National Park Service!

First, I must congratulate my children – they were PERFECT travelers.  Shaun and I timed the Dramamine application to the letter apparently because there was no puking, there or back.  It was awesome.  We also kept them busy with movies, snacks and activities (or the occasional nap) and they were great.  Whew.

We made my dad’s famous Fort Guacamole.  I took pictures but forgot to write down the recipe.  Seeing as I made it for the party, I think I can jot it down from memory – you know how I hardly follow recipes anyway – and I’ll share it with you in a few days.  [Stay tuned because tomorrow, May 30th, is a post I did for one of our very fave blogs, Pintester - a challenge to her readers to test pins we saw on Pinterest.]

Anyway, Connie’s retirement reception and party were great; we took a walk across the NPS’s mile-long suspension river bridge on a windy-a$$ day; we took the girls to the Omaha Zoo; and we spent time with my stepsister, Alicia, her husband and their girls – KD & Easy Mac loved playing with their cousins.

In all, it was a marvelous time.  We all reflected on how GREAT the girls were, and since we’ve had some behavior difficulties with them lately, and have worked hard at modification of said attitudes, that was much-appreciated reinforcement.

Don’t work too hard on your last 3 days of work Connie!  Thanks for the wonderful weekend!  xoxo 

May 27, 2013


Posted by Lori~

Wow!  What a whirlwind weekend!  My nephew Jordan graduated from high school.  We planned and threw the party, attended graduation, and even volunteered at Operation Graduation (the after grad party thrown by the parents).  I AM EXHAUSTED and promise tomorrow to have a photo update from all the festivities.

But first, I wanted to show you the cupcakes for the party courtesy of Pinterest!  And they turned out adorable!

You take mini peanut butter cups and small squares of chocolate.

Attach them using frosting or melted chocolate.

Use rope licorice and a M & M to make the tassel.

Frost your cupcakes!


Jordan (the graduate)!

May 23, 2013

A Hard One to Write.

Posted by Ethne~

In high school English we had to write a eulogy for a girl we never met and knew nothing about, based upon a few facts.  I’m thinking about that now as I write this post because what I’m really thinking about is Zach Sobiech, the 18-year-old who just passed away from osteosarcoma cancer Monday.  I don’t know him.  I just heard about him in the news.

You may have heard about him too.  He had the number one song on iTunes on Tuesday, “Clouds”.  His songs continue to climb the charts and “Clouds” has over 5 million hits on YouTube.

In the news stories, Zach said that when he found out he had a year to live, he decided he was going to try to live a lifetime in that one year.  (You can read about him here and here.)  His songs were good-bye letters to his family.  I pray the girls, Shaun and I have our full lifetimes.  I also pray we live each day fully.

I suppose Zach can never leave the mark on us strangers that he will leave in the hearts of his family and friends.  But he has touched 5 million people with his music.  And they hope to raise $1 million from his iTunes sales – all of which goes to his fund for cancer research.  That’s a pretty big footprint for someone who wasn’t even 18 a full month.

So as we left for Omaha this morning, the radio show mentioned that Zach’s funeral was this morning and played a little part of “Clouds”.  I cried.

Then, as we drove through a cloudless Iowa, Shaun and I debated the outcome of the Supreme Court’s upcoming decisions (I am not lying, we’re nerds) and I juggled the girls’ video devices and snacks.  After Des Moines, and having exhausted such scintillating topics as wind turbines for power, cattle mating and the death penalty (this was our version of living life fully as we drove across Iowa, I guess), I decided to fire up my phone and found “Clouds” on YouTube.  I cried, a lot, just as we entered sunny Nebraska.

And I looked up and saw a “Z” in the clouds in the sky.  The only clouds in the sky.

The slash across the bottom was very clear in person.  The streak on the right was from a plane going by just then.

May 22, 2013

Garden Plans in Motion - green beans!

Posted by Ethne~

Holy cow, we’re at the end of May almost – somehow I crammed what feels like 6 month’s worth of work into the past few weeks.  I have hardly gotten onto the internet to check out our favorite blogs, do creative cooking or activities, or even check CNN to keep up with the Jodi Arias trial – I know, right? (Luckily Lori is my bff and keeps me in the know.)

We leave tomorrow for Omaha to visit Dad and Mom Connie.  She’s retiring next week from her career with the National Park Service and so we’re celebrating.  The girls consider this our “summer vacation”.  Whit’s coming too, so it’s going to be a Griswold-style road trip up in here (pray for me – Emma gets motion sickness).


I had brilliant plans to show you pictures of the girls’ first soccer practice, since that was supposed to be today.  But – OF COURSE – it was cancelled due to inclement weather.  I am thankful, of course, that the weather is just annoying and not a safety hazard, unlike down in Oklahoma.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to those folks.  I am thankful that our family friends from Norman, OK, are okay.

Lastly, guess what we’re growing in the garden this year?!  Green beans!  Specifically, pole beans, from seed.  Thrifty Nana (my mom) suggested the pole beans (since we have limited space) versus bush beans and said no point in buying plants when we can grow them super easily from seed (cheaper too).  So that was last Sunday’s task, between rain showers.  We’re also growing a whole bunch of dill (in pots).  What does this add up to?  You guessed it – we’re going to pickle our green beans a la Barb Slagle’s dill pickles. 

I got the idea from Shaun’s cousin, Tom, who gardens and pickles everything – he’s awesome – when last Christmas I ate so many of his dill pickled green beans that he gave me a jar.  I told Shaun this year that I wanted to grow cucumbers for pickling and he suggested that I do Barb’s pickles with green beans instead because my garden is small and we can, basically, get more bang for our buck with green bean plants.


I also planted one grape tomato plant (Tami G hybrid) since the girls love to pick and eat those right off the vine.  How could I refuse?

I will keep you posted.  I am so excited!  When the bean sprouts pop up, I’ll share some pictures.

Reporting in tomorrow from Omaha.

May 21, 2013


Posted by Lori~

Thank you to the blog Our Fifth House for hosting yet another link-up party!  This link-up party is all about the outdoors and decorating.

Unfortunately, I (along with Ethne) haven't been able to get into the yard too much yet, because IT WON'T STOP RAINING!  

My husband is currently in China and so Mom/Dad visited and Dad had to show me how to start the lawnmower (yes, I didn't know how).  But, I haven't been able to use it yet, because it has been raining NON-STOP!

So, when Our Fifth House announced this link-up, I knew immediately what I would feature for my outdoor decor.

My in-laws recently gave me for my birthday gift an awesome plate flower for my yard.  These are home-made, put together with random dishes, and were purchased at the area flea market.  

They actually use a copper pipe and a spoon to attach the flower to the stem.

I LOVE IT!  It will look even better when the "real" flowers are in full-bloom mode.


May 20, 2013


Posted by Lori~

Remember here, where I showed you how to make sturdy boot inserts using pool noodles?  My cost was FREE.  However, you can purchase a pool noodle for $1.00 at your local dollar store.


Recently, I was at TJ Maxx and found literally the same thing (I suppose with a cute fabric exterior).  I couldn't believe it!?!

The price-tag was a little more ($7.50 on sale).  WOMS:  you can buy it, or you can make your own!  Maybe it wasn't an invention after-all.  However, my version is MUCH CHEAPER!


May 19, 2013


Posted by Lori~

What if I told you that my girlfriend and WOM-MOM follower Shelley went to Big K (aka K-Mart) in my little city, ND town and spent 34 cents on this:

NOT KIDDING!  K-Mart in my little city, ND town is closing and today was the last day it was open.  This morning it was at 90% off everything and I was there (and I spent just over $20.00 with huge savings).  But by later in the day, it was at 99.9% off.  Shelley's bill was supposed to be over $250.00!  Her total savings were $251.34 and here's the receipt to prove it!

Not good news for the people that lost jobs, but the savings WERE CRAZY!!!!  Better than a garage sale and even better--the items were brand new!

May 16, 2013

2013 Fairy Garden Reveal!

Posted by Ethne~

Friends, I can finally reveal the girls’ fairy gardens!! (Since it’s finally been nice enough to do them.) 

I found the darling miniature plants for $2.99 at Bachman’s, our local higher-end greenhouse (I tried Home Depot first since I’m kinda loyal, but no dice).  The pine-tree-esque rosemary plants will be perfect – those were $3.49.

I got each girl a new fairy accessory – KD got a teeny watering can to go with her vegetable garden.  Easy Mac got a pennant banner to make her fairy’s flower garden a party.  Those were about $5 apiece.

The clay for the veggies, white picket fence, wee pink tiles for Emma’s patio (not finished yet and missing its bench) and fake flowering shrubs were from Michael’s, all for around $20 (most stuff was on clearance and less than $2 individually).

When I chose the itty-bitty plants, I had to take a few guesses.  Besides the rosemary to be pine trees, I picked a small, low, tiny-leaved plant to be grass-like and something fern-like for each girl’s garden.  The plants weren’t marked as to what they were, or whether they were sun- or shade-loving, so it’s all a guess.  I’ll hope for the best, but at least I’ll know they’re guaranteed miniature this year!!!

I chose the overall plant arrangement, but then let the girls do the decorating.  KD got to pick where she wanted her veggies to go in her garden.  Easy Mac got to help decide where her river would be, then put the river gems down with me.  They had on their kid-size gardening gloves and couldn’t wait to water everything.

Easy Mac's: see the wee shepherd's hook Daddy made with the lantern on it?  And the squinkie gnome?  Beneath the lantern will be Emma's pink tile patio, bench and mini flower pot.
Tomato plants, lettuce and carrots hidden back there.  Isn't that watering can cute?!

So much fun!

May 15, 2013


Posted by Lori~

I have been talking about Quantum Leaping-It for some time (you know....getting my body back to it's 1996 shape).  Well...I have MAJOR LEAP FAILED SO FAR!

I stepped on the scale and almost FELL OVER!  I weigh-in at the same weight I was when I was 9 months pregnant with Mur-Man and I almost died.  TALK ABOUT DEPRESSING!

Not only that, but Steve and I are talking about adding another child to the mix, but I DO NOT want to tip the scale anymore.  

Ethne said, it's time to do it!  Either lose it or get preggers!  And so, I am motivated (once again) lose it.  

I credit my success so-far to the website my fitness pal!  I LOVE IT!  It's so simple.  I have 1200 calories/day to eat.  I track all my food and it does all the work for me.  I especially love that I can plan ahead for dinner out.

You search for looks the food up, gives you lots of options, and tracks your calories, fat, etc. for you!
And Ethne's doing it with me too (she doesn't need to), but that's what Besties are for....right?

CHECK-IT it's FREE!     

May 14, 2013


Posted by Lori~

This is Shane:

Shane is a national champion rabbit breeder!  Shane also worked on my housing staff at my little city, ND college.  I asked Shane if he would bring the bunnies to daycare and he agreed!

THEY LOVED THE BUNNIES!  They loved petting the bunnies!

This is Mur-Man:

He was thrilled for the bunny visit!  Thank you Shane!

May 12, 2013


Posted by Lori~

One of our favorite blogs Our Fifth House recently started a style soiree link-up project challenge where they will feature a different designer that you need to try to re-create.  This week's link-up is Kate Spade.  And so, I went online looking for some inspiration.  And, I found LOTS.
I LOVE this Kate Spade pillow.  And actually, I had made something similar
a few posts back using burlap.  Check it out here.
I LOVE this Kate Spade inspired canvas created here.
I found this dish on Pinterest and KNEW I had to create it.
The tutorial instructions were here, but I made a few changes.
I took a "mostly" white dish.  This one was actually in the rummage
pile ready to be sold, but I decided to breathe some new life into it.
Notice:  It does have a hint of blue on the edge, but who cares!  IT WAS FREE!
I ended up using a silver Sharpie marker, hole punch, and manilla
envelope (as my stencil).  The instructions called for nail polish,
but this seemed to work just as easily plus I had all the supplies!
Keep in mind, you CANNOT eat on this dish and the design
WILL NOT survive being washed in the dish washer.
I placed dots in a random pattern on the dish using the envelope as
my stencil.  This worked well because the ink did not bleed through.

There you have it!  Thank you Kate Spade for the awesome inspiration.  Total cost for my knock-off $0.00!