Thursday, August 25, 2011

DIY Microwave Popcorn

Oh yes.  Instant popcorn without all the weird greasy coating in your mouth.  No additives, no preservatives, and amazingly enough, no oil! 

My 4 year old son just had his tonsils and adnoids out two weeks ago, and the only thing in the world he wanted was popcorn - which was on the no-no list.  So when the doctor gave him the all-clear, look out!  All I've been doing is making popcorn.  Sadly, he won't let me use the air popper, probably because it's circa 1975 and sounds like a jet engine taking off.  So I begrudgingly bought microwave popcorn, and immediately remembered why I don't like it - that gross greasy salty coating of the mouth. 

Then I found nirvana.  I was innocently browsing Pinterest, and came across this incredible post on SquawkFox.  She has such a brilliantly simple tutorial, with such lovely pictures, I highly recommend you go there.

I will, however, tell you a couple things I learned.  I used the basic lunch bag size paper bag and 1/2 cup popcorn kernals, but after about two minutes, it was so full of popcorn and hot kernals, it came open at the top and burst a seam on the bottom.  So I pushed stop, and ended up with a lot of unpopped kernals:

A bunch of leftovers - hence, using less next time.

Next time, I will use 1/3 cup of kernals.  Other than that, AMAZING.  So incredibly light and fluffy, and WAY sweeter than store-bought microwave popcorn.  Oh, and not greasy and coat-your-mouth gross.  I like a little I can't believe it's not butter spray and salt, or a little butter spray, splenda, and maybe even some cinnamon. 

What do you like on your popcorn?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Happy Hour - Scotch & Soda

It's happy hour around our house, and I for one take that pretty seriously.  This post is simply a little shout out to my friend Marie, who introduced me to this amazing summertime drink.  Not only is it clean, cool, refreshing, and perfect on a hot day, it also harkens back to my childhood:  the classic Scotch & Soda from the drive-in, with all it's sweet vanilla goodness, but with a little more, um, oompf.  And I am a big fan of oompf.

Here's how to make one for yourself.  You need:

Vanilla vodka.  I buy Smirnoff, because it is good, but cheap.  My mom splurges and gets Absolut.
Sprite Zero.  No sugar.  No calories. 

You can stop right there, but for a little extra somethin' somethin', you can also add:

Vanilla syrup - like Torani sugar free.
Lemons (not pictured, because I ran out.)

Take a large glass.  Yes, a large one, you'll thank me later.  Fill it with ice.  Pour a bit of vodka in, to taste.  Start with about a shot, add more as you like.  I like more.  Sue me.  If you like sweet, a tiny splash of vanilla syrup is great here.  If you have lemons, they are amazing in it.  Wedge some up, squeeze a bit in, and muddle the rest with the ice and vodka.  Top it off with Sprite Zero, and stir.

Then enjoy.  And after you suck that one down, go make another.  Just be sure you drink responsibly.  These things can sneak up on you ;)

Looks like this one's broken.  Better go fix it...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Revamp the Garden with Spray Paint

I have a few garden ornaments that I love, but they are a bit faded, and getting lost amongst the jungle of my garden.  And well, since I do just LOVE to spray paint, I thought it would be fun to put a little more oompf back in them, and a bit of color at the same time.

I have a bird and some stars, both metal, that have oxidized a bit.  They were all originally various shades of gray.  I washed them, and scrubbed them with a little wire brush, but I didn't get all crazy about it.  I used interior/exterior spray paint - Valspar "Exotic Sea" for the teal, and Krylon "Bright Idea" for the yellow.  I chose them based on color, not brand.  In retrospect, I will only use the Valspar brand.  The yellow was thin, and dripped a bunch, even though I was using thin even coats.

I aplogize in advance for the quality of the pictures - these were taken on the fly with my phone on a very bright day.



see the drips?!  bah! drips

What next?  I think my little buddy Lars needs to get his hat fixed up and then he may get a new look too:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Citrus Room Spray

Having a baby in the house again totally brings back all my paranoias about the whole house smelling of dirty diapers - so when I was doing my usual browse of Pinterest the other day and came across this idea for creating your very own citrus room spray, I couldn't not make some.  I did some extra research, and came across numerous recipes, all of which were pretty much the same, so I don't really feel I need to give a shout out to my original source (especially since it wasn't very good). Here goes:


Air tight jar
Citrus fruit - lemons, limes, oranges
Small spray bottle (I use the little travel size ones)

Carefully peel your fruit, and add the peels to your jar.  Fill it up with peels.  I was careful not to use any of the pith, but after reading about making your own flavored vodkas, I'm not sure it matters.  Now fill the jar with vodka, seal it up, and set it somewhere out of the sun for a few days.

When it's done, open it up, fill your sprayer about half to three-quarters full of the vodka, and the rest with water.  Shake it up, and spray away!

Please note that this isn't like the aerosol sprays you can buy in the stores.  The coverage can be less than ideal, probably due to the size of the scent particles or something.  If you don't like the way it sprays...well, it tastes great!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


And who wouldn't feel powerful after winning this beauty?

We have random game nights at our house, often with a much sought-after extremely lame awesome prize.  So of course, while I was out scouring the interwebs and I came across a picture of someone's homemade trophies, I thought to myself:  I HAVE TO MAKE THAT. 


My friend Katie happened to be in town when the urge became unbearable, so I made her watch me make them let her help. 

Here's how you can make your very own:

  • glue gun
  • shiny gold spray paint (and/or silver or bronze, depending)
  • random assortment of kid toys (those crappy McDonald's toys turned out to be the best)
  • some sort of stand or base - I used upside down decorative planters from the dollar store


Seriously awesome paint.

Gather together all your crap treasures.  I found it useful to raid the toy box in my 4 year old's room, since it is full of toys he never looks at.  I found a couple cool things in the garage, my purse, and the dog's toy box as well.  Get creative.  Everything does indeed look better with gold spray paint.

Try a few combinations out.

NOT successful pairing

Why wouldn't a sly bird with a key ring be riding an elephant?

Play with the creepy monkey keychain with glowing eyes and lazer sound.

Don't lie.  You know you want it.

It's pretty stressful work to come up with the perfect arrangement, so take a break for chips and salsa.


Get brave.  Start actually gluing things together.

Get super indecisive inspired and make two.

Paint that shit gold.

Admire your creations.  Take lots of pictures. 

Then come up with something awesome for your friends to do so they can win these amazing trophies and proudly display them on their mantle. 

Show up unexpectedly at their house to make sure the trophy is indeed prominantly displayed.