Crafts · DIY

Bird Feeder Makeover

While the girls were gone we had a little extra time on our hands so Dave and I decided to paint our decrepit bird feeder.  We’ve had it since we moved to Arkansas 14 years ago so it was definitely in need of some TLC. As you can see, it looked pretty bad.  It had birdseed actually growing in it, lichens on the roof, and two broken roof slats.


We scraped out the seeds and dirt and sanded off the lichens.  Then we removed the broken slats.  We’re ready to prime and paint.


The feeder quickly absorbed two coats of primer, but now we’re ready to paint.


We used Behr paint color samples from Home Depot in Allure (red), Honey Locust (yellow), and Oregano Spice (green).


It took two coats of paint on most areas and then we had to replace the roof slats.  We used a piece of composite trim that we had lying around.  Once all the paint had dried, I applied a clear coat sealant for extra protection (even though I used outdoor paint).  I think it turned out beautifully.

Family · Food

Menu Monday 6/26/17


Our garden is off and running and we are finally getting fresh vegetables on a daily basis.  Now the trick is figuring out how to use them all up in ways that the family doesn’t tire of eating them.  I also decided that the girls need to work on their cooking skills.  We don’t have any camps or any other obligations this week so I thought this would be a good time to start.  They each got the opportunity to pick out a recipe that they wanted to make and will get to help prepare it for dinner one day this week.  We’ll see how it goes.


Monday:  Grilled vegetarian flautas (rolled tacos) with fresh pico de gallo & sour cream. IMG_6535 I made some homemade “refried” beans with green chilies for this recipe but canned would be fine.  I cooked dried pinto beans with garlic, salt, and bay leaves, then smashed in a can of chopped green chiles, and seasoned with chile powder, cumin, and salt.  I’m going to slice up onion, peppers, squash, and eggplant into long strips (fajita-style) and saute them with taco seasoning.  Spread beans on a flour tortilla, add sautéed veggies (Do NOT over fill!), then roll into tubes,  brush with vegetable oil, grill until warmed through.  Serve with fresh cojita cheese, homemade pico de gallo or salsa, and sour cream. 

Tuesday:  Crockpot Honey-mustard chicken with rice and green beans.  Peyton found this recipe on the back of a mustard bottle while eating a hot dog for lunch.  She can’t wait to try it out.  Mix 3/4 cup yellow mustard with 1/2 cup honey and  pour over 2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs in a slow cooker.  Cook on low for 6-7 hours.  We’re going to serve ours with white rice and sautéed green beans fresh from our garden.

Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 1.29.01 PMWednesday:  Buffalo Chicken Wings with carrots, celery, and zucchini fries dipped in blue cheese or Ranch dressing.  I know it’s chicken 2 days in a row but we record AGT on Tuesday nights and then eat dinner while watching it on Wednesdays so we need finger food.  And really the two meals couldn’t taste more different.  Presley couldn’t come up with a recipe that she wanted to make so she’s going to help with this one since wings are one of her favorite meals.

Lemon Shrimp Pasta



Thursday:  Lemon shrimp Pasta, salad, and garlic bread.  I first posted this recipe in March, but we have been making it for some time now.  It’s one of the family favorites especially when served with Dave’s “famous” garlic bread.  I’ll probably slip in some sautéed squash or zucchini to up our vegetable intake (as well as use up some of our garden’s impressive production).


Friday:  Grilled Hawaiian Pizzas.  We figured out how to grill pizza a few weeks ago by placing a pizza stone in our grill (I know, we’re a few years behind the times, but our old grill didn’t get hot enough to even attempt this) and now the girls want pizza all the time.  We’re going to use the leftover chicken and sauce from Tuesday.  Chop up chicken and spread it and it’s sauce on a precooked pizza crust.  Add diced pineapple, thinly sliced red onion, chopped ham, and bacon crumbles, then top with fresh mozzarella cheese.  Place on preheated pizza stone and grill for 8-10 minutes.  Yum!




Hawaiian Pork Bowl Update

As I stated on Menu Monday, tonight we tried a new recipe inspired by the Hawaiian Pork Bowl recipe in the July issue of Food and Wine magazine. It started with a sweet tea marinated butterflied pork tenderloin which we grilled.  We quartered a red onion and sliced some fresh pineapple (brushed with olive oil, salt and pepper) and grilled until nicely charred. Then we layered white rice in bowls, topped with pork, onion, pineapple, avocado, bacon, jalapeño, and cilantro. A fresh dressing of lime juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper topped it off. Peyton and I preferred ours with soy sauce and a squeeze of lime but Presley and Dave really enjoyed the lime dressing.  In order to make it easier for the girls to eat, I diced up all of their toppings before adding them to the rice.

Here’s a picture of my inspiration and my pork bowl.  I think mine turned out pretty good!  Not quite as pretty as the chef’s version, but delicious!


Family · Travel

Grand Canyon Adventure Day 9

My journal entries today comprise my viewing of the Grand Canyon in 1984.  Day 8 was the girls’ last actual day at the Grand Canyon and on Day 9 they started their trip back to Colorado with a few stops along the way.  If you’ve missed any entries please click here for Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, or Day 8.

Day 9 (June 11, 1984):  Left Kaibab Lake (where we spent last night) and went to Ten-n Campground early, stayed there until 4pm (when temperatures started to cool down) then went to the Grand Canyon.  It is big and pretty.  The Colorado River that made it is emerald green.  I think it’s the prettiest thing I (ever) saw.

June 12, 1984:  Went to view the Grand Canyon again.  Stopped at post office on the way to mail post cards.  Mom bought us some fake turquoise; it’s pretty.  We drove through the Navajo Indian Reservation.  Mom bought me a necklace and bracelet made (out) of mother-of-pearl and Kelly and I bought mom a necklace.  We stayed at Jacob Lake, $6.

June 13, 1984:  Got up at 5:57am and drove to De Motte Campground.  We saw two male deer on the way; they were pretty.  We are going to set up camp and then go see the North Side of the Grand Canyon.

June 14, 1984:  Left De Motte, drove up into some mountains and had a snowball fight!  We saw a dead porcupine in a snow bank.  Stayed on the other side of the mountain at a campground called Old Folks Flats.  The outhouses were still winterized so we couldn’t use them.  The water didn’t work either.

As you can see, my visit to the Grand Canyon did not include any exciting raft trips, helicopter rides, or horseback riding.  But it did include one thing that my daughters’ funnily enough did not:  I got to view the canyon from the top looking down at the river! (for three days, North and South sides, ad nauseam, until all it looked like was a big hole in the ground and the “wonder” had pretty much worn off)  My girls got to experience the Grand Canyon from the inside and I’m sure that they have a much better feel for the vastness and beauty of it.  But I think it’s funny that they didn’t take the time to view it from the top, after all, I know from personal experience that there are MANY overlooks from which to stop and view its splendor.  I think I’ve been to every one of them!

Day 9 (June 10, 2017):  Nana, PopPop, Presley, and Peyton started their trip back to Colorado today.  Here’s one of my text conversations with Peyton:

M:  How’s the trip going?
PJ:  Good
M:  What did you have for lunch?
PJ:  A place called Old Smokey in Williams Arizona
M:  BBQ?
PJ:  No
M:  Then what did you eat?
PJ:  They had a kids menu I had a Corn dog off of it and Presley, PopPop and Nana had sandwiches.
M:  Ok
Peyton:   👧🏼💋👩🏼
M:  😍
As you can see my daughter is the QUEEN of texting, such a chatterbox!  Haha!

They made a stop in Winslow, AZ and sent me this video:

I think they need to listen to The Eagles more often.  And these photos:



Slime Fest

Today’s post is courtesy of my youngest daughter, Peyton who will be turning 9 next month.


Hi, this is Peyton, we got on Pinterest to look for cleaning slime (to clean our computer keyboard) ideas.  All we could find was a cleaning slime that you can buy for like $2.99. So we got on YouTube to look for cleaning slime recipes. We found a guy who tried to make cleaning slime, and we liked his recipe because it made a small amount of slime.  That way we could easily test out different formulas without going broke buying glue!  We made 4 slimes and the first one was the YouTuber’s made up recipe and it turned out just like his did (all gritty) and that’s when we realized he put way to much Borax in it and we decided to try again by shortening the amount of Borax. That didn’t work out as we thought it would because it turned out very thick. Then we tried the third one by shortening the amount of Borax in the already shortened recipe and that turned out very good because it was squishier than the second one. Then we tried one last slime with no Borax just water, glue, and liquid starch. It actually felt like slime and the best thing was that all these recipes make a small amount. So I felt that it was a win-win!

Unfortunately none of these recipes made a good cleaning slime.  None of them really picked up much of the dirt on our computer keyboard and what dirt they did pick up got incorporated into the slime and it got all nasty and dirty.  So if you did use them to clean with you’d have to throw them away afterward.  We decided to go back to using a can of compressed air, Q-tips, and alcohol to clean our keyboards and just make slime for the fun of it!

***T = tablespoon and t = teaspoon

Borax Slime

Borax Slime

Bowl 1: 1T water, 1T glue, 1 drop food color. Mix well.
Bowl 2: 1/8t Borax, 2T water, 1 drop Essential oil. Mix until dissolved.

Mix 2 bowls together, pour out excess water, and knead with hands until slime no longer sticks to your hands.


Starch Slime

Starch Slime

Mix 1T glue & 1T water, & 1 drop food coloring in small bowl. Stir until mixed. Add 1T liquid starch, stir until comes together, then knead until it no longer sticks to your hands.  It will take quite a while before this slime comes together.

You can add 1-2t glow-in-the-dark paint instead of food color. Or add 1/8 -1/4 teaspoon glitter at this stage.
Recipe is same whether using white glue, school glue, or clear glue.

Glitter Slime



***When we tested this recipe with glitter and clear glue, we found that you needed extra water in the recipe if you added glitter (so add 1/8t glitter + 1/8t water to above recipe).

Family · Food

Menu Monday 6/19/17

Well, my girls finally returned from their Grand Canyon Adventure but don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging.  We will finish the adventure on the blog.  I’m happy to have them home and Dave was glad that they made it home before Father’s Day.  We’re glad they’re home and can’t wait to try some new recipes with them!

Monday:  Fish Po’Boy sandwiches with zucchini fries, and slaw.  My garden is going crazy producing zucchini and summer squash so I’m going to attempt making fries with them.  I’m going to cut them into french fry sized strips and bread them with seasoned panko bread crumbs and bake until crispy.  We’ll have extra tartar sauce for dipping fries.

Tuesday:  Vegetable Lo Mein Noodles with chicken and garden vegetables and a side of potstickers.  This is simply the noodle version of fried rice.  It’s a great way to use up leftover pasta and extra garden veggies.  Simply cut your vegetables into thin strips so they’ll incorporate into your noodles better.  I’m planning on using onions, mushrooms, summer squash, and green beans along with chicken marinated in soy sauce.

Wednesday:  Hawaiian Pork Bowl.  This is not another one of my “Bun” bowls.  It’s simply a Hawaii inspired rice bowl.  I’m going to marinate a butterflied pork tenderloin for 1 hour in sweet tea made with 1 cup boiling water, 2 Irish breakfast tea bags, and 1/4 cup sugar.  I’m going to grill it along with wedges of red onion and fresh pineapple.  Assemble bowls over white rice:  pork, onion, pineapple, diced avocado, bacon, and jalapeno.  Serve with a dressing made from lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, salt, and pepper alongside fresh lime wedges and soy sauce.  Here’s a link to my version and here’s a picture of my inspiration.

Hawaiian Pork Bowl from Food and Wine magazine


Thursday:  Sausage burgers on pretzel buns with cucumber/tomato salad, and fries.  Hopefully we will have used up the zucchini on Monday and can have potato french fries today.  Otherwise you may be hearing about how we made zucchini chips today.

Friday:  “Bun” Noodle bowls with Wednesday’s leftover pork.  See these previous posts for instructions.


Family · Travel

Grand Canyon Adventure Day 8

Day 8 (June 9, 1984):  Actually this is day 9 from my journal, but my trip lasted 3 weeks and theirs is almost over, so bear with me.  It was very cold this morning, 34 degrees, only 2 degrees above freezing.  While we were packing we saw a gopher eating grass.  It was so cute.  It was popping in and out of it’s holes.  I have seen 8 different kinds of birds:  magpies, mountain bluebirds, vultures, a scissor-tail flycatcher, raven, Steller’s Jay, Western bluebird, and a piñon jay.  We just drove out of Gallop, NM where I bought a turquoise ring and earrings.  Now we are driving towards Arizona.

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 8.39.11 AM
Petrified Forest National Park
We went to the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert (Inside the Petrified Forest National Park).  The Painted Desert had every color in the rainbow in it plus brown, white, and black.  Some of the petrified wood was beautiful.  Some of it looked like marble, some looked like wood, and some looked more like stone than wood.  We bought some petrified wood and post cards, and Mom got a piece of Fool’s gold.  We stayed in Holbrook, AZ at the Sun-n-Sands Motel. We swam in the pool and then took a shower and the drain clogged.  We had to get another room.  I remember that we wanted to stay at the Wigwam Motel.  It was so cool! 

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 8.42.17 AM
The Wigwam Motel Holbrook, AZ
Day 8 (June 9, 2017):  Today was the BIG day:  Grand Canyon river raft ride, waterfall hike (Travertine Falls), and helicopter ride.  My morning conversation with Peyton:
M:  How are you today?  Excited?
Peyton:  Yes and nervous because I will be getting wet.
 The raft ride down the Colorado river was 37 miles long and included 10 whitewater rapids (some as large as 5, 6, or 7 on a scale of 1 to 10) in the first 16 miles.  Apparently Peyton got over her nerves because the guide, Ellen, said she sat in the front of the boat giggling the whole time and and yelling, “Yippee!” like she was on a roller coaster.  Ellen said she kept having to cover Peyton’s mouth with her hand so she wouldn’t drown in the waves.

 After that the rapids flattened out but the scenery was anything but flat.  They stopped for a short (but difficult) hike to Travertine Falls,

then made there way down river to where the helicopters awaited them.  

There were several “restroom” stops in the river which sparked this funny conversation on the way home.
Presley:  It was so cold it just scared the pee right out of me!
Nana:  It was so cold it scared the pee right back up to my kidneys.
PopPop:  It was so cold it just locked everything up.
Peyton:  I liked it!  My pee was really warm! You just gotta love that kid!

Presley’s journal:  Today we went river rafting down the Grand Canyon.  When we were almost done with the rapids there s a really BIG one.  One minute I was in my seat and the next I was on the floor.  It was kinda scary.  About ⅓ into the trip, the boats docked and everyone got out.  We hiked up to Travertine Falls.  Once we got to the Falls, it was so beautiful.  We stood under the waterfall to get our picture taken.  When we went back down we slid down a small waterfall like a slide.

Peyton’s journal:  Today we went river rafting.  It was very exciting!  The first rapid Ms. Ellen said that it was only rated a 2.  About ⅓ of the way we stopped to hike up Travertine Falls.  It was gorgeous.  You had to hike up and go into a little cave to get to the waterfall but it was worth it.  We stopped to eat lunch at a beach and Ms. Ellen said that she could not keep her mouth shut when the rapids came because I was giggling so much.  It was a long ride back to our rooms (at the end of the day).   Peyton and I had this text conversation on their way back:

PJ:  Hi u have three bars of wifi.  I mean I do.  I mean service.  

M:  Awesome. How was your day? You can call if you want to talk.  

PJ:  Good.  We’re on the bus to the hotel in hualipai.  Call won’t go through. 

M:  We’ll have to text 

PJ:  Ok 

M:  I guess you didn’t fall out of the raft or helicopter 

PJ:  Nope 

M:  How was it? 

PJ:  Really good the last rapid was really fun!

M:  Did you get wet? 

PJ:  Of course 

M:  Was the helicopter noisy? 

PJ:  Nope when you were outside it was loud but inside it was quiet 

M:  Cool! Was it scary? 

PJ:  Kind of


But they did take this lovely photo of a Joshua Tree along the way.