The Mealtime Magic Time Saver

A.K.A.  The Pizza Cutter

I don't know about you but I'm always looking for ways to make my life simpler.  I have a couple kids of my own and I watch a few others during the day.  Sometimes I have a full fledged preschool in my home.  Feeding 10 kids breakfast isn't so bad...but having a few tricks up my sleeve definitely makes it run smoother.  I will have to share a few of my tips for making mealtime enjoyable for everyone, but today I'm sharing my Mealtime Magic TimeSaver!

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Have you introduced your waffles and pancakes to the pizza cutter yet?

A few cuts in one direction...
A few more cuts going across the other way...

Makes bite-sized pieces out of a waffle lickity-split!

That means more mouths eating breakfast instead of saying "Is it done yet?"
Of course there will always be "rebels" in the group.  Those kids that need to dance to the beat of their own drums.  Like holding their Nutella covered waffle in their hands.  :)

But wait!!!Breakfast isn't all this mealtime magic timesaver is good for...

My three favorite kitchen gadgets 
(lt-rt: pizza cutter, cheese slicer, chef's brush)

 Use a chef's brush or pastry brush to put a thin coat of butter on tortillas before cooking.  I use a non-stick skillet but a tiny bit of butter when cooking just makes a quesadilla taste so much better.

Use a cheese slicer to get nice thin cuts of cheese.  It takes far less time than grating the cheese, and because it's so thin it melts really quickly.  (I love using this for cheese and crackers too.)

Once that quesadilla's all toasty and melted, grab that pizza cutter and cut it into some wedges.  (Or bite sized pieces for a toddler).

Oh the melted cheese!!!

Fast, simple, crowd pleasing!  That's what I like.

Did I mention how much I love melted cheese?

 I prepared this tray for my boy, Alex, who's feeling a little under the weather today.  I thought some cheesy goodness with a special message would be just what he needed...

Then I remembered that he's my little rebel, and doesn't much like quesadilla's...or crackers in his soup...so he got grilled cheese and plain tomato instead...with lots of LOVE and chocolate milk.

 This is what I found when I went to get the tray and bring it back down.  See what he wrote with his crusts???

 ....So he says!!!

Remember, pizza cutters aren't just for pizza anymore....the possibilities are endless!

Partying with these friends:
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Custom Silhouette Doggy Bag

Have you met Sadie?  She's a our pet Boxer.  She's family.  For 6 1/2 years now she's been a part of our lives.  For better or worse...just like marriage and kids.  

She's energetic, playful, loving and the best darn dog we could ever want.  (This statement does not cover the first two years of her life ~ when she made us the most stressed-out, reluctant dog owners around ~ until she matured and we figured out how to train her to be a good, obedient doggy.)

This is a painting I'm (still) working on, of Sadie as a puppy and Alexander, who was 3 1/2 at the time.

Sadie is a strong Alpha female.  She even lifts her leg to pee.  {Hehehe...TMI...I know!}

So this flowery bag just wasn't saying "Sadie" when we looked at it.  Maybe it would be more suited to a fluffy little Pomeranian or a dainty Poodle...not so much a buff alpha female Boxer with gender identity issues.

But this woven bag had been hanging out in the pantry storing extra paper bags.  Who needs a handsome bag shut away in a pantry anyway?  So I gave it some "Sadie" personality.

First I found this Boxer silhouette image online and printed it out full screen.  I just Googled Boxer silhouette...you can do the same for most other breeds too.

I used an Exacto knife to cut out the silhouette...creating a stencil.  I sprayed the back with Elmers spray adhesive to help it stick to the woven bag, then duct taped around the outer edges to hold it securely in place.  The spray adhesive did not stick well to the woven bag, so I made sure to hold the stencil edges down with my fingers while I did the painting.

I used white acrylic craft paint (to stand out against the dark bag) and a flat bottomed brush.  I don't have a stencil brush - that would have been preferable.  I loaded the brush with paint then tapped off any excess paint.  I started painting with the brush on the paper and gently dragged the brush in toward the center of the image.  This helped keep the edges somewhat crisp and the paint inside the stencil, where I wanted it.

I did the same on the other side of the bag once the first side had dried completely.  The front legs blended together a bit (you can see this below).  I simply used a brown Sharpie marker to draw over some of the white paint and give them better definition.

 Now Sadie has her own bag that is more suited to her (and our) style.  And it looks great hanging about.

What do you think of it?  Sadie seems to love it.  Storing her extra doggy treats inside helps!

We just grab it to take along whenever we are going on a dog outing.  It's wonderful to have a cute bag that looks good hanging around, at home or wherever we happen to be visiting.  

Sadie's bag holds the following supplies:
her raincoat 
a collapsible cloth dog dish 
doggy cleanup bags
bottle of hand sanitizer (for after cleanups)
extra doggy treats
a travel container of dog food and a water bottle.  
It has room left over to add her blanket for overnight stays.

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Cottage Style ~ Ladderback Chair Makeover

Over the years my personal style has developed and matured into a definite Cottage Style.  I don't know if it's the reminiscence of summer getaways to sunny Pacific beaches, or the natural ease and comfort that is an innate quality of Cottage Style.  

Cottage Style can be a combination of many other decor styles.   

What you are likely to find in a Cottage Style home are rooms with muted blues, greens and neutrals combined with lots of white.  You might find chippy painted furniture or industrial pieces that have been re-purposed.  Design elements can be whimsical and functional, like interesting collected items displayed alongside everyday dishes on open shelving in the kitchen.

My Cottage Style is:  
  • Light, bright and cheerful.
  • Chippy and worn by default.   
  • Put your feet up comfortable.   
  • Unconcerned with a bit of clutter from everyday living. 
  • A place where kids can play without worrying they'll ruin anything. 

Cottage Style allows me to add my personality to my space without spending a lot of money.  By taking acquired items and re-purposing them or giving them new life with a bit of paint or elbow grease.  

Like this ladder back chair...

Found on the side of the road with a "FREE" sign when the neighbors were moving.  Never one to pass up a good freebie, it came home with me.

After hanging out for a bit with no real purpose (only a year or so) it finally spoke to me and I knew what I needed to do to give it some cottage personality.

A couple coats of crisp white paint on all surfaces except the rush seat.

A bit of distressing with my sanding sponge.  

Some green acrylic paint mixed with some Glazing liquid (1/1 ratio).

I taped off the bottom of each leg and painted them with the green paint/glaze mixture.

I also painted one of the bars on the chair back green.  Just for fun!  Once they'd dried completely, I gave the green sections another quick distressing with the sanding sponge.

Here it is all chippy white...

Just a touch of flirty green...

It fits in perfectly with my well-worn, comfortable, cottage style.  Like a dear old friend.

Want to see more Cottage Style DIY projects?  
You can visit my Project Gallery HERE.

What is your decorating style?  I'd love to hear about it.

Thanks for stopping by!


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Improving Our Storage & Organization ~ At Inspiration Cafe Today


It's that time of year.

It happens every year...the feeling overtakes me and I just have to take action.  I feel the overwhelming need to purge, organize and streamline our environment.  I start analyzing our spaces to see what is working well and what needs to be improved on.  

This looks like a great system for organization in an entryway, right?

Well, we've made it even better.

Come by Inspiration Cafe to see how we've streamlined our entryway for even more storage and ease of use:

Clicking on the cafe will take you there.

See you at the Cafe!


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