NBC's Live 2012 Olympic Schedule ~ In case you can't find me

I love the Summer Olympics!  So many great events to see.  I don't think I have a favorite...yet.  The stories are inspiring and being able to watch as history is made...those moments of joy...the underdog taking the lead.  WOW.  If I'm nowhere to be found you might want to check out the Olympics.

NBC has made it really easy with their Live Streaming Coverage and Schedule of Events. 

Here's the link:

When you come back up for air stop by here for another dose of DIY inspiration.  I might just have to do some kind of DIY project using gold, silver and bronze in it ~ to commemorate this Olympic season and all of the medal recipients...hmmm...the wheels are turning...

Or if you need a DIY fix now, check out our completed Project Galleries here:

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Easy Jalapeno Poppers

Easy Homemade Jalapeno Poppers ~ so so good!!! 

Here is what you need:
Jalapenos (I used about 20...you can use more or less depending on what you need)
Cream cheese (8 oz. tub)
Bacon (I used 6 strips but if you like bacon use more by all means!)
Mexican shredded cheese (8 oz. bag)

Heat oven or grill to 350 degrees F.

***TIP***  To prevent your fingers burning from the jalapeno juice, wear rubber gloves while you cut and prepare your peppers.  Otherwise you may feel the burn for awhile.  You definitely don't want to touch your face or eyes while working with these puppies!

Wash and dry peppers.

Cut off tops

Halve and remove seeds

Cover tray with foil

If you like spicy then it's okay to leave a few seeds behind...the spice is in the seeds!

Cook your bacon.  If you count 7 that's because I cooked one extra to split with my Honey.  I'm thoughtful that way ;)

Meet Mr. Bacon.  He watches over the bacon cooking to make sure that everything goes okay.  No over-crispy bacon here thanks to the watchful eyes of Mr. Bacon...no sirree.

Mix the cream cheese, chopped bacon and Mexican cheese mix in a bowl

Fill the jalapeno halves with the cheesy mixture

Place in oven or grill ~ check after 15 minutes.  If the peppers are cooked through and the cheese is melty and brown on top they are ready...if not leave in for a few more minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Oh my, these are so good.  I must credit this recipe to my wonderful friend Tina.  Each time I watch her cook I learn something new.  She's amazing.


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ANTHROPOLOGIE's got nothing on me

Sometimes I see something and want it so bad...no matter how frivolous or unnecessary the item is.  Do you ever feel that way?

Maybe it's nostalgia...bringing back memories of when I was young.  I can recall many warm summer days, trips to local farms and eating our fill of sweet summer berries before taking our bounty home for making jams and crisps with the family.  My mom was always so good about those things!  Yeah, those were the days...

ANTHROPOLOGIE has some very eclectic, colorful home decor and accessories.  I've seen some really cute things.  I like their funky colors and unique qualities.  How I would love to get my hands on some of their offerings.  Especially a darling ceramic fruit basket that looks just like the little green cardboard pint you might find holding berries at your local Fruit Stand or Farmers' Market.

See this little cardboard basket?
Anthropologies' Farmers Market baskets are made from stoneware cast from real fruit containers and come in several colors.  Check out the link below if you are interested:

But personally, I wasn't ready to send them my money.  I decided to see what I could do with what I had.  So I grabbed my little cardboard basket and some spray enamel paint in white and gave it several good coats on all sides.  I made sure to really get it into the cutout areas and edges too.  Even the bottom:

It took several coats to give it good coverage over all of the green cardboard.  After it was dry I picked it up and realized it still felt and looked more like cardboard than ceramic.  So I took some of my Gesso, which I use to prepare canvases for painting, and gave the basket another good thick coating using a paint brush.  When it finally dried the basket was substantially more stiff and solid than before.  My final step was to give it two generous coats of a spray polyurethane to gloss it up and seal it.

I'm sure it could not be considered "food safe".  It's more for staging, if you know what I mean.  If I do use it to hold fruit I will probably line it with a coffee filter to be safe.  I don't mind.  It was easy and fun and it turned out darling...just like ANTHROPOLOGIE'S!  It will look great sitting in my open cabinets in the kitchen or out on the table holding "whatnots". 

And mine didn't cost $14 plus shipping.  :)

What do you think?
Don't these raspberries make you hungry!?  ;)

It even goes with green!!!


A big thanks to Beckie of Knockoff Decor for featuring my baskets!

Also Sharing At:
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We can do it. We know we can. It's our house, dadblammit!

I have to rant today...I hope you don't mind.  You see, I dislike wall to wall carpeting.  I'm sorry if you love it.  That's okay.  I'm good with everyone having their own pet peeves.  But I have kids.  And I watch kids.  And all of those kids are always running around getting things dirty.  Yay!  That's what kids do...I know.  ;)  I like them to run around and have fun and not have to worry if they forget to wipe their feet or remove their shoes.  They're so busy they don't always remember all the little rules we adults ask them to follow. 

SO.  Why would we cover our floors with a wall to wall dirt magnet?  I just don't get it. Not very smart or practical when you need to clean.  I'd rip up all of the carpeting in our home right now and replace it with something like hardwoods if I could afford to.

But I can't.  That would be crazy. 

Who does that sorta thing?

Well, we do...dadblammit!  It's our house and if we just can't take the carpet anymore, well, we can rip it out and be done with it.  Starting with the stairs!  Even if we don't have the money for hardwoods! We're kinda crazy like that.  :) 
Here's what our staircase looked like after the nasty carpeting was ripped free:

No hardwoods under the carpet.  :(   Not even plywood...we weren't that lucky.  Just some funky chunky particle board type stuff.  My Honey calls it USB.  (He has a different word for everything, as he told us ladies this morning when we were trying to discuss how to deal with the huge gaps between the treads, risers and walls.  Apparently we don't speak the same language!?  It's a Mars and Venus thing.)
Do you see what else was under the carpet?  Carpet strips, staples and a whole lotta dust and grit.  YUCK.  IT WAS TIME FOR THE CARPET TO GO. 
 So the MARS GUYS ripped off the carpet strips and pulled up the staples.  Then I swept up the mess and vacuumed up a decade of dirt...

And started to paint!  I decided going from the top down would be the most practical.  Otherwise I'd be stuck upstairs while the paint dried.  The young Martian decided he wanted to hang upstairs and play his PlayStation when I mentioned we could use a bucket and rope to get snacks up to him.  Hehe...that left me downstairs alone for hours.  Shhhh...

 But I did remember to feed him from time to time.
 And I painted the stairs with blue-grey paint.  Semi-gloss.  Right over the chunky "USB" treads and risers!

After chatting with my friend, we determined that a wide blue stripe up the center would look really nice and tie in the blue from the living room.  I decided to wait on that since the little guy needed to make it downstairs for dinner at some point.

But here the stairs are in all their gappy, particle-boardy, blue-grey painted glory.

'Nothing a little caulk won't fix'...right HONEY???

That blue stripe's gonna look mighty fine on these!  LOL.

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Who needs flowers anyway? How about a stick of pepperoni?

This is my Pepperoni Lovers' Bouquet

I made it for this really cool gal.  She's a new friend to me but something about her makes me feel like we've been friends for a very long time.  Maybe it's the way we can talk about anything.  Or that she doesn't make me feel bad for being needy or sensitive. 

Yeah, I get that way sometimes.  :)  Doesn't everybody!?

And she is always doing special and thoughtful things for me.  Like bringing me lunch when I'm having a yard sale by myself.   Or keeping my boy overnight when I have a friend coming from out of town - so we can have some quality "girl time" without worrying about kids.

So I wanted to do something special for her.  I'd heard her say on several occasions that she'd take pepperoni sticks over cookies, candies and chocolates any day. 

Whaaat????  Serious????

Okay, so she might have a loose screw or two.  <Just joking Tina, I swear!>

So here's what I came up with in one of my moments that I like to refer to as "a moment of genius".  <Really, I jest!>

I don't have step-by-step photos but I think I can walk you through this.  ;)
 Take some pepperoni sticks and poke a toothpick perpendicular through one end.

 Using a cookie cutter - cut some provolone cheese (or another sliced cheese of choice) into circular or flower type shapes.   A bisquit cutter would work for this too.  Add the cheese shapes to the pepperoni "stems" by poking the toothpick throught the center of the cheese.

 Add some pepperoni slices after the cheese...one or several...it's up to you.  Layer them on like flower petals.

 Finally, poke a grape on the end of the toothpick to finish off your "flowers".

Once you have several put together you can place them in a small vase and add some ribbon or raffia to pretty it up a bit.

 And now you have an edible bouquet to give to someone special or have as a centerpiece at some fun event.  It's that easy!  My friend, Tina, LOVED IT! 


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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Mary ~ Inspiration Cafe #8

Hello Friends!  Thanks for stopping in to check out what's happening at Inspiration Cafe.  Today we have a special treat to go with your favorite beverage.  ;)  Pull up a stool and hang out for awhile...if you have a good imaginiation you just might smell the sweet aroma of homemade pie baking...

Greetings from Alaska! 

Welcome to another edition of 
Inspiration Cafe!

It's me again, Mary, from Sweet Little Bluebird...

 I'm in Anchorage visiting my sister's family. 
She is a busy wife and mom to five very active, hungry boys!

My sister's favorite place to be is the kitchen.   
She is easily the best baker and cook I know!
Whenever you visit, you NEVER go hungry.
Her home runs like a Bed & Breakfast! 

While I'm here visiting, I thought I'd take advantage and 
share something she whipped up in the kitchen.

Today I'm featuring her famous 
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie! 

Before I get to the recipe, 
I wanted to share my sister's kitchen remodel done last year...
(They did not DIY)



This is such a fun kitchen to cook in!

Okay, back to the Pie...

My sister has rhubarb in her garden she picked to make the pie.  
I don't know much about rhubarb, 
but I have never seen rhubarb this HUGE in my life! 

As you can see from the photos above, things grow BIG in Alaska!
There was so much rhubarb, my sister made two pies with tons to spare!

On with the recipe...for ONE pie.

You'll want to start with the crust first.

9 Inch Pie Crust (two crust pie recipe)
Ingredients (Our grandma's recipe, perfect crust every time!)
2 C Flour
1 tsp Salt
2/3 C Shortening
6 tbsp of Ice water (very important)

Mix flour, salt and shortening with two knives, cutting into the dough until it resembles small peas/crumbs.  Add the ice water and mix gently until dough is formed.  Divide into two equal balls.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.  Roll out crusts on floured surface. 

(Once your crust is ready, set aside and start to make your pie filling)

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie 
(Adapted recipe from Joy of Cooking - 1997 edition)
2 1/2 C Strawberries, sliced
2 1/2 C Rhubarb, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1 C Sugar, plus extra tsp. to decorate crust
Zest of one orange
1/4 C Quick-cooking tapioca
Dash of Salt
1 - 2 tbsp Butter (use real butter)

*For Rhubarb Pie, replace the strawberries with 2 1/2 cups of rhubarb.


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 

Mix the first six ingredients in bowl.  Set aside for 15 minutes. Line the pie plate with the bottom crust and fill with the rhubarb mixture.  Slice the butter and dot the pie mixture (see picture below).  Cover with top crust, fold and pinch seams together.  Brush crust lightly with milk or cream and sprinkle with sugar. Cut at least four slits into top of pie to vent while baking.    

Bake at 425F for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 350F for an additional 30-35 minutes.  Be sure to place a cookie sheet or foil on the rack beneath the pie, the juices will likely bubble over!

Remove and cool. This pie is best served warm with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream!

This was my youngest's first time ever having rhubarb... 
She loved it so much, she had second slice!

Thanks for much for stopping by Inspiration Cafe!

Be sure to stop by next Monday!



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