Friday, January 29, 2010

Repurposing furniture

The previous homeowners left quite a bit of crap stuff when they moved out.  This dresser, minus the drawers, was in that random assortment of stuff. 

We were going to throw it out, but my Big Little Brother Freddy had a better idea.  "Hey!" he said. "That would make a great bookshelf."

And by golly, he was right.  We bought some material for shelving and brackets, and Freddy went to town.   This was a fairly simple project, and a great way to reuse a somewhat useless piece of junk.

Now we have a lovely bookshelf for the nursery.  Thanks, Freddy!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A bit of blogkeeping

Hello, my dear readers!  As you may have noticed, my blogging has been rather sparse this month.  As of today, I'm officially four weeks away from my due date.  I've been trying to get the house ready for baby despite having the energy level of a hibernating bear, and it leaves me wiped out nearly every day.  I'm sorry for the slacking, but I hope you can understand. 

Anyways, I'll do my best to continue posting regularly over the next few weeks, but if I take a sudden leave of absence, you'll know why.  Thanks for sticking with me!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Handmade gifts

The Little Guy got two really awesome gifts recently that I wanted to share with you.  Both gifts were made by talented, creative ladies who come up with some really darling stuff.

First, the penguin mittens...

These were made by a friend of My Big Martha.  Aren't they adorable?  I think they've been used more as puppets than mittens this winter, but that's fine with me.  But when they are used as mittens, the strand of yarn that connects the two keeps them from getting lost.

Next, the bug bean bags....

These were made by my BFF Laura for the Little Guy's 2nd birthday.  She found this awesome fabric, made the bean bags, and included two fun books about bugs.  The Little Guy loves them.

We use these for playing catch and our own (smaller) version of Bozo buckets. 

BFF Laura made sure each bean bag was a different shape in case we want to work in a lesson there.  She thinks of everything!

These two gifts have inspired me to put my crafty talents to good use and give gifts that are homemade, rather than store bought.  Now, I just have to cultivate my crafty talents...until then, it's cookies for everyone, baby!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Martha Monday--Ask Martha

For those of you who are Sirius Satellite Radio subscribers, Martha has her own channel (Martha Stewart Living Radio -- 112).  Every Monday she hosts an "Ask Martha!" segment where you can call in and ask Martha your most burning domestic diva questions about cooking, entertaining, gardening, housekeeping and more. 

The number is 866-675-6675 and the time to call is 3-4pm CST, 4-5pm EST and 1-2pm PST. 

Personally, I have never called in to "Ask Martha!"  I always want to, but I'm worried that either I will forget what I want to ask and stumble all over my words until I am a big ball of incoherent blather, or that I will come across as a crazy, Martha-obsessed stalker and she'll get a restraining order on me. 

Or worse, I could accomplish both, making me both an idiot and a nutcase.

Quite frankly, I just don't need that kind of stress.  I'd rather just meet Martha for a nice lunch or afternoon tea, and work on a craft project with her.  Card-making, perhaps?

So, in the spirit of "Ask Martha!", I'd like to invite you all to my very own "Ask the Martha Initiative!"  Or, to be a bit more casual, "Ask Amanda if, you know, you want to."  Do you have any questions for me? 

My specialties are baking, organizing and entertaining, but I'm game for just about anything.  Just leave a question in the comments or shoot me an email.  (Disclaimer per My Big Martha: no stalkers allowed!)

If, you know, you want to. 

Friday, January 15, 2010

Martha Stewart Clean Giveaway

Last Monday, I profiled Martha's new Martha Stewart Clean line.  Whole Living, a subsidiary of Martha Stewart Living, is hosting a daily giveaway of these products throughout the month of January.  They're giving away cleaning supplies, aprons, storage containers and more.

You can sign up for the giveaway hereNOTE:  When you hit the "Enter" button for the contest, the first entry form it takes you to includes a trial subscription of Body & Soul magazine.  If you do not want to sign up for a subscription, be sure to click on the link above the entry form that specifically says you want to enter the content without trying a subscription. 

Apparently, the Martha Stewart Clean line is available at Home Depot as of January 8, though I haven't made it to my local HD to check it out. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Martha's Peppermint Chocolate Cake

Several weeks ago, I mentioned incorporating Martha's peppermint chocolate cake into my Christmas menu.  Here's how her cake looks: 

I was able to make it for Christmas.  The Little Guy helped.  We made it the day before serving.

I poured the peppermint chocolate frosting on the day of.

I used crushed peppermint candies for garnish. 

Overall, I thought the cake was a bit dry.  Everyone seemed to like it though, and it was a great pairing for peppermint ice cream. 

The icing is out of this world though, and would be delicious poured over ice cream or used for hot chocolate or coffee.  I'm not giving up on this recipe, though, and I may give it another try around Valentine's Day. 

If you give this a try, please let me know how it goes!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Martha Monday--Valentine's Day Signup

Need inspiration for Valentine's Day?  Like Thanksgiving and Christmas, Martha has a set of emails filled with ideas and recipes to make this Valentine's Day a special one.  You can sign up for the enewsletter here

For this year, I'm lowering my standards considerably.  Since I'll be within 2 weeks of my due date at Valentine's Day, I'll consider the celebration a success if I manage to say something sweet to The Big Guy before I start snoring on the couch...maybe I'll just make a nice card that says it for me, just in case. :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Martha Monday--Cleaning supplies

Martha has come out with a whole line of eco-friendly cleaning supplies called Martha Stewart Clean.   She featured the products on her blog just before Christmas, and now they are available for order through her website

The Martha Stewart Clean line contains fabric detergent, fabric softener, dishwasher detergent, toilet cleaner, bathroom cleaner, all-purpose cleaner and more.  It's my understanding that Home Depot will carry this line, but I have yet to see it on their website or in the store. 

So until then, I'm relying on the Little Guy to keep the house clean.

We got him a child-size Dyson for Christmas.  I think it's best to teach kids housekeeping skills nice and early, don't you?  That has got to be a good thing!