Decorative Switchplates and Outlet Covers

After finding this craft on Pinterest, I can stop doodling!

Decorative Outlet Cover

Originally I had made decorative outlet covers for my daughter and teenage cousin that stays with us part time (one shown above).  It was to match their room.  But when people kept saying “I want that!” while I was working on them at The Hot Spot, I decided it was time to add some to the shelves and to Etsy.

This was the 2nd decorative outlet cover we designed.  I love drawing flowers or anything nature related. My grandmother-in-law requested one just like it, so we made her a switchplate cover with blue flowers.

Decorative Outlet Cover - Pink Hearts

Designed by my daughter.

The next outlet cover my 9-yr-old daughter designed. I helped by outlining and touching up. It would be uber cute for a little girl’s room!

Decorative Switchplate Cover - Red and Black

Bold Red and Black

I would have been a lot happier if my red writing utensil hadn’t disappeared int he middle of this project. We all looked everywhere for it, then it suddenly appeared with the rest of it’s kind. Weird, yes?

 

Decorative Switchplate

River Blue

Also designed by my daughter, but decorated by me. She has some awesome ideas! Always good to listen to the kids because sometimes they come up with really fantastic ideas. 😉

That’s it for now! I’m hoping to move into personalized and other forms of decorating very soon 🙂 The fun part about this project is that nearly everyone can do it. All you need is the covers from your local hardware store and a few Sharpies. Enjoy!

3 Easy Quesedilla Recipes

After discovering the cooked chicken at our small-town grocery store, we’ve been totally addicted to Quesedillas. Our way of making them might not be “authentic”, but they sure are yummy. We leave out a lot of spices and ingredients on purpose, since we have pretty simple taste buds. Although you are more than welcome to add your own ingredients as you see fit.

Our three easy Quesedilla recipes are more “method” than “recipe”. No matter what kitchen gadgets you have (or don’t have), you should be able to make Quesedillas at least one way listed here. Also, you’ll find some extra recipes and ideas that would go fantastic with your Quesedillas.

Main Ingredients

To start, we use the following:

– Tortillas (medium size)
– 2 packages Cooked Chicken
– Shredded Cheese

 

Method #1 – Griddle

Our favored method of making Quesedillas is on the griddle, but we realize not everyone has one of these fantastic kitchen gadgets. Personally, I don’t know how we got along without it. To make Quesedillas, just preheat your griddle to 350*. I use non-stick cooking spray, usually butter flavor, to make the Quesedillas crispy but not burnt.

 

Method #2 – Sandwich maker

Same as the first method, but you’ll have to fold in the sides to make it fit. My 9 yr old was able to make Quesedillas in this fashion, although I did have to show her how to fold the tortillas. Just fold in the sides, then fold in from the top. It should be shaped like a sandwich before you stick it in the sandwich maker.  I use the cooking spray for this method as well, but I don’t think it’s completely necessary.

 

Method #3 – Microwave

Not our favorite way of making Quesedillas, but it works. 1 minute and 30 seconds usually melts the cheese completely. You won’t have a crispy shell if you put it in the microwave. Just warm, melty, gooey cheese.

 

Additional Ideas

Pico de Gillo (American style)
This recipe I picked up while working at a local taco joint in high school and tastes FANTASTIC with Quesedillas. Mix tomato, onion, lemon juice, garlic, and cilantro (fresh is best, but dried will work) in a Tupperware container. Shake well to coat the tomato and onion. Keeps in the fridge for about a week.

Seasoning Blends
Not long ago we had a Tastefully Simple party at The Hot Spot. I picked up a seasoning mix that included dried tomato, basil, and garlic. We shake a bit of that on our  Quesedillas before cooking and it adds just the right flavor. Other special blends you can find in your local grocery story. Play around! See what you come up with!

Writing Challenges for NaNoWrMo

I decided to jump on board with NaNoWriMo this year. That’s short for “National Novel Writing Month”, which is in November.  A little on the crazy side, considering I have so much other stuff going on with The Hot Spot, school, and remodeling the house. Yet this is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time.  I even gave it a shot a few years back, but didn’t quite get a novel completed. I was too wrapped up in the word count, trying to force myself to write a specific number of words a day even after I had “finished” the novel. I failed, I admit it. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try again!

This year I plan to work on a story I have been writing off and on for about 6 years. I’m not going to get caught up in writing specific number of words, or even an actual novel. What I do plan to do is just write, and hope by the end of it I have something that can be published.

I joined a group on LinkedIn with the intentions of getting myself ready for NaNoWrMo . I wasn’t expecting writing prompts or practice this early, but I think it’s a good idea regardless. If we don’t start now, how are we ever going to be ready to write a novel? Especially me, who is seriously out of novel-writing practice. I can’t even remember the last time I wrote a piece of fiction. Now or never, I thought when I saw that discussion topic.

The prompt was “When I opened the package that came in the mail today, I was shocked to find…” and the requirement was 500 words or less. So here’s what I wrote…

When I opened the package that came in the mail today, I was shocked to find a glowing shard of….something. “What is that?” I said to myself, my fingers hovering over the source of the light. Dare I touch it? It was small, probably no bigger than a quarter, yet the luminous glow created a blue hue the size of a soccer ball.
I shook the mysterious item out of the box and onto the antique table my grandmother had given me, hoping it wouldn’t destroy the wood I had worked so hard to restore. Much to my surprise, though, it didn’t even hit the surface. Instead, it floated, as if unseen hands cupped the special gift in a ceremonial offering.

The center of the item began to turn white while the blue hue started to spread. It consumed the entire table like rolling fog spewing from a fog machine. Then it began to dissipate, leaving a cloudy white residue across my table.

Of course. Why had I thought my beautiful table was a good dumping spot for a potentially harmful item? Stupid. Yet my cursing and regrets were short lived, when the cloud slowly began turning into a fantastic feast. A golden turkey appeared, cooked to perfection. Mashed potatoes came next, creamy smooth and sprinkled with herbs. Side dishes, desserts, and dips followed, until the table looked like a fancy buffet. The acorn-sized glowing shard was dimmer, yet still a floating glow in the center of the table.

My mouth hung open as I struggled to find an explanation for the appearance of so much food. What did it mean? Why was it here? I decided the only way to find answers was to test it again, so I grabbed the box it came in and scooped the glowing ball up. The food remained, yet I was not ready to taste test a possibly poison meal. Not until I found answers.

I shook the item onto the piano, where it spread light across the surface as it had done before. There was no food, but the keys began to move and a sweet melody filled the air. I knew the tune; my mother had played it for me when I was a child.

Next I tried the glow stone on a chair I had inherited from my great grandmother. There was no food or music, but instead the shape of a person took form. Slowly the image of my great grandmother appeared in the chair, smiling at me in approval.

“My cleaver little granddaughter, how smart are you!” She exclaimed, clapping her hands together and rising. The light from the mysterious item followed her. “You’ve learned how to use my special stone, and in no time at all! Come, let us eat, and I will tell you all about it….”

 

This might not be a fantastic story or even a great ending (personally, I think it sucks), but the purpose of the exercise was to get us comfortable with writing again. Mission accomplished. It made me think in descriptive, story-telling terms and helped jump start my creativity. Editing is something that can be done later.

For those of you participating in NaNoWrMo this year, I wish you the best of luck!

Splashes of Purple and Green

Wall Colors

My dad always stressed to me the importance of white walls. They go with everything, it makes the house easier to sell, and blah blah blah. When I showed him our color scheme for the girl’s bedroom, I thought he was going to have a heart attack.

Since I’ve given up hope of ever selling my house, I thought it was time to paint the walls something other than white. We know it can’t be painted over so easy, but we really don’t care. After seeing the purple and green walls (color scheme pictured above), we totally fell in love. It’s prompted more projects using our two favorite colors and we can’t stop doodling.

Pinterest has lent some amazing kids room decorating ideas for us, and actually where we started before we picked out the two main colors. Of course, when I started looking around, I wanted to immediately rush home and get started. Sadly it has not been a “quick and easy” job transforming the boring bedroom into a semi-teen room, yet we are still pushing forward.

Even though Pinterest got us started, some other neat ideas have been proposed….

Pop Art + Doodling

When my 14-yr-old cousin cut this out of the Monster box, she was really just doing it to keep herself entertained. I, however, saw it as a repurposing project. Pop art, as I’ve been calling it, since it uses modern images and mixed media. We plan to put it in a frame and hang it on the wall for the previously mentioned teen who (obviously) has a fetish for Monsters.

Decorated Outlet Cover

This project came from a pin on Pinterest. Only one word describes it – FUN! It’s so easy to sit and doodle on the blank covers when I’m socializing at The Hot Spot or when the kids and I need something to do. Funny thing is, we’ve had a lot of comments from fellow loungers who absolutely love it. Even my mother-in-law threatened to run off with it, because she LOVES anything purple. I foresee fun and easy Christmas projects!

 

Additional DIY projects include transforming the broken piano into useful centerpiece, chalkboard painting, and turning a toddler bookshelf into a teen room bookshelf. I wanted to paint my daughter’s dresser, but she’s stuck on it staying a solid black. No worries, I still have my 12-yr-old boy’s room to design and plenty of creativity leftover!

S’more Bars – Awesome S’more Recipe

In honor of National S’more Day yesterday, we decided to make S’more bars for The Hot Spot. It was a seriously sweet (yet oh-so-delicious) treat we all enjoyed very much. I do not recommend making this recipe too often because of the high amount of sugar, but it was fun to make regardless. The best part is it was SUPER easy and took maybe 10 minutes to put together before baking.

 

The original recipe came from Megan’s Cookin’, a page we found on Pinterest (love that site by the way – how did we ever manage without it?).  We made a minor change, and I actually suggest cutting back on the sugar just a bit more. The graham crackers were sweet enough without the loads of sugar and butter.

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