When You Have a Day to Yourself . . .

Hi There . . .

Rainy New Year's Day, kids and husband out of town, day off . .  left overs, a movie (or 2 or 3) and luckily not hung over . . I had hours to check out my pinterest folders and a few of my favorite sites .. it was heaven today.

I love simple little things, little projects or recipes that are quick.  Quick is the operative word.  I think it's because I am being so "crafty/creative" all day, most days and sometimes it can be time-consuming and exhausting.  But I have two girls and not surprisingly they like to "make" things.  I have an few simple, simple projects that - if dragged out can offer hours of distracting fun for your kids.  Also included a simple, fun lunch (the pizza-on-a-stick) and an appropriate, low-fat (it is the day of cliche promises) dinner (salmon nicoise).  I don't know, just thought I'd share . . . it was just fun re-reading these and making these cute little photoshop boards - while watching Almost Famous (one of my favorites) . . like I say, had the day to myself !

A.  “Fruity” Candy Canes
Materials:  pipe cleaners, fruit loops.  

Shape the pipe cleaners into candy canes, bend the bottom into a hook to catch the cereal.  Thread on, either random or in a pattern, make another hook to hold in place.  Don’t underestimate a ton on these on your tree next year!

B.            Color me Curtain Poles

Materials:  wooden curtain rods & finials, flat spray paint

Only trick here is to get a nice smooth finish.  My trick is to take an empty box, turn upside down and pop the finials into the box, standing straight up.  Raise up and lightly and evenly spray several coat until covered.  For the poles, string up as well by attaching a small rope on the ends around a screw.  Slowly walking around over and under getting all sides.  If you want a specific color.. a lot of smaller paint stores will (like my own Eastway Paint here in Charlotte) put your paint in spray can formula! ** Shop small business!

C. A “Real” Thank-You

Materials:  wall paper scraps, card stock, spray mount glue

Save your wall paper scraps or scrap book paper and make your own note cards.  Take a minute or two to write that thank-you, as oppose to the email version !

D. Feed the Birds

Materials:  orange, twine, birdseed.

With a sharp knife, cut the orange, scoop out the flesh, pierce 4 small holes on opposite sides about 1/2” from the top edge of each half.  Thread one piece of 24” long twine through a hole and out the opposite end.  Repeat with the second piece of twin in the remaining holes (you’ll have an “X”).  Gather the ends together and tie in a knot.  Repeat with other half.  Fill with bird seed and hang from a sturdy branch outside.

E. Salmon Nicoise Salad
Ingredients: Salmon, green beans, good quality olives (like Kalamata), eggs, grape tomatoes, mixed greens, baby potatoes, hard “cooked” eggs,
Vinaigrette:  2 T olive oil, 1 t apple cider vinegar, 1/4 t Dijon mustard, salt & pepper.

Pan-sear the salmon fillets in olive oil with salt & pepper
Blanch the green beans in oiling water 90 seconds and cool in ice bath
Boil the potatoes until tender, drain and cool
Hard “cook” your eggs and cut in half
Arrange all on a plate of mixed greens and drizzle with vinaigrette

OR just go to Lulu’s here in Charlotte - they have the best (tuna) nicoise in town !!!

F.           Baked Hard-Cooked Eggs
Ingredients: Eggs

Here’s a handy step by step on how to bake hard-cooked eggs in the oven.  The results?  Simpler, easier to peel (hooray! this is my least favorite part) and softer texture (the whites aren’t rubbery).  You can make as many dozen at a time as you have muffin pans.  Amazing.

Preheat oven to 325, place eggs into standard 12-count muffin pan.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Place cooked eggs in a cold bath of water.  When cool, ready for peeling.  That’s it!

G.     Graphic Table Runner *

Materials:  (really.. this is beyond easy) brown paper, paint, a brush

No explanation - just keep it on a big scale and graphic - polka dots,
chevron, plaid - that sort of thing.. I love this simple, personal touch.

* thanks ohhappyday.com

H.   Pizza-on-a-Stick

Ingredients:  1 lb (grapefruit size) piece of dough *, 1/2 cup pizza sauce or crushed tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese, pepperoni or other favorite toppings

* check out www. allrecipes.com for dough - or buddy up to your favorite pizza place and buy yourself a ball . .  way faster and probably better anyway.

Roll the dough out to a 1/4” thick rectangle on a floured surface
Layer on sauce, cheese, pepperoni (leave some of the cheese exposed so that it can melt and act as a glue to hold the pizza rolls together.

Roll the dough with toppings into a log starting at the long end

Using kitchen shears, cut the dough into 1/2” thick buns.  Place on prepared sheet.  Let rest on counter for 15-20 minutes.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden. Place them on a stick.  Done.

I.  Glitter Keys

Materials:  your keys, clear nail polish, Mod Podge*

Clean your key with rubbing alcohol, add a layer of clear nail polish (it gives the Mod Podge really something to cling to), brush the Mod Podge on the end of the key (both sides), dip in the glitter, add a final coat of
clear nail polish over the glitter.

* FYI Mod Podge is a glue like substance that dries clear, you can get it at Michael’s or most craft stores.

J. Funniest Bookmark Ever (for the computer/printer savvy)

Materials:  your i phone and the ability to print on card stock, a pair of scissors

I just think this is hilarious and with two kids that read a lot, how funny would it be to slide this in their book without a word.  Take a self portrait - as goofy as possible.  Print on heavy card stock making sure the size is such that the “hands” clip over the page and the back is long enough to slide behind.  Just too funny.

K. Fruit Stickers *

Materials:  printer labels, scissors (for the computer/printer savvy)

Another cute idea to surprise the kids with.  If yours are like mine they
play with the fruit stickers . . switch them out when they aren’t looking.

* thanks ohhappyday.com

L. Cupcake Flower Lights *

Materials: cupcake papers large and small , string lights, scissors, exacto knife

Fold and cut papers in flower shapes, layering colors and shapes.  Cut and “X” in the center and feed the light through!  Pretty easy.

* thanks ohhappyday.com

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