Easy Banana Bread

Did I ever tell you about the time I bought a 40 lb. box of bananas? They were only $4.99 so it was a really good deal! My husband thought it was completely ridiculous. It was. And I think I have learned my lesson.

I gave some away, but mostly I just made a crazy amount of banana bread and banana muffins. This recipe is great for banana bread, but I also bake it in muffin form sometimes. They freeze well if you happen to have 40lbs. of bananas or so to use up! I also like freezing muffins so that the kids can get their own breakfast when I am not much of a morning person.

Banana bread recipe- so easy to make!

Another nice feature of this recipe is that everything just gets put in the bowl and then mixed really well. Easy!!!

Banana bread recipe... This is so good!

Since I have scaled back my banana bread baking, I keep an eye out for the little bags of discount bananas that are starting to brown at the grocery store. Yellow bananas never have a chance to turn brown in this house- they don't last long enough!

Easy Banana Bread

3 extra-ripe medium bananas 2 eggs 1/3 cup softened butter 3/4 cup sugar 1 1/3 cup flour 1/2 tsp. baking soda 2 tsp. baking powder

Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl in the order given. Mix really well. Pour into greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until you can stick a toothpick in the center and it comes back out clean. For muffins, pour into muffin pans either greased or with paper liners and decrease baking time.

 

Easy banana bread recipe that mixes in one bowl!

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Stuffed Bunny Ear Transplant

Summer vacation is rough!!! I (laughably) thought it might be easier this year because I actually downsized from being with 20 kids all day to just 5. Hahahahaha! Dealing with 5 of my own kids is entirely different. They aren't used to being with each other all day so they need to reestablish the pecking order. It is taking longer than usual with the hormones raging in this house these days (oh, just a sample of what is to come, I know!) Now we have a heat wave and my car is in the garage. It has been quite the week! So, if you are wondering where I have been, I am probably hiding- locked in my bedroom and curled up in the fetal position with a bag of chocolate chips.

OK. Not really.

I have ice cream.

Every now and then I get ambitious/drink extra coffee and try do something fun. Last week we went on our planned shopping excursion, but it took until 2pm or so to get them to clean their rooms so we could leave. Our first stop was the thrift store for a very specific purpose- bunny ears. The kids are waking up right now so I am going to let my 9yo do a little guest posting and tell you about it!

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I have a stuffed bunny named Twinkle Toes. It is a Beanie Boo that has the same birthday as me. My aunts' dog chewed off my bunnies' ears. They don't make these bunnies anymore so we couldn't get a new one. My mom and I decided to go to the thrift store to find new ears. I found the perfect bunny. It's ears were backwards! We all went home and mom washed the bunny. A few days later, my mom seam ripped what was left of the ears on Twinkle Toes. She also cut the ears off of the 2nd bunny. She sewed the ears on Twinkle Toes. We even added a pink flower! AGAIN, MOM SAVES THE DAY!!!!!!!!!

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Thank you for posting for me today, Lydia! I am happy that I could fix your bunny for you!

Rustic Winter Pine Cone Centerpiece

After all of the Christmas decorations are put away the house can seem a little cold and empty. I wanted to create some neutral, rustic, winter decor to fill the gap a bit. I have a few Valentine's Day decorations, but if I put pink all over the place I would start a pretty big fight in this house since we have strong opinions on both sides about that color. Instead, I went with more natural elements (free stuff I gathered outside) for sort of a rustic, winter look.

pine cone box centerpiece

The first thing I made was this pine cone centerpiece. My husband had built me a box that will hold mason jars for a centerpiece. I had yet to fill it with anything and I was inspired by a centerpiece on Pinterest that has a bad link. I stained my box with a weathered gray stain and topped it with dark walnut antiquing wax.

winter pine cone centerpiece

I found two pillar candles in a cupboard. They aren't even the same color, but I don't care.

natural winter centerpiece

Next, my daughter and I went for a walk and collected pine cones. They were wet from being outside, so we baked them in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour or two on a foil lined cookie sheet. This makes them open up and draws out the sap and bugs. I spray painted them with a little ivory just to dust them and give them a frosty coating.

how to bake pine cones
How to open pine cones

Finally, we arranged everything in the box with some white berry picks. Those were on clearance after Christmas and the only thing I had to actually buy for this project.  I really think arranging everything in the box was the hardest part. I also dabbed a bit more white paint on the edges of the pine cones for more contrast.  Some of the pine cones went missing before I took these pictures, too. ;)

DIY frosted pine cones
rustic winter centerpiece box

I like my little box and it will be fun to change it out with the seasons. It isn't perfect, but the girls got to help and we made do with what we could find.

I have a few more rustic, winter decorating projects that I will blog about later this week!

Mend Holes in Jeans 3 Different Ways

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My 7yo has been really hard on her jeans! I guess she is just at that age. I also catch her crawling around on the floor playing with her younger sisters a lot. Whatever the cause, she is wearing holes in the knees of all of her jeans! Some of them I just bought her a few months ago! Grrr! I did get her another pair, but I don't want to keep buying jeans because soon it will be "shorts weather" and surely by next school year she will jump up another size.

So, for now, I mended them. I am not usually that great at mending jeans. When we first got married I tried to mend my husband's jeans and the (ugly) patches fell off the first time he wore them. This time, I decided to try out a couple of different techniques and see what was easiest/cutest/holds up the best.

The first one is the prettiest! Yes, it took some time, but I like hand stitching, especially when it can be kind of random embroidery like this. 
I found the basic directions HERE but used scraps from jeans I cut off into shorts a long time ago to make a denim patch to cover the back.
The second one I tried wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. The biggest pain was having to open up the outside seams of the jeans to get access to the knees with my sewing machine, then sew them shut again. I like that they maintain a worn look, but should not rip out further and her knees won't get cold. :)
I got the patching directions HERE. One of the patches shifted while I was stitching and got a little wonky- I used the wrong heat'n'bond at first- you need Ultra Hold!

The last one was super easy! I got some iron on patches in bright colors. I must have had a coupon or something. Anyway, I used one of the knobs from THIS dresser (my blog post was accidentally deleted but the pin is still there) to make a template. The patches are just easily ironed on. NO SEWING! It seems too good to be true, so we will see if it holds up. I really think it needs some rhinestone "seeds" on there, too! That would be really cute!

So, after one evening of sewing and/or ironing my daughter has three more wearable pairs of jeans. I will try to update later to let you know how each one holds up!
Link Parties where I sometimes hang out...

Freezer Pancake Breakfast Sandwiches

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I am not really a morning person.

My husband gets up really, really early for work and knows better than to try to wake me up lets me sleep. In appreciation for this, I try to make sure that he has something that he can grab for breakfast. These pancake breakfast sandwiches are his favorite! It is basically like a McGriddle from McDonald's. Except I know what is in these.

I like to make a big batch of them at once and put them in the freezer so that he can microwave them before he leaves for work. I do a lot of multitasking so it saves on cooking time, too.

Here are some of the things that I do to make this work:

  • Make your pancakes a little thick so that the syrup soaks in and it is a better sandwich size. 
  • Use a cookie scoop to put the batter on the griddle. It keeps them all about the same size.  
  • When they are cooked and cooled slightly, match them in pairs. Place one pancake on a plate. and pour about a tablespoon of maple syrup in the center. Quickly put the other pancake on top and flip the pancakes over so that it runs down into the second pancake, too. It might get a little messy, but you can use the next pair of pair of pancakes to wipe the plate off and soak up any excess syrup.
  • I used ham lunchmeat this time because I got a good deal on it locally. However, bacon or sausage patties would also be delicious. Bacon is, of course, his favorite.
  • Assemble the sandwiches and wrap them in a bit of Glad Press'n'Seal. It is a bit thicker than plastic wrap, so it makes it a little easier for him to eat on the go.
  • Place all of the wrapped sandwiches in a freezer bag so that they aren't getting lost in your freezer. Although, that has happened and it is a nice surprise if I find it in time.
  • To reheat, vent the Press'n'Seal and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Be careful!
These are great because I get to sleep in and he gets a nutritious breakfast. It also saves a lot of money vs. him stopping to get breakfast on his way to work.
Do you have any tips to make breakfast a little easier? I would love to hear about it!
UPDATE! I found a faster and healthier way to make the eggs for these sandwiches! See it HERE!
Link Parties where I sometimes hang out...

Girls Room Collage Wall ~ with Free Printables!

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This summer, the girls and I did a lot of crafty projects. The biggest thing we did was a collage wall for a new bedroom. The walls are painted a light gray and the trim is a darker gray. That created a neutral backdrop and the girls each chose their favorite color for decorative accents- red and teal/aqua. I also threw in some pink and white.
This is probably my favorite home decorating project ever! I love the way it turned out.
It was a frugal project, too. Well, until I got command strips to hang everything because my husband didn't want his new wall full of holes. ;)  (I can't complain- that made it so much easier to hang everything!) We went to a local thrift store on half off day and picked out a bunch of frames. I already had a few that I picked up at yard sales for a quarter each.
We took out the original artwork and scuffed the frames up with sandpaper.
Then, I put the girls to work painting them. :)
I got some free codes from Shutterfly to order black and white prints. If the frame was a strange size, I mounted the picture to scrapbook paper or used a strip to fill in a gap.
We also got some wood frames from Michaels at a really good sale price. The laser cut frames were painted by the girls and we mod podged scrapbook paper to the other ones. The big one in this picture is an 11 x 14, so it is pretty big!
I also cut out a mustache (my 11yo loves them!) using scrap wood from an old dresser drawer that fell apart. I printed out a horse silhouette for the heart frame since it was an odd shape for photographs.
My 7yo was unhappy about the black and white pictures, so I printed out a few pictures that she liked and matched the color scheme to hang in an open frame with bakers twine and mini clothespins.
I also wanted the collage wall to include some encouraging and inspiring messages for my daughters. I found a few free printables that I liked.
Free from incourage HERE.
Find it HERE.

I also created a few of my own free printables. You can use them, too. Just give me credit if you blog and don't sell them. OK?

My 11yo chose this Bible verse. I got the clip art here: Designed by Freepik. (There is a spelling mistake, but I fixed it. It only took 2.5 years to notice it!)

Comparison is the thief of joy is something that I told my daughter when we had a long heart to heart talk last year. I hope these words stick with her. I think all of us would to well to remember them. Again, the wreath graphic can be found here: Designed by Freepik.

The words HOPE and Laugh were clearance finds. Everything for this project (besides the command strips) cost under $35.

I have another decorating project that I plan to share on the blog soon. I also plan on doing another, smaller collage wall for another bedroom. These are really fun!

Link Parties where I sometimes hang out...

 

Turtleneck to Maxi Skirt Tutorial

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This one has been a long time coming! I finally got some cute pics of my daughter in her maxi skirt so that I could finish up this post!  Last spring, when I was on my maxi skirt sewing kick, my 5yo had requested a RED one. Well, I thought I would just pick some fabric up at a nearby Walmart, but they no longer carry ANY knit at that store! :( So, I wandered over towards the clothing and found a Women's XL red turtleneck on clearance for $1!

This was a super cheap and easy project. I even had enough left over to make her a headband (which we forgot about when taking these pictures- that is what happens when you wait all summer!) and a matching skirt and headband for her doll (see THIS post if you care.)
I am not sure what she is doing with her hands here...
This skirt is so comfy (not that I actually wore it, but, you know, she did) and it doesn't slow her down and keep her from playing hard- which is a must for kids' clothing. Are those enough selling points for you? Well, they should be. If you make one, pretty please show me some pics! OK?  Good.  Here is your free tutorial...
I thought the neck looked like it would fit her waist so I had her try it on. It was a perfect fit! (My kids might think I am crazy. You know, "Here, honey. Put this turtleneck on, but put the neck around your waist. OK?") If it is too big, you can just take it in after you cut it off. You want it to fit snugly, so it has to be a little smaller than the actual waist measurement. (I guess I could have just measured instead.)
Anyway... cut the neck off, then fold the shirt in half. Measure the height needed from waist to ankles.  Starting that distance from the bottom, draw a line that is one quarter of the total measurement of the neck/waist/whatever. Then, draw an a-line to the bottom of the shirt. You are keeping the original hem of the shirt (SWEET!) I hope this step is not too confusing.  Just follow the picture...

Sew the side seams of the skirt, right sides together.  You can use a zig-zag or stretch stitch or a serger. I used a stretch stitch and then overlocked the edges for extra durability.

Pin the neckband to the inside of skirt.
Sew it together. This is what it looks like, inside out.

Flip it around and press.

TADA!  It really only took about 15 minutes to make.  Definitely a hit!

As always, this tutorial is for personal, non-commercial use only. No copycats. Got it? Thanks!