Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DIY Train Table

Do you have a kid who would love a train table for Christmas? (Let me re-phrase that, who doesn't have a kid who would love a train table for Christmas?!)

Last year my little girl really wanted a train table.
My husband I spent a fair amount of time shopping around and pricing things out to see if we could make her wildest dreams come true, but it soon became apparent to me that my husband was appalled at the options for the actual table. "$150 for that flimsy thing?" he kept saying.

Out came the paper and pencil and off to Home Depot he went. He soon figured he could make a bigger, better, stronger table for only about $40 rather than the $100-$200 we saw everywhere else.

Here's our finished product:

DIY: $40
BUY ONE: $100- $200

So, if you have the tools and the inclination to build a train table this year, here is the know-how:

Step 1. Build a frame. My husband used 2x2s for the frame. The inside dimensions were 36" x 48".

Step 2. Attach either 1/4" or 1/2" ply wood to the frame to serve as the table top.

Step 3. Use 1x6s as an edge around the whole thing, leaving a lip around the table top (see images below).

Here is a view from the bottom of the table.

And here is a view from the top of the table. You can see where he screwed the top onto the frame.

Here is a view of the table top with the lip around the edge.

Step 4. Attach legs using 2x2s.

Step 5. Stain the whole thing.

Step 6. Put your trains on top. Not much of a train table without them. :)

Step 7. Feel the satisfaction of seeing your kids LOVE the Christmas gift Santa brought for them and of knowing it won't break when they immediately climb on top of it. :) Good Christmas indeed!

Now get to work! :)

Hoping your holiday gift-giving is fun and successful,

Here's where we are linking up.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Alphabet Magnets, 2nd Installment

Remember our fun Alphabet Magnets we made last year?

Well, here's another fun edition--stripes! I made these for a Christmas present this year, and I think they turned out bright and cheery.

I got lucky this year and found the clear stones at the dollar store--20 for $1!!! What a steal.
I bought some extra-strength magnets since these are quite heavy and they are really nice, strong magnets now.
See the orginal post for the how-to.

How's your handmade Christmas projects coming along?

No time to make these sweet magnets yourself?
Don't worry, we made some for you... here!

Here's where we are linking up.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Repost: Fabulous Eggnog Pie

This recipe is too good to post just once!
I'm sure it's the pie recipe you've been looking for--the one that will wow everyone at your Thanksgiving get-together. :)

This pie is so good! Every year for Thanksgiving my family makes eggnog pie because EVERYONE loves it. I happen to be of the opinion that strait eggnog is a bit heavy and strong, but this pie mixes that wonderful eggnog flavor with vanilla pudding and whip cream and what you get is a PERFECT eggnog flavor and texture. You must bring this to your Thanksgiving celebration this year. It will be a huge success.

1 lrg box (~ 4 to 5 oz.) vanilla pudding, cook and serve

3 c. eggnog
1 c. heavy whipping cream, whipped with 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar and ½ tsp. vanilla

1. Combine the pudding mix and eggnog in a sauce pan. Stirring constantly, cook until thickened (about 10 minutes) then cool.
2. Fold the whipped cream into the eggnog pudding mix and put into a baked pie shell of your choice (pastry, graham cracker, gingerbread cookie…)

note: if you have only a 3-oz. box, use only 2 c.eggnog.

Print the recipe.

Here's where we are linking up. :)

Thanksgiving Recipes

Still trying to decide EXACTLY what you want to make for Thanksgiving?
Here are a few of our past posts that might help you out...
or just give you more delicious options you can't decide between :)

I figured it would be best to start with dessert.

And now here are a couple sides.

OK, I realize there is no picture for the baked yam recipe,
but some things are too good to stop and take pictures of!

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Recipe Review: Vanilla Spiced Pear Butter

May I just say YUM-O!! with much enthusiasm? :) I love this pear butter recipe!

From Good Life Eats
This fall I bought a whole box of pears--they were wonderful and we gobbled them up. But, it soon became apparent that we were not going to finish the box before they turned to mush, so I started a hunt for some pear butter. This was the recipe I tried and we truly have enjoyed it--it is marvelous on homemade bread and also great on french toast and pancakes. If you are in the market for pear butter, this would be a great recipe to try. :)

The only thing I did differently was to add half of the sugar called for, and frankly I'm still surprised how sweet the finished product turned out. In fact, my only complaint is that it is still a little too sweet! I would recommend also cutting back on the sugar. Enjoy! Thanks Good Life Eats.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Build a Fort!

It's getting cold outside and we find ourselves in more than out. So, we had to make some fun.
The kids loved the 'fort'.
(and yah, check out that baby girl's hair. I'd like to say it's static from the blankets, but honestly, it doesn't do anything else :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cranberry Walnut Muffins

Like I've said before... I LOVE muffins.
This recipe is no exception.
I got the recipe here: Cranberry Walnut Muffins

It's so easy AND pretty darn healthy.

I always use chopped fresh cranberries instead of the dried variety.
(If the cranberries have been frozen just chop them and toss them with flour before adding then to the batter.)

It's such a good basic recipe too. You could change it up and put any add ins you like, apple, orange zest, pecans... whatever.


here's where we link

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Folding Table RE-DO

I am so excited to have this 'new' folding table!
Especially since it's actually bigger than our kitchen table, so having people over for dinner can be a bit tight.
So here's the finished product.

And here's the before.
Gross, with a few tears.
But when I saw this baby out by the dumpster I knew it still had potential.

I flipped it upside down and enscrewed the top from the frame. Then I tore off the old fabric covering.

I layered a nice thick fabric and clear plastic on top (the kind you buy by the yard at the fabric store).
Then set the frame back on and screwed everything back in place.

And it's done!
A nice, new clean, spill-proof table!
I think it would also have been fun to spray paint the frame a fun color and use bright fun fabric for a kids table. Just another idea.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake

Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake

I had ripped this recipe out of a magazine a few months ago and when I saw a couple extra ornages on the counter this week, waiting to be used, I remembered this. It's a good thing I did too because it was divine!

Perfect for fall.
Moist and full of flavor.
Maybe a nice alternative to gingerbread.
(Jaime, you have to try this one :)

here's where we link

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Teepee Treats

Now this was a fun preschool snack!
When it was my daughter's turn to take snacks to her preschool and it happened to be "I is for Indians...and Pilgrams" day (they were learning about Thanksgiving), I couldn't resist but to make these treats for the kids.

I think they are adorable and evidently they were a big success with the kids. :)

To make them, I just dipped sugar cones in some melted chocolate chips, sprinkled with some sprinkles, and then used more melted chocolate to help "glue" some pretzel sticks coming out the top opening (which I had enlarged to fit the pretzels).

Here's where we are linking up.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fall Harvest Mantel

Now that Halloween is long since over, I was ready to change my Halloween mantel into something a little more appropriate for Thanksgiving.
I'd been debating about several different ideas when I walked into Fred Meyer one morning and all their squashes were on sale. So I bought some squashes. A lot of squashes.

I love squash and I love the idea of harvest, so this was perfect for me. Squashes are kind of amazing--they come in so many funky colors and shapes, and it is fun to see them all together.

And when Thanksgiving is over, we can eat the decorations!!! :) How's that for cost-effective? Butternut and Apple Harvest soup anyone? Or Pasta with Roasted Squash?

Anyway, I love how colorful and festive it turned out. My daughter also had a great time helping place the squashes.

Best wishes,

Here's where we are linking up.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

DIY dollhouse

A few years ago my husband I spent many of our December nights painting and gluing this little beauty for our little girl's Christmas present. I still think it is the cutest dollhouse I've ever seen. :)

We knew we wanted to get her a dollhouse for Christmas and spent way too much time looking for the perfect one--the one that fit our style, our size, our wallet, etc. Then one day we got lucky and  found one of these dollhouse kits on Craig's List FOR $10. Yes, $10, not $100 (which still would have been a good deal the way these kits are priced!).

We immediately bought it and went to work. We had so much fun making it too. These dollhouse kits are definetly made for collectors and not for parents to put together in a few nights for their little girls--it took WAY more time than we expcted. But, honestly we had fun. We painted and glued while we listened to audio books.

We painted the interior a variety of colors to make it a little whimsical too.

I love all the molding and the front porch--too cute. The door even has tiny little hinges.

We added some extra little birds to the house because she had a thing for "birdie birds" and then painted a pink tree in the yellow room upstairs since at the time my daughter had a pink tree mural in her yellow room as well. We thought that'd make it fun and personal.

All-in-all it really is the sweetest little dollhouse ever. Not only is it adorable but it is also memorable--all the time my husband and I spent working on it together means a lot. That being said, like I mentioned earlier, these dollhouse kits really are meant for collectors not little children. My oldest daughter has a more mild, gentle personality and so she played with it easily without damaging it. However, that is not the case with her younger sister or any other kid we've ever had over. The door has been ripped off its hinges LOTS of times, window panes poked out, molding ripped off the roof, etc. So I would advice against giving it to any child younger than about 6.

Hope that inspires you for Christmas!

Here's where we are linking up.