Category Archives: Uncategorized

Free Printables to Help you Prep Your Best Thanksgiving Ever

Somehow it is suddenly literally two weeks before Thanksgiving. How did that happen?  I host some of my extended family at my house and it is a LOT of work.  But I really do enjoy it.  Don’t listen to my husband.  Yes, I may have a major meltdown on the day of, but it’s totally worth it.  AND, I plan to be super organized this year with these free printables I created so that I am prepared for the Best Thanksgiving Ever!

free-holiday-holiday-planning-printables

Menu

thanksgiving-menu

I love to be a tiny bit fancy at Thanksgiving and menus are totally fancy.  I’ll print this out the day of and write in with my very best hand writing the menu for the day.  Pro Tip, Don’t write anything on the menu until you’ve tasted it.  If it happens to be a fail, you don’t want it mocking you from your menu.

To Do List

to-do-list

 

If you’re like me, you might need to print several of these.  I don’t just cook for Thanksgiving.  There’s cleaning, crafting, decorating, hanging light fixtures, painting and all sorts of other random things that suddenly jump to urgent status on my to do list.

Grocery List

grocery-list

 

I’ll probably need to print at least two of these guys.  Pro Tip, try to organize your grocery list by aisles.

Cooking Schedule

cooking-schedule

 

I need to have a plan on a stressful day.  This cooking schedule helps a ton with keeping the stress low.  I’ll probably end up adding in non cooking related items like setting the table or brushing my hair just so I don’t forget those important items.

If you would like to print these handy organization tools for your Thanksgiving celebration, please do!  Just click the image, download it to your desktop and print it out to Full Page size.  Happy planning!

Dear Daughter – A Note to My Daughter on This Day after the Election

Dear Daughter,

I’m sorry that this country has let you down and failed to elect a female president in any of it’s 56 elections.  We finally had a woman on the ballot this year and it seemed as though she might have won it. She was flawed, but she was qualified and level headed and a very good choice if you share her beliefs.  I wish I could tell you that she was not elected because there was another candidate who was better qualified and will do just fine at leading our country because he is a good man with good morals.  There are so many other Republican politicians we could have said that about.  But America didn’t choose to put any of them on their ballot.  I wish I could tell you that Mr. Trump won because he also has good ideas and that they are based on good values.  Many people in America questioned Secretary Clinton’s character because as a public servant for thirty years she sometimes failed and those failures were public and difficult.  I wish I could tell you that the playing field was fair and that Mr. Trump was judged equally for his failures.  Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Instead, what I have to somehow try to explain to you is that America picked Mr. Trump despite the fact that he has displayed immoral, racist, misogynistic behavior publicly and without any apologies.  I wish I could tell you that perhaps his behavior was misinterpreted or that these were youthful indiscretions or that he had temporary insanity and so we can forgive him and keep an open mind and move forward as we have been asked to do.  But, none of those things are true.  There is no way to misinterpret the things that he said on that bus.  Please know that although many men and women have said that those filthy and illegal things he spoke of on that bus were “locker room” talk, it does not mean that your daddy speaks like that.  Ever.  Those words Mr. Trump spoke are not ok and they should never be brushed aside as something men brag about when women aren’t around.  Not all men talk like that and not all men think it is ok to talk like that.  I promise your daddy is better than that.

You’re going to hear a lot of people saying things like, “Put our differences aside” and “Come together and support the new President”.  Every other year, every other candidate, I have agreed with this.  This year I won’t (and I won’t ask you to) support a person of such low character and with no moral code.  I can’t look you or your brother in the eye and say, “We will support him even if we don’t agree with him”. I cannot ask you to look the other way for someone who has bragged about assaulting women or made fun of handicapped people.  I can’t tell you I will support someone who believes in banning people from entering the country based on their religion because I know you haven’t forgotten that religious freedom was the reason this country was started.  I won’t ask you to support any of those things because none of them are about politics.  They are about morals and strength of character and there is no difference of opinion when it comes to those two things.  You either are or are not a moral person and you either do or do not have character.  These are the issues where there is no gray area.  There’s no seeing the other person’s point.  If you are going to brag about assaulting another human or make fun of a handicapped person or judge someone based on their religion then you are not a good person.  Period.

Which brings me to the hardest part of this letter. How to deal with the people we know and love who have voted for Donald Trump (along with millions of other Americans).  I want to tell you why so many people have ignored the horrible things this man has done.  Many of them will say that they disliked Hillary so much that they felt they had no other choice.  But that’s not true.  There were as many as 10 Republican candidates vying to be on the ballot this year, but Trump beat them all.  Many will say they were looking for change.  I heard an interesting opinion from an immigrant this morning who, at first glance, was the last person in the world I thought would be a Trump supporter.  He said he thinks people voted for Trump because he held out promises to people.  He would say things like, “It’s going to be so great, you won’t believe it.  You’ll see” and “I know Isis better than the generals, believe me”. Those words are enticing, but they don’t actually mean anything or have any basis in reality.  But, maybe it was those glorious promises that got so many people to vote for Mr. Trump. Because it can’t be that there are millions of people in this country who agree with his morals. Please don’t let it be that.

So, dear daughter, I want to close by saying that sometimes in life the wrong person wins.  Sometimes in life you will question the moral fabric of your country.  My advice to you is don’t get your news from Facebook.  Listen to NPR or watch the BBC news and when you are a little older watch John Oliver and know the actual facts about the things that are going on in the world around you and then make choices based on facts.  That’s how you make good decisions.  Look at what is real and then look into your heart and decide what is right.  Because I’d rather you be questioning the moral fabric of the country than questioning your own.

Love,

Your Mother

5 Alternatives to the Boob Light

*** This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on one and make a purchase, I may earn a commission.***     In case you haven’t noticed, we have whizzed right through October and have landed firmly in Thanksgiving preparation mode.  One thing I really want to get off of my to do list before Thanksgiving is to finally pick out a light for our “parlor/living room/roku room”.  This is the room that used to be a dining room until I switched it around and made it a parlor.  Parlor is where I have landed on what this room is to be named.  Here is a reminder picture:

rokuroom

Hmm.  That picture is very outdated.  A lot of changes have happened in here since I last photographed it. See the chandelier that is clearly a dining room fixture?  That was taken down a long while ago because the tall people kept banging into it.  So, at the moment, there is nothing there.  Just a hole in the ceiling where a light should be.  So sad.  Maybe this light fixture purchase will be the jumping off point to finish the other to do’s in this room.

There are some things to consider when picking out the light for this room.  First, the ceiling is low, so the fixture will have to be a flush mount.  I also have shiny chrome fixtures in the kitchen which is adjacent to this room, so I want the light to work with those.  Of course, I love a bargain, so I don’t want it to be too expensive, unless it’s really pretty and special and then maybe I’ll splurge.  Oh and it CANNOT be a boob light.  Not sure what a boob light is?  Here you go:

Forte Lighting 1 Light Flush Mount - Marble Glass

That’s a boob light. You can never unseen that.

With these parameters in mind, I have come up with five options that I think would work well.

five-beautiful-alternatives-to-the-dreaded-boob-light-flush-mount-ceiling-fixtures

Five Alternatives to The Dreaded Boob Light

 

Transitional 3-light Painted Champagne Flush Mount Light

Transitional 3 Light Painted Champagne Flush Mount – I love this one.  This one is probably it.  It’s very slender and it has 3 lights, so it will light this room nicely. The metallic finish does not match the kitchen, but I almost don’t care.  I really like this one.  It rings in at $162, which is a tiny bit expensive, but I really like this one.  Really.

 

Industrial Vintage Semi Flush Mount Ceiling Light - LITFAD 21" Chandelier Barn Metal Hanging Fixture With 5 Lights Painted Finish, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KLXS93A/ref=cm_sw_r_pi_awdm_x_l2OfybH7BVV0P:

Industrial Vintage Semi Flush Mount – Ok truthfully, this fixture has no place in my home, but it is totally cool.  So, as a public service announcement to anyone who does have this aesthetic, go buy this guy!  Bonus, it’s only $59!  Put it in the shopping cart!

Raindrop - LED Flush Fixture w/ Optional Blue Water Film ... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E2I0Q6E/ref=cm_sw_r_pi_dp_x_Kp.fyb5X7WJ7X:

Raindrop LED Flush Fixture – Alright, this lady falls under the category of pretty enough to maybe splurge on it.  Isn’t it gorgeous?  I really want this one.  But, the price tag is a bit steep at $276.  Ouch.  Maybe.  It does match the metal in the kitchen. That’s one bonus point for this one.

Safavieh Avery Ceiling Drum Light, Antique Gold - Walmart.com:

Safavieh Avery Ceiling Flush Mount – This one again has no business in my house, but I kind of love it.  Maybe I’ll just change every piece of metal in my house to this gold finish and grab this one.  It rings in at $122.

Progress Lighting P3402-15 Status Chrome Steel and Porcelain 2-light Flush Mount

Progress Lighting Flush Mount – This one is the best match to the rest of my house. I love almost everything about this except for one small thing.  The pretty little piece that is hanging down.  Is it long enough to stab someone in the head? I just don’t know.  It is just $90.

 

Ok, decision time.  I’ve really knocked two off the list already, so I’ve got a few short weeks to figure out which of the three left over I want to spend my pennies on.  Any thoughts?

Easy Watercolor Art

***This post contains affiliate links.  If you click one and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission!***    You can make something beautiful.  If you pick the right thing, you can totally make art that will be beautiful.  I’m not an artist, everything I have ever made I learned from the internet.  But, I do make some beautiful things sometimes.  I’m not special (for real, totally ordinary), I just try and if it comes out great, then great.  If it doesn’t come out great, then I learn something from it.  See this post about how I fixed a HUGE fail, which happens to be my MOST popular post of everything I have ever written, by a long shot, by the way.

My point is, all of those adorable things you are pinning and never trying?  Get on it. Try one.  The worst thing that will happen is that you will hate it and you will have wasted a few bucks on materials.  The best thing that could happen?  You could make something awesome that people will look at and say, “I love that!” and then, you get to say, “Thanks! I made it!”.  There is some major satisfaction in those simple words, people.  Serious satisfaction.

Here’s what I made this weekend. I think it’s pretty darn beautiful, if I do say so myself.

easy-art-with-watercolors

You know what is the best part of this?  One of the things I love about how these little paintings came out is that I actually messed up when prepping.  I was working from these instructions from Burlap and Blue and I was supposed to use painters tape to block off the edges.  Well, I didn’t feel  like searching high and low for the painters tape when I had perfectly good Scotch tape right in front of me.  I told myself I would just press it down really well into the canvas and it would be fine. Wrong.  As soon as the water hit the canvas it busted right past the Scotch tape.  But, guess what? I kind of loved how it looked!  I learned quickly not to go to crazy with water near the tape or it would be a real mess (see how I’m learning from my mistakes? :-)), but I definitely like the bit of bleeding through that was going on.

Ready to make your own?

Materials

better-easy-watercolor-materials

Canvases (I used these from Amazon)

Watercolors (These are awesome)

Paint brush (Like this is fine, but come on, you know have a little paint brush somewhere in the house)

Scotch Tape (Fine, buy it here, but you know you have this, too!)

**Assuming you only have to buy the canvases and the watercolors, the materials will cost about $21. If you have Amazon Prime (and you totally should) you can have this in two days with free shipping.

Method

  1.  Evenly tape off your canvases. I just went around the square and taped it off based on the width of the tape.  Press the tape down firmly.taped-off-canvas
  2. Think.  Yes, take a minute to think. I wanted to do a “season” theme with my canvases, so I thought about what colors were wintry, springy, summery and autumny.  (All words, trust. I don’t care what spell check says).
  3. Paint.  Dip your brush in some water and then in some paint and spread it on the canvas.  There isn’t much to tell here.  My only tip is to not let TOO much water get under the tape.  Other than that, go with your gut.  If you think the colors look pretty together, then chances are you are going to love your painting.  Don’t sweat it.  Experiment.  Note that the canvases I chose come in a pack of 12, so if you hate one, try again.
  4. Allow to dry.

horizontal-easy-art-with-watercolors

 

Four steps and about 20 bucks to beautiful art, guys.  Oh, and bragging rights,  of course.

Buy It Spy It or DIY It – Amazon – Handmade

***This post contains affiliate links.  If you click one and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission***         Did you know that Amazon has a whole category just for Handmade goods?  Yes?  Fine, I guess I’m last to the party. Well, it’s inspired me to bring back an old favorite, Buy It Spy It or DIY It.  Remember this fun game?  You can find other installments here , here, here, here, here or here.  The basic premise is I scour the appointed website for my favorite items and decide whether it’s worth the hard earned money and Buy It, or find that the item is overpriced and I should Spy It somewhere else (usually Homegoods or Target :-)) or, my favorite, decide it would be a great project and DIY It!

buy-it-spy-it-or-diy-it-amazon-handmade-edition

Old Books - Book Lovers' Soy Candle - 8oz Jar

Buy It – Do you have a book lover in your life?  I do and she is one of those old fashioned book readers who loves the look, feel and SMELL of real books.  She would just love this.  PS, she’s twelve.  Old soul.

Nebula Bowl - Grande

Spy It – How gorgeous is that bowl?  I was very close to making this a save your pennies and Buy It, but I do believe I’ve seen similar items in some of the nicer consignment stores or estate sales I’ve been to.  This is just too pricey for my blood.  Stunning, however.  If you’ve won the lottery, click over to Amazon and shell out the $220.

Swear Jar Mason Jar Bank - Coin Slot Lid

DIY It – Oh, how perfectly precious is this?  So DIY-able and if you have a potty mouth in your home or office, this is great.  You can save up the money that is paid to the jar and use it for a fun lunch or donate it to a favorite charity.  I love this idea.

Blue Ring dish, Crackle pattern, catch all, soap dish, small plate, trinket dish gift. Melted glass bohemian decor.

Spy It – I love this dish, don’t get me wrong, but I got one from a gift shop during my last vacation for about half the price.  Really pretty dish, though.

Stained glass panels - "Iridescent Peacock" (P-26)

Buy It, if you can’t DIY It – I found some crazy beautiful stained glass pieces. This one is stunning.  I have no idea how to do anything remotely like this, but it’s inspiring me to maybe try some glass art DIY’s.

This Is Not The Door You're Looking For Coir Funny Doormat, Size Small - Welcome Mat - Doormat - Custom Hand Painted Doormat by Killer Doormats

DIY It – What a great gift idea for the Star Wars fan who has everything. This so cute.  You could buy it, but this is easily DIY-ed with some paint and some stencils.

Initial Pillow - Floral Letter Pillow - Pillow with Letter P - Monogrammed Pillow - Custom Throw Pillow Flower Monogram Pillow

Buy It – I know what you’re thinking, this should be a DIY It.  Sadly, I don’t have the skills to make something like this.  It’s special enough and the fact that it’s monogrammed means I would shell out a little more money than I normally like to.

How much fun was that?  So much!  I’m going to be dreaming about that glass bowl and the stained glass windows tonight, people.

A Halloween Tradition – Boo-ing Your Friends

Our kids are so lucky.  We had Halloween night and we got candy.  They have Halloween night, Trunk or Treat, Halloween parades and what I think is the most fun new Halloween Tradition – Boo-ing Your Friends.  Are your kids doing this yet? They are going to want to do this. So, get ready for a Target trip.  Or the dollar store.

a-halloween-tradition-boo-your-friends

The concept is simple.  You put together a couple of cute treat packages, print the instructions and the We’ve Been Boo-ed sign (I have one for you!  Or you can make your own!  Or use one of the countless ones available through a variety of super cool blogs!).  Then deliver the goodies to your friends.  BUT WAIT!

THE TRICK IS, THEY CAN’T KNOW IT WAS YOU WHO BOO-ED THEM!

That’s right, this is a socially acceptable ding, dong, ditch, mostly because you are leaving the victim some candy.  What’s more Halloween-ish than sneaking down a dark, spooky driveway, leaving a little present on a doorstep and then ringing the bell and running away as fast as you can so no one sees you??? (Dear parents, use all of your high alert parenting skills here.  Kids running on darkened driveways is probably not the greatest idea on earth, so be hyper vigilant of cars and other dangerous things.  Like zombies).

Here are our treat baskets that we dropped off tonight:

treat-boxes-for-boo-ing-your-friends

I actually try not to make the treat package ALL candy.  I threw in a bag of M&M’s and some Peanut Butter cups, cause, ya know, protein in the PB, right?  I added in some dollar spot finds from Target like vampire teeth, those cute bat flashing light sticks and a chocolate chip cookie in a tin.  I popped all of that in the Frankenstein basket (also from the dollar spot!) and I think I probably spent about $10 total.  I probably would have made out even better at the dollar store, but sadly that is the only retail store that is not within a 6 minute radius of my home.

boo-treat-w-signs

Don’t forget to print and add your instructions for how to keep the Boo-ing alive to your treat packages.  I remember before my kids were old enough to participate, driving through the neighborhood and seeing that every door had some sort of a sign taped to it that I couldn’t quite make out from the road… It was actually quite a strange thing to see.  Each day more and more houses had a sign hanging on the front door and at that time, I had no idea what it was and why on earth I didn’t have one!  Some kind neighbor clued me before I put the house up for sale.  Here are the instructions and the We’ve Been Boo-ed Sign the Boo-ed victim hangs on the door so that they don’t get Boo-ed 50 times.  Yes, your kids will ask to not put the sign up because who doesn’t want to get candy left on their doorstep over and over again.  Just say no.  Or say yes and eat all of the candy yourself.  Just kidding (no I’m not).  You can right click on these and print them to your desired size.  I went 5×7.

boo-instructions weve-been-boo-ed

Sounds like fun, right?  Hurry up and get to Boo-ing so you can watch the phenomenon make it’s way through your neighborhood!

Fall Capsule Wardrobe from H&M

Fall, seriously, you need to make an appearance in the Northeast.  If I get in my car at 2:30PM tomorrow and it tells me it’s 91 degrees out, I’m going to lose it.  I’m going to melt into a puddle right there in the parking lot.  Yes, the nights have been pleasantly breezy and cool, but I’m SO tired of sweating every.single.day.  Get with it Fall, we need you.  Plus, I really want to start wearing boots again.  And sweaters.  Here’s a gratuitous photo of my feet in boots covered in pretty leaves:

Fall Leaves and Cozy Boots

In preparation for Fall, I have done some virtual shopping at H&M for a capsule wardrobe.  I’ve done this before, but I honestly have never actually taken the plunge to *buy* everything I picked because it seemed like too much money to spend in one sitting, especially when I have a closet full of perfectly good clothing.  But this time I took the plunge and bought everything. I really pared the items down to the bare minimum and I didn’t include shoes or black pants or jeans because I do have a couple of pairs of shoes and boots, a great pair of jeans and a good pair of black pants.  The black pants and jeans can be thrown into the mix, of course, but this 12 piece capsule wardrobe will also give you three weeks of Monday-Friday business casual outfits with no repeats.  Add in the black pants and jeans and you could probably go a full month or more with those fourteen pieces and never wear the same outfit to work twice.  And the best part of all? I spent $203 after a discount I found through Retail Me Not and a free shipping promotion that H&M is offering.

H&M Fall Capsule Wardrobe

hm-business-casual-capsule-wardrobe-200

The Pieces:

Navy Blue & White Striped Boatneck Shirt – $14.99

Embroidered Top – $5.99

Short Sleeve Floral Blouse – $14.99

White & Black Patterned Jersey Top – $9.99

Blue Fitted Blouse – $19.99

Patterned Dress – $9.99

Fine Knit Cardigan – $14.99

Jersey Jacket – $34.99

Pencil Skirt – $19.99

Black Textured Skirt – $14.99

Red Slim Fit Pants – $19.99

Patterned Slacks – $17.99

Some of those prices are sale prices, but none of them include the discount I found at Retail Me Not.  The day I searched there was a 10% off code, which is what I used and also a 20% off code for new customers.  The codes can change from day to day, so make sure you check out what’s available before you buy.  And not just from H&M.  I look for a code before I buy pretty much anything from a retailer on-line.

Ok, on to the fun part, the various outfits you can put together!

capsule-outfits

What I like about this pared down capsule wardrobe is that you can easily throw in your favorite staples you already own, like those favorite jeans or pair of black pants and make even more outfits.  I also love that there is a lot of color represented.  I see a lot of capsule wardrobes that are mostly monochrome and while I love the ease of that, I do also love color and pattern in my life.

I can’t wait to get my package of goodies in the next few days!  I’ll see if I can get the courage to do a fashion show for you.  Unless of course I try everything on and it’s all a major fail.  Which might be kind of funny.  We’ll see.

hm-fall-capsule-wardrobe

Goat Cheese and Kalamata Olive Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

Ok, Fall, I surrender.  I promise to leave the criminally lazy days of summer behind and get back on the busy train of back to school.  Summer is putting up a good fight here in the Northeast with 90 degree days in the past week, but I am ready for some crisp, sparkly fall days and chilly nights without the deafening whir of the air conditioner.

Beautiful Fall Tree with SkyI’m still obsessed with this picture I took a couple of Falls ago in the cemetery across the street.  This is exactly what I’m looking for out of you, Fall.  Get on it, please.  I don’t want to hear whining about not having enough rain this summer.  We have very high expectations of you, Fall.  Live up to them.

With Fall, comes football and with football comes food.  (Ok, fine, food comes with everything).  To celebrate the first weekend of football, I tried a new recipe.

Goat Cheese and Kalamata Olive Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

goat-cheese-and-kalamata-olive-stuffed-mini-sweet-peppers

Yum!  Have you seen these Mini Sweet Peppers in the grocery store?  I thought they were hot peppers and so I passed by them a few times before I realized they are just miniature versions of sweet bell peppers.  These little guys are the best!  I ate them all summer.  Sometimes raw with some dip (I didn’t even slice them, just dipped them in some dill veggie dip and bit them) and sometimes on the grill, just coated in a bit of olive oil.  I’ve seen a bunch of versions of stuffed mini sweet peppers on Pinterest, so I thought I would give that  a try.

raw-mini-peppers

Ingredients

8-10 Mini Sweet Peppers

4 oz of Goat Cheese

4 oz of Ricotta Cheese

1/2 t salt

1/2 t pepper

1 t basil

8-10 Kalamata Olives, halved

  1.  Mix together cheeses and spices
  2. Slice mini sweet peppers down the middle
  3. Spoon cheese mixture into the peppers
  4. Top with half of a Kalamata olive

sliced-peppers

I ate the stuffed peppers just like that, but you could pop these in a 425 oven until the cheese is gooey and melty if you wanted to.  I love salty Kalamata olives, but they are not a universally loved item, so if you would like to make these more pleasing to a variety of palettes, you can switch them out for black olives.  Or, bacon.  I haven’t met anyone yet who doesn’t like some form of bacon.  I’m looking forward to trying to stuff these little guys with more things, too.  Like, maybe a traditional stuffed pepper ground beef mixture, or taco stuffed mini peppers or maybe feta cheese and tomato or buffalo chicken??  The possibilities are endless.   And guess who loves these little guys?  Kids!  Maybe not these goat cheese stuffed ones, but if you make a pizza stuffed mini sweet pepper, you’ve got a really good chance of getting a child to eat a new vegetable.  Kids seem to like anything miniature.  And pizza.

 

 

Summer Recipe – Portuguese Style Clam Boil

You know how foods can evoke memories?  This summer recipe – Portuguese Style Clam Boil, does that for me.  Growing up, once or twice during the summer, my dad and I would split 5 lbs of steamers while lying on the family room rug watching tv.  It is one of those little things that only my dad and I shared.  Not only would no one else in the house eat the little clams; they didn’t even want to smell them!  My mom made us put the shells into plastic bags and freeze them until trash day.  So, yeah, steamers aren’t for everyone.  But if you like them, this is the way you should be cooking them!

Summertime Favorite Portuguese Style Clam Boil

When my dad and I made these, we simply boiled the steamers until the shells opened then dipped them in melted butter and they are absolutely delicious just like that.  However, when I met my husband and had steamers Portuguese style for the first time, I realized we were missing out on some serious flavor.  My mother-in-laws recipe includes chunks of red onion, chorizo, red potatoes and even hot dogs.  Not only do these ingredients add some flavor to the steamers themselves, they also make a delicious broth that you can dip the steamers in.  Actually, my husband drinks the broth right out of a bowl while he is eating the steamers.  I don’t know if I want to admit that out loud, but there it is.

Steamers

Does anyone want to hear a funny steamer story?  When my husband and I were dating, we decided to try making steamers ourselves at his apartment.  I had helped my dad make them since I could remember, so I was well aware of the process.  We bought a couple of pounds from a fish market.  When we got them home and started to clean them, it dawned on my husband that the steamers are alive until you boil them.  He COULD NOT bring himself to cook the little guys!  We drove them to the Seekonk River and set them free.  I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have lived too long in that fresh water, but it made future husband happy.  It was many years before we could actually go through with cooking the little clams.

There are some things you should look out for when buying steamers. First of all, here in the Northeast, you can buy them at pretty much any supermarket.  I’ve bought them at supermarkets and they are ok.  I prefer to get them from a fish market, which can be a bit of a process if you don’t have one local.  And I don’t.  However, I was at a Farmer’s Market this past weekend and there was a fish vendor!  I was slightly grossed out at the thought of buying fish from a farmers market because I was imagining fish on ice in the heat, but that was not the case.  The fish guy literally had a little table, empty, in front of a van and all of the fish were packed inside the van on ice and air conditioned.  That worked for me.  I made sure to take a look at the steamers.  The one’s I bought were already packaged in netting, so I could tell that they were all mostly on the smaller side.  When it comes to steamers, smaller is better.  The smaller the steamer, the sweeter.  Plus, even this die hard steamer lover doesn’t like to eat a gigantic steamer belly.  So, definitely look for the smaller steamers.  Finally, you want to check for broken shells.  Because the steamers I bought were already packaged in netting, I couldn’t tell if there were any broken ones jammed into the pack.  Sadly, there were.  Sad because you can’t cook the broken shell ones.  If the steamers shell is broken, it is probably dead and may have been dead for a while and that’s just gross. So throw away any broken shell steamers.

Ok, ready to cook these suckers?

Summer Recipe – Portuguese Style Clam Boil

2lbs Steamer clams, thoroughly rinsed

2-3 Red Potatoes, cut into large chunks

1 lb. Chorizo sausage cut into large chunks

1 Red Onion cut into large chunks

2-3 Hot Dogs cut into large chunks

1/2 stick of melted butter

Salt and Pepper to taste

  1.  Bring about a quart of water to a boil.  You will need enough water to cover all of the ingredients, except the steamers.
  2. While waiting for the water to boil, rinse the steamers thoroughly.  Several times. Once you think they are totally clean and free of any sand, rinse them a couple more times.
  3. Add the potatoes to the water and boil until almost tender
  4. Add the sausage, onion, hot dogs and salt and pepper.  Allow to cook about 5-10 minutes until sausage and hot dogs are heated through.
  5. If necessary, pour out some of the boiling water so that when you add the clams to the pot they are sort of sitting on top of the other ingredients and not completely covered in water.  You really want to steam the steamers, not boil them.
  6. Add the steamers to the pot and cover. Allow to steam about 5 minutes or until all of the steamer shells have opened.  Check carefully that all of the shells have opened.  It shouldn’t take more than 5-7 minutes.  If any of the shells fail to open, toss those clams out.
  7. Place a bowl under a collander and strain the mixture into the collander.  You will want to reserve this broth for dipping the clams
  8. Serve the steamers with melted butter and broth for dipping.  Peel off the weird neck thingy before eating the clams (see the picture below of the steamers in butter for a visual of the naked neck. The picture below that one shows the steamers before the neck thing has been removed).  The melted butter for dipping is my favorite!

Steamers in Butter

Clam Boil

Enjoy!

Easy Art – Tissue Paper Collage

***This post contains affiliate links. If you click one and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission.***        A few posts back I wrote about upcoming projects I wanted to tackle.  This was one of them:

I love that pixelated, colorful wall.  I thought it would be cool to use that as inspiration for some DIY artwork.  I don’t have the skills to paint something like that, but I thought I could probably do something similar with tissue paper cut into geometric pieces.  And, of course, a bit of Mod Podge. Scratch that, a whole lot of Mod Podge.

Here are my finished products:

dr not painting

not painting

The first one is inspired by my dining room wall, which looks like this:

sd

I think it’s a pretty cool interpretation of the wall.  I’ve often said that that wall is one of my proudest DIY moments, so it was a lot fun to replicate it.  PS, the wall is wall papered, not painted.  I don’t have mad painting skills, remember?  Click the pic (affiliate link) below if you are interested in purchasing the wallpaper for yourself.  I did hang it myself, with a lot of help from my super handy and patient mom.

Ok, but back to what I was talking about before I got totally distracted by my crazy awesome wallpaper.

The Easy Art.  My second try at the tissue paper/geometric mod podged art is more directly inspired from the wall in that cool work space above.  Just a series of overlapping colors that are translucent.  As you layer the pieces of the tissue paper, you create new variations of the color.  It was really a lot of fun to make and definitely satisfies the struggling artist inside of you.

Materials

Fiskars Hexagon Squeeze Punch 

Hygloss 100 Tissue Assortment Bleeding Sheets

Stretched Canvas

Mod Podge

Small paint brush

Note:  I was in struggling artist mode while making these and didn’t take any pictures of the process.  But, I’m kind of glad, because there really is no method to the madness.

Step 1:

Cut out a variety of colors of tissue paper with the hexagon squeeze punch. I found it to be much easier to keep the little hexagons sorted by color, until one day I left the windows open in the dining room and my little hexagons blew all over the place.  I’m still finding hexagons in random places

Step 2: Choose an inspiration picture or graphic (as I did with the dining room wall inspired piece) or, don’t, and just follow your inner artist.

Step 3:  Apply about a couple of square inches of mod podge to the canvas at whatever part of the canvas you have decided to start with.  With both of my pieces I started at the top left hand corner. I have no idea why.  Start in the middle, if you want, you rebel!

Step 4:  Place your hexagon tissue pieces on the mod podged areas, overlapping each piece a little bit.

Step 5:  Repeat steps 4&5 until your inner artist is satisfied!

I loved this craft because it was fairly simple, but also time consuming.  It did take several hours spread out over the course of a few days to get these two completed.  But I like having a project to work on.  It was sort of like leaving a puzzle laid out on the dining room table.  Except if anyone tried to work on it, they were in for a world of hurt.   Just kidding.  (No I’m not).

I hope you give this a try and please, please, please, share your results!!

Easy Art - Tissue Paper Collage