Planting Seedlings in Eggshells

This year I made a vow to start learning how to garden. I could grow some vegetables, but that’s my mom’s favorite thing. Instead I wanted to grow some fresh basil, parsley and cilantro. We use basil and parsley in a lot of things, and cilantro is just what one needs to make a great batch of salsa!

Last summer I gave a go at growing seeds in an old plastic container. I never got to writing up a post about it because I butchered it. I ended up frying my seeds. This year I wanted to try something different. The pin I gravitated towards is one where you begin to grow your seedlings in eggshells.  I’ve read that eggshells contain calcium which helps to boost plant growth.

Before beginning, I poked some holes in the bottom of the eggshells. I wanted to make sure there was a drainage system in the shells before planting my seeds. This would ensure that any extra water I added wouldn’t drown my seeds. (Note: I did NOT clean out my eggshells before this. I thought that maybe the leftovers from the egg could be beneficial)

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Once I filled the egg 3/4 of the way with soil, I added the seeds. Then I covered the seeds in more dirt. After this I gave the seeds quite a bit of water to start the process going.

I added water every other day and after a week I saw……

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I grew a plant!!! Basil to be precise. I’m so proud of these little babies! Unlike my attempt at gardening from last summer, these seeds were alive and growing! I now feel overprotective about these tiny babies, but I’m very excited for them. Since I’m confident this worked, I planted the parsley and cilantro with the same technique.

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Grade: Cost: Time:
A+

Free

Ongoing
Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
Nothing
Overall Impression:
I crumpled up the excess top of the egg and sprinkled it around the rest of the dirt. I’m surprised how well and quick my plant grew! I think I’m going to start all my seedlings like this!

Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache Drizzle

You read that right.  These might be the richest, most decadent cupcakes I’ve ever had. It all started yesterday when my boss told me it was one of our coworker’s birthday today.  They also told me his son has a peanut allergy and that anything with peanuts is a special treat for him since they can’t have any at home.  I remembered I had a peanut butter buttercream recipe and the pin turned out to be a bit of a dud.  So I went searching for a better one and I found it, guys.  The recipe is actually for a 3 layer cake, but works perfectly (temp, time and all) for cupcakes as well.  Also, it was so easy! You can go directly to the recipe at Oh Sweet Day!

First, mix up the dry ingredients.
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Add wet ingredients.

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Stir until it becomes a homogeneous (and slightly dry) batter.

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Add coffee and stir more until it becomes a much runnier batter.

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Fill your cupcake cups.  I use about 1/4 cup of batter in each, which gives me uniformly sized cupcakes.

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While the cupcakes were baking, I made the frosting.  I was pretty skeptical at first and wasn’t sure the peanut butter was going to work.  I was wrong. It worked perfectly.

Katie Baking Tip:  Always use ingredients that are the same temperature.  In most cases, that means room temperature.  In this case, it helped the buttercream come together smoothly. At least an hour before you get baking, set out any eggs, cheese, milk or other refrigerated items to adjust so they are ready to go when you are.

After the cupcakes had cooled, I put the buttercream in a gallon storage bag and cut a 1/2 inch hole in one corner.  This is a simple way to pipe frosting onto cupcakes.

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After I made the ganache, I did the same to give the cupcakes a drizzle effect.  Ganache is a bit runnier than frosting so cut a very small hole for more control.  After I drizzled them, I popped them in the fridge for a few minutes.

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I had to try one last night (Quality Control, you know?) and let me just tell you.  The cake is so light and airy.  It’s unlike any other cupcake I’ve made.  The frosting is super peanut buttery and so fluffy I could die.

Grade: Cost: Time:

Full ride scholarship to Harvard

I only had to buy a few things $5.

1 hour

Level of Difficulty:
Medium – requires use of double boiler
What I Would Change:
I wouldn’t change a thing, but I would recommend serving with a glass of milk.
Overall Impression:

These cupcakes are B-A-N-A-N-A-S.  Beyond decadent, and so easy.  They are highly recommended and will impress anyone who sees you’ve made them.

Melted Crayons Easter Eggs

Did you know Easter is only a week and a half away? Well, neither did I. Last year we tested quite a few Easter projects, but this year we’re behind the 8 ball. (Can we still blame it on the weather?)

Last night I decided to try an Easter egg coloring method using crayons. It’s very simple.

Step 1: Make some hard boiled eggs

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Step 2: While eggs are still hot, color them with a crayon. The wax will melt on the eggs.

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Step 3(Optional): If eggs are too hot to cold, consider  holding them with a paper towel. This will let you color the eggs, but keep you from burning your fingers.

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Final Result:

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My pink egg had a major explosion while cooking.

 

Grade: Cost: Time:
A-

Free

15 Minutes to Cook.
< 5 Minutes to color

Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
I cook my hard boiled eggs differently than in the pin. We boil them for 15 minutes, then soak them in cold water to stop the cooking process. I couldn’t soak them, so I burnt my fingers. I used a paper towel to hold them while I colored. This wiped off some of the coloring, but it wasn’t too bad.

3 of my 4 eggs were cracked in the cooking process… This interferer with my coloring. I’d recomment multiple colors.

Overall Impression:
Easy and fun. This was actually pretty relaxing, and was a great way to use up some old crayons. If you have any crayons that don’t color well, use them on this!

Note: the hotter the egg, the easier they are to color. They wont get that “crayon” residue, the hotter the egg is.

 

 

 

 

Coat Closet Redo

Two and a half years ago, when I moved into my house, the door to our coat closet was so annoying that either I or one of my roommates decided it had to come off.  That’s how the closet stayed since then. I added some baskets for shoes at some point, but it was still a total unsightly mess. Honestly, because I have a shoe problem. I just love shoes. We can’t place blame on anyone except me for this mess. It’s only fair.

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Recently I came across a few pins that really sparked my interest – this and this.  I needed to do something so I grabbed the leftover paint from when I painted my kitchen cabinets and freshened up the white closet.

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I taped the stripes and tried to clearly mark where the gray would not go.  I used a ruler to make the stripes 12 inches thick and it just worked out that the shelf support would line up with the start of a white stripe.

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I used a brush to get the corners and tough little spots and a foam trim roller to do the rest.  It went pretty quickly.  I started with the top gray stripe and worked my way down, allowing each stripe to dry before starting the next.  I was also painting my kitchen the gray color (Martha Stewart’s Bedford Gray, if you are curious) so I had other things to occupy the dry time.

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The hangers and rod system was not working for us practically or visually so I picked up some hooks in an oil rubbed bronze finish from Target.  I centered one in the gray stripe below the shelf and worked my way out.  I centered the two on the side walls in reference to those walls.

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All I had to do was pop in the shelf…

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…and hang up our coats!

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Ta Da!

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I didn’t add a bench because:

1: We already have a bench across from the closet, next to the door.

2: I don’t have a saw or very much practical knowledge on how to build one.

3: The closet is rather small and the bench would make it look smaller.

 

The time it took to do this project is about 2 hours. 20 minutes to paint the whole thing white, 30 minutes to measure and tape meticulously, and about an hour to paint the stripes with drying time. I did the project spread out over the course of a day, but anyone could probably punch it out in a few hours.

Grade: Cost: Time:

A+

$20-30

2 hours

Level of Difficulty:
Medium
What I Would Change:
I’m really pleased with how this turned out, but I will be adding some storage baskets to the shelf.
Overall Impression:

This completely changed the look of my entryway and motivated me to organize more. When living in a small home, the devil is in the details. Every small area makes a difference and now when you walk in there is a nice clean place to hang your hat coat.

Drip Paint Pots

I made these Drip Paint Pots last fall, but by the time I got around to writing up a post about them, it was well into the later side of fall. The directions are really simple. You take a pot, place it upside down, and squeeze paint over it. It’s easy enough for kids to do and fun too.

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Just grab a paint bottle and start squeezing the paint out all over the pot.

imageI dripped the paint at different levels to add more visual interest.

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Sad news: I’ve been looking all morning for this pot, but after cleaning out half of our shed, it’s still MIA. As soon as I find it I intend to update this for you all to see. Keep your fingers crossed that I find this soon. I have some gardening pins I intend to start on asap.

Grade: Cost: Time:
A+

Depends if you need paint or a pot. I had both.

1 minute every so often. The paint needed some time to dry.

Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
Play with different colors schemes. Maybe prepaint the pot a solid color.
Overall Impression:
Super fun and I loved my finished pot! I just wish I knew where I put it….

 

Headache Remedies – Vick’s Vapo Rub

This week’s weather has been crazy. One day I’m in short sleeves the next day in a winter coat. The worst part is all the pressure. Everyone I know has been suffering headaches from the weather. It took me until today, but I finally recalled a pin that said to use Vick’s Vapo Rub to INSTANTLY get rid of headaches.

Directions:
Rub a small amount of Vicks VapoRub on your temples and forehead to help relieve headaches. The mentholated scent will release pressure in your head and instantly relieve pain.

I put a very thin amount of Vick’s on as directed. I had a VERY old bottle (It looked like it was from the 90′s), but still smelled right. My headache reduced significantly, but did very little to ease the nausea from the headache (which was turning to a light migraine). It was a nice temporary fix. Next time I try this I’ll plan to use more and maybe alot myself a nap with it. That should fully get rid of the headache. As it was, this technique bought me a few extra hours before going to bed, and for that I give this a high success rate!

Grade: Cost: Time:
B

Free

N/A

Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
Add more Vick’s. Plan this with a brief (20 minute) nap, or plan to continue refreshing the vicks every so often until it’s gone.
Overall Impression:
This really cooled off my head and headache at the start. As the vick’s dried, the headache began to come back. I kept up my usual routine while testing this. If I had sat down and relaxed the headache may have gone away completely. This did help open my sinuses which removed the pressure headache, but I still had the other issues of a migraine which kept this from working 100%.

 

Natural Face Mask to Remove Acne and Acne Scars

Two weeks ago, I allowed myself a cheat week. I had a lot planned for the week and much of it involved unhealthy food or drinks. As a result… my body wasn’t used to the sugars and the grease sooooo I got a nice deep pimple. As we all know those things are hard to get rid of. I’ve seen this natural face mask all over Pinterest lately so I whipped together the mixture (equal parts cinnamon, nutmeg and honey. They suggest 1 tsp each) and began to cake it on.

CHIN

I put the mixture over my entire chin area hoping it would have other effects on my skin.

BACK

I also put some on my back. I didn’t dry my hair after a shower one night and two day later I had random acne where my wet hair had been… Thank goodness it was still winter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grade: Cost: Time:
C-

Free

It didn’t say. I left it between 5 and 10 minutes

Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
I doubled the honey, because the spices dried it up a lot. I would only use 1/2 of each. This makes a lot.
Overall Impression:
My review is based on the next night. I felt like it worked well for my back. The deep set one on my chin went down, but didn’t go away completely. It did nothing for a scar on my chin. It may driy out small acne, but was by no way a home remedy to easily and quickly remove it. My results may be the result of a lot of water and eating healthy again rather than of this actually working. My vote: Pinterest Fail.
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