Tidbit Tuesday 12.03.13

Today’s Tidbit Tuesday is one of my favorites. So simple…yet so helpful!
(Sign of a good tidbit.)

This little helper eliminates the dreaded, “oh shoot!  It’s 4pm.  What are we having for dinner tonight?!”  And, if your house is like mine, 4pm is NO time for clear inspiration.  The homework, the chaos, the mess, the low patience, the countdown for dad to get home…

This little helper makes life planned.  Which in my book = easy, doable, happy.

menuLike I said, so simple…yet so helpful.  In fact, so simple, you just might doubt how great it is.  Work with me here.
So this is how it works.  I pull this little guy over to the table on Saturday morning.  I have out my cookbooks, ipad, pinterest ideas for recipes, etc.  I also have my calendar. This step is important because I need to know which nights we have sports or scouts and need a quick dinner, or which nights we have time to try a new recipe.  Then I clean off the glass and whip up a menu!  Right then and there I look at each recipe, determine what I still need to buy, make a grocery list.  This is how each date night ends on Saturday…at the grocery store.  I am sure my babysitter things we are soooo boring when we come home lugging in groceries every Saturday night.  🙂
So now…not only do I have all the ideas, I have all the ingredients too!

Let me tell you…4pm has never been the same.

If I have convinced you- here’s how to make it.

You need
~a 12 x 12 frame
~a black piece of chalkboard or heavy cardstock (I have seen some that have scrapbook paper in the back, but then with the patterns you can’t use all your fun colors of chalkboard markers.)
~a vinyl menu (you can find these on etsy or pinterest I am sure.  I got mine at Hobby Lobby)
~some fancy schmancy chalkboard markers

The tip here is to make sure you put the vinyl on the black board UNDER the glass, or you will get your vinyl all dirty the first time you clean it!
Here’s to loving 4 pm again.

Happy Cooking!

(And a p.s.)
i declare! is on the road again!  We are off to Austin for The Running Event.  A tradeshow for running store owners to come find new stuff for their stores.  We are so excited, but so nervous!  Hope they like us! What a perfect Christmas gift for the runner in your life right?  How about this “Go The Distance Necklace”?  I love this one!

And we are also going to California this week for the Diva 1/2 marathon expo.  As luck would have it, I drew the Austin straw, and it’s going to be 39 degrees.  Brrrrr.


Tidbit Tuesday 11.26.13

It’s here again.  That week just fleeeeew by. Now that the holidays are here, and we are in full swing holiday production at i declare! and at the Allen house, there is a LOT going on.

Now if I can just keep up!

First of all, I got a lot of emails and questions about the stainless steel cleaner I mentioned on the side last week.  You all want to know what it is, so let me share that first. (I really didn’t know you were all paying such good attention!)

Happy Cleaning.  I really do love this stuff!

Now for THIS week’s Tuesday Tidbit…my favorite can’t live without hair products.  I should share right now that I am a self diagnosed Product Junkie.  I love hair products, make up products, and cleaning products.  And so help me if I see an infomercial in any of these categories. I’m all in before the first commercial.  But really this makes me your friendly neighborhood real life Consumer Reports.  I have tried it all.  So here are some of my products I have tried and tested, and love!

Today there are two hair products.
One for “clean hair days” and one for “this hair is not getting washed today but we need to still look good people“.  (And I apologize right now for those men who are reading the blog.  I got nothin’ for ya.)

So first, Clean Hair Days.
When my hair is washed, it’s too clean. It can be limp and lifeless.  I have hair that needs a little dirt to really help it look alive. So I discovered this.  It is the cheaper cousin of an Aveda product, (and I actually like it better).

This stuff can give you Southern Belle Crazy Volume, or you can calm it down and give yourself just a little lift.  It’s a dry power you shake in at the roots and then rub it in.  If you have naturally flat hair, I just changed your life.

Now for Dirty Days.
I love that Dry Shampoo has been invented, but just like saran wrap and white bread, some are good and some are laaaame. I have tried 50% of the lame ones I am sure.  And then I found this. It’s awesome-sauce.

This might be available other places, but the only place I have found it is Target. (I know, who knew?!)  It is so fabulous that when I was out of my regular can, and my secret stash, and found that Target was out in the store AND online, I almost cried.  Or, maybe I actually did.  All I know is there were some bad hair days around here until a friend clued me into a store that had some in stock!  I am still in her debt.

So there you go.  I hope you have nothing but good hair days this holiday season!

Tidbit Tuesday

My sisters and I like to share “Hip Tips” with each other.  Sometimes they are super hip (because we like to think they are), but mostly they are just tips.  (Doesn’t “Hip Tip” sound so much more like you want to know what it is?) Like my last Hip Tip was this great stainless steel cleaner that I found for my fridge.  It cleans AND polishes.  So you see what we are working with here.

Anyway, I thought I would start sharing my OH so Hip Tips on Tuesdays. Stay tuned for some doozies.

Today I had to stay home all day.  No errands, no Target, no charm making, no charm shipping, no anything outside the house.  Sort of weird for me.  It was for a good reason… my craft room floor was getting installed.  (For those that may have missed it.  Let me share here the “before” picture.  You will immediately see the need for a remodel overhaul).

IMG_8909I suppose this isn’t a true before.  When we bought the house it had blue walls, wood colored trim around the windows, and a different carpet.  But we will call this before since it’s the scary picture with all the stuff piled in there.  More on this later.  Stay tuned for the big reveal next week.  (Ok…here are some progress photos.)

What would this world be like without Ikea?  I shudder…IMG_9781

To be honest…my favorite feature. I can only tell the code to those over the age of 16.  Much to my 8 yr old’s dismay.

IMG_9790Chalkboard paint!

So… since my hand was forced today and I had to stay home, I decided to cook!
(Here comes the Hip Tip!)
I finally delved into a cooking blog recommended by my mom, (those scare me and make me feel even more incompetent in the kitchen).  Good news it, I loved it!
This girl is funny, very down to earth, and her recipes seem fairly easy (now you’re talking my language!)
Her blog is Mel’s Kitchen Cafe and here is what I made tonight.

Oh.  My.  Yummy!!!  This girl nailed it! (me or her?  Let’s say both.)
I loved it, and informed my family they would be eating this weekly for the rest of their lives…or until they moved out.
Click on the picture above to get the recipe.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.