Day 315 – Removing Permanent Marker from Wood

Remember that little bird that I tried drawing for Day 291? I had that sitting on the coffee table (because I liked it too much to throw away, but what in the world was I going to do with it?) when my niece came over. She wanted to try drawing one herself, so I let her. She really wanted to use a marker to make the lines nice and dark like mine, but I am not a fan of giving permanent markers to kids. She begged and bargained for every marker I had in my pencil cup, but each of them was permanent. Finally, she found a tiny little dry-erase marker, and I figured that wouldn’t bleed through the paper as bad as permanent ink, so I let her have at it.

Well, it bled through A LOT. And as it turns out, it was not dry erase like I thought it was. It was permanent. It was the little marker that came with a pack of Solo cups so you could write your name on your drink. I might as well have given her every other marker that was in that container. And now my coffee table had 2 very beautiful little bird sketches on top. I tried Clorox Clean-Up, but that did not really do anything. It kind of made one of them slightly lighter, but not by much.
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This coffee table has been on its last leg for quite a while, so I figured it was just a good excuse to need to get a new one. The finish is coming off of the top, and it is extremely wobbly. I also figured I could try to refinish it for a future Pinterest project sometime this summer.

But then the husband came across this Pin (is it ok that I admitted for him that he goes on Pinterest too??) that told me to use rubbing alcohol to get the ink out. I was not very hopeful, but I figured I would give it a try. I poured some onto a sponge and scrubbed. Then I poured some more and scrubbed some more. And then I did it again…and again…and again…
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I have to say, it did work much better than I thought. My alcohol is only 50% alcohol, and apparently the 95% works much better. It definitely got rid of some of the lighter marks. A lot of scrubbing was needed, and the dark parts are still pretty dark, but it looks a lot better than it did before.

I am still on board with that whole idea of getting a new table though!

Total cost: $0

UPDATE: After a night of inactivity, it seems that now I have 2 circles of lighter wood on top of my marker ink. I would really not recommend doing this. It looks fine when it is wet, but now that it is dry, it looks scrubbed. I am very glad that I do not care much about this table. Time to go shopping!!
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Day 314 – Zucchini Recipe

I always feel like everyone else cooks better zucchini than me. It could be because I almost never cook zucchini, but whenever I try, I never feel like it is delicious. It’s fine. Ok. Edible. But not delicious. So naturally, I turned to Pinterest when my sister-in-law gave me 2 bags full of huge ones.

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About one third of today's harvest

This recipe looks like it came from a magazine or a random package of something. Sometimes those are the best recipes, so I gave it a try. I liked how this suggested keeping it in until it was caramelized. Sometimes people get on me for not following directions, but I definitely did that here. I still ended up with “ok” zucchini. It never really caramelized. Maybe I should have broiled instead of baked.  Also, by only adding the salt and pepper, I felt like it did not have a lot of flavor. I tried adding more once it was cooked, and it helped a little, but it was still just fine. Kind of plain. Kind of squishy. Just “ok.”

Don’t worry, though. I have a lot more zucchini to experiment with.
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Total cost: $0

Day 313 – Bobbin Organization

Don’t you hate it when your bobbins get all disorganized? Me too.

Ok, actually, organizing my bobbins was very low on the priority list until I came across this brilliant idea.

I have had those toe separatey thingies in my bathroom drawer for years…I probably used them once and I got so annoyed, I shoved them in there and forgot about them.

Until this lovely Pinterest idea came along, my bobbins just bobbed in and out of the other threads in my box. Now my they are perfectly organized and available for use whenever I need them. No more digging through thread for me! Hooray!

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Total cost: $0

Day 312 – Eating Healthy at a Restaurant

These days it seems that everywhere you turn, people are trying to be healthy. It is a huge challenge considering we live in a very unhealthy society. Am I the only one who gets a little tired of french fries beside nearly every entree at nearly every restaurant? It is like fried things are paraded in front of our faces at every turn and it is a difficult decision to turn them down.
With that said, I absolutely love bad-for-you things. You name it, if it is bad for you, I probably love it. So the prospect of this Pinterest project was quite daunting.
I decided to use the tips from this website to help me be just a tad healthier.
1. Pay Attention to Portion Sizes: Have you ever noticed how when you order a pasta dish at some Italian restaurants it looks like they cooked an entire one pound box for one person? Who eats that much? Certainly not me. I generally do not eat my entire meal, so when this suggested I get half packaged to go before I started, I chose to ignore. I ate about half and had no problem stopping because I was very full.
2. Swap Your Side: There was no chance that I was swapping the mashed potatoes for more vegetables. Mashed potatoes are my favorite food ever. It already came with some green beans. That was good enough for me.
3. Pass The Buffet: we literally passed a Golden Corral on the way to the restaurant, so I’d say we hit that one.
4. Beware of Dressings: I ordered mine on the side.
5. Don’t Drink your Calories: I really wanted something other than water, and I am not a diet soda fan (plus, calories or not, that stuff is bad for you too). I got unsweetened iced tea. It has more flavor than water but with no sugar or preservatives, it is just as healthy (almost). You may have to train yourself to drink it straight, but man I love it!

I doubt the Sweet Frog yogurt I had after dinner fits on the healthy spectrum either. But it was sooo tasty.

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Thank goodness I am not on a weightloss contest show like the Biggest Loser. I am pretty sure I would be the one who is shocked to find that I did not lose any weight in week 5 and pretended I had no idea how this happened.

Total cost: $0 to follow all of the directions. A bit more than that for the restaurant bill.

Day 311 – Car Trivia

Well this was a flop. We were getting a little bored in the car so I searched “road trip trivia” and came up with this site that promised a car and road trip trivia that would help pass the time.
They weren’t kidding when they said “car trivia.” It was literally questions that had to do with cars. Sort of.
There were questions about the name of the first car and the average speed of the first grand prix. But then there were also questions about the movie Cars. A lot of the time we were playing, I was thinking how I could have created a trivia game like this if it meant I could write down any questions that were just at the top of my mind.
I had to deal with a lot of grumbles from the husband about how stupid this game was, but I forced him to finish for the sake of this blog.
We scored 60%.
We obviously stink at car trivia.

Total cost: $0 (thankfully)

Day 310 – Monster Bib

Finally! I have had the chance to make this monster bib that I have been planning for months. I think I printed and cut the pattern on the Thursday before Easter. I was really planning on making it that day, but then, as always, something came up and it was put off until today.

This was a very fun project. I did not find anything particularly frustrating, and it was a quick job. I could see myself making a bundle more of these in a lot of different colors, just like the girl in the picture.

A funny bit of trivia: The white for the eyes and teeth is from an old sheet and the black from the eyes is from an old pair of pants. I’d call that upcycling at its best!
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Total cost: It has been a while since I bought the fabric, but I think it was about $5 a yard and I bought 2 yards. That would be $10, but I only used about 1/3 of that fabric, so we could say it was about $3.33.

Day 309 – Reversible Bag

This is what I have been waiting for…a day ALL to myself so I can make a big sewing mess and no one can interrupt me! Happy summer to me!

The pin comments said that this project would take 1 hour. Maybe if you know what you are doing, but for me it was more like 2-ish 3. It doesn’t help that I had to completely undo a major part of it when I realized that I put my lining in inside out. Oops.

The pin had a link to a tutorial where I downloaded the pattern. I followed the tutorial very closely, but I felt like there were a few parts that were not explained very thoroughly. In the end, I was able to complete the bag, but I think I would have preferred some more explicit directions.
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I am really happy with how this turned out. There are plenty of imperfections, but for being my first attempt at making a bag like this, I think it is completely passable.

Total cost: $4.50 (which is such a bargain compared to how much it would cost to buy something like this in a store!)

Day 308 – How to Make a Smoothie

Remember back when I froze those strawberries? Around 3:30 today my mom and I decided that we needed to go pick some more before they were out of season. We got there at 4 and that gave us precisely 1 hour to pick as many strawberries (and it turns out blueberries were ready too!) as we could before they closed.

I really wanted to try this recipe for sorbet, but apparently you need an ice cream maker and I don’t have one. Instead, I tried this How to Make a Smoothie chart. I like how it gives ideas for each part of the smoothie so smoothie-lovers can make them to fit their needs.

For my fruit, I included about 10 small and medium strawberries and approximately 2 handfuls of blueberries (how do you measure blueberries?…I certainly did not count them).

For the base, I added about 1 cup of orange juice. I did not measure, so I would say it was probably a little less than a cup. It suggested to add less if your fruit was really juicy. I did not want my smoothie to be too thin.

For the thickening agent, I added vanilla yogurt. I could have bought plain yogurt, but I really hate plain yogurt. Also, with the vanilla, I can add some of the plain berries to it for a tasty breakfast.

The next two sections were the ones I skipped. I did not add a “flavoring,” although I think a bit of sugar or Splenda would have added a nice touch. I also did not add any power boosts. I just used up my last bit of bee pollen and probiotics last week…

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I blended this all together in my blender on the liquify setting and in a few quick seconds, I had a smoothie. It reminds me of the ones I used to get in college.

Total cost: $0 (thanks Mom!)

*Where the heck do you buy things like bee pollen??

Day 307 – How to Eat a Crab

More than 200 years ago, my ancestors arrived in Maryland from Ireland and settled on Hooper’s Island in the Chesapeake Bay. Throughout those years until the 1920s, the Bay was my family’s main source of income. Even after they had to move to Baltimore for financial stability, they kept a house outside of Cambridge where the crabbing lineage kept growing right through to my very own fingers.

I only have a few tiny memories of the shore house (ringing that giant bell, Mom Mom’s crab soup with the claws in it, the neighbor’s dog, Butch, coming up to the back door…), but I owe it to that history for the fact that now I know how to eat a crab the right way. Everyone thinks their way is the right way, but I am pretty sure that using a fork is NOT part of “the right way.”

Pinterest, however, has found someone who believes that a fork is an acceptable crab assistant. Some west-coasters, while they may have a quite humorous outlook on their steps to opening a crab, are quite mistaken, but I decided to give it a go their way just to see if maybe there was something about the fork that really helped get the delicious crabby goodness unlike my usual fingers-only method.

Here’s their way:

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And here is my attempt at it (thanks to my mom for volunteering her hands so I could snap the photos):
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And here is my usual method. No tools required (Thanks to my dad’s hands for modeling the steps for this section):

1. Peel back the apron.
(Oops…no picture…look at the fork guy’s first picture. It’s that Washington Monument looking thing)

2. Use the legs (that you have not yet peeled off) to help you grab on to the top shell and pull the top shell off.
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3. Use your fingers (no fork required) to pull off the gills (or “devil”). Also scoop out the other guts that are in the middle of the crab.
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(He is using a knife because “they are piping hot and I have delicate fingers!”

4. Break it in half down the middle (I have really small, weak hands, so if I can do this, you can do this…a fork will only smash the shell into the meat and ruin the greatness)
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5. Break the half in half the long way (I usually smush it in on itself and then I wipe out more of the gross mustard (which is not actually mustard) and then crack it apart. That’s where the best part is. Lots and lots of delicious meat is in there.

6. Then you need to crack every nook and cranny in any way possible to get as much meat as you can. It may take a little while, but every taste is worth the work.
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7. The end. Move on to a new crab. We have a rule in my family where you have to take the first one you touch. No feeling around for the heavy ones…

Total cost: $Less than what we made at our yard sale this morning

*I apologize for not having pictures for every step. Everyone else was already digging in and I was eager to get started. Also, chances are that the only people who are actually reading this are already pretty experienced in the crab department.

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Day 306 – A Birthday Present An Hour

Today is the husband’s birthday and to celebrate, I gave him one present every hour from the time that he was born. It was convenient that he was born at 12:40 a.m. so that’s when the presents started.

Unfortunately, he was sleeping at that time, so when he woke up he got to open a bunch at one time. Also, the logistics of his work schedule did not allow him to stop what he was doing every hour to open a present, so he had to do a bunch all at lunch time and then a bunch when he was leaving. Then when he got home, he did a few at the correct hour, but then we were sitting around the fire pit listening to a 3-year-old’s “spooky stories” and eating s’mores and forgot a few. All in all, I think it was a fun little birthday surprise.

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Here are just a few of them. Notice the wrapping...I finally used up all of the scraps I had been keeping.

Total cost: $A lot more than your average Pinterest project.