Friday, May 25, 2012

5 Things Friday - Summer Reading Edition

I love to read, and this week's "5 Things Friday" post is about my summer reading list. Granted, I plan on reading more than the five I've listed below, but these particular books have been on my radar for a while.

1) The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring: I loved the movies, and decided it was high time I read the books. I really enjoyed The Hobbit, and look forward to reading the rest of the series.

2) A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1): This is the book I'm most excited to read this summer. My co-workers got me hooked on the HBO series which was surprising because I've never gotten into medieval fantasy shows, but I love it. If you've never heard of it, here's a synopsis from GoodReads:  
    • Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom's protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.
      Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones. 

3) Wuthering Bites: I'm not afraid to admit that I've been a little obsessed with vampires since the second grade (don't ask me why there were vampire books in an elementary school). In fact, Bram Stoker's Dracula is one of my all-time favorite books. I'm intrigued to see how adding a vampire-twist to a literary work will pan out.

4) 50 Shades of Grey: I've heard interesting (albeit disturbing) things about this book, and have finally succumbed to peer pressure. This should be quite the experience considering I've never read (and have never had a desire to read) romance novels, but we'll see!

5) The Great Gatsby: A book that's been on my personal "to-read" list for ages, and is also on my "1,000 Books to Read Before You Die List." I plan to finally check it off this summer.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

DIY Scrabble Tile Coasters

Idea and photo from | DIY coasters by me! :)

For my first "Pin to Present" post, I decided to try and tackle these cute Scrabble tile coasters. Though they're pretty easy to make, this project does take some time. Here are the items you'll need:
  • Scrabble tiles (look for these at garage sales, thrift stores, or on Ebay)
  • Cork board (I found actual coaster-sized cork board at JoAnn Fabrics, and also bought regular cork board sheets)
  • Sandpaper
  • Super glue (I used E-6000)
  • Xacto or crafting knife (I used a box cutter)
  • Clear Varnish, Mod Podge, or some kind of clear water resistant sealant
  • Paper towels

The first thing you'll need to do is separate your tiles into the words that you want. I had to do some Google-searching, but eventually came up with some good ones! Then you'll want to sand the backs of the tiles (this will help the glue hold to the cork better). Next, take your glue and glue each tile down one by one (make sure you don't use too much - use a paper towel to wipe away any excess).

 Then you'll take your knife and cut away the excess cork - be sure to cut on a cutting mat to protect your surfaces. Then let dry (I think I waited about 20-30 minutes). Next you'll want to coat with the sealant. I followed the directions on the can of sealant and used two coats. And you're all set! Cute coasters you can give as a gift or use for yourself.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Taco Pinwheels

Since Cinco De Mayo fell on a Saturday this year, at work we decided to do a Cuatro De Mayo fiesta potluck. I brought taco pinwheels which, I'm not going to lie, are delicious! Even better, they're super easy to make (I LOVE easy recipes don't you?).

The ingredients you'll need are:
  • Soft tortilla shells (the bigger ones)
  • Shredded Cheese (your choice on what kind - I use mild cheddar)
  • 8oz cream cheese
  • 8oz sour cream
  • Small can of diced black olives
  • Small can of green chilies 
  • Red pepper
  • Yellow onion

First, you'll want to blend the cream cheese and sour cream together until it's a smooth consistency. Then, you'll add the entire cans of black olives and green chilies. Next, you'll need to chop up the red pepper and onion (Note: it's up to you how much you want to use, but I used 1/2 of the red pepper and 1/2 of the onion). Finally, you'll add in 1/2 - 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Mix all the ingredients together until well blended.

Now you'll need to spread the mixture onto your tortilla shells. Make sure you don't use too much - just enough to cover the entire shell. Then, you'll roll the tortilla shell up and place in a pan for refrigeration later. You should have enough spread for 8 tortilla shells. Cover the pan with saran wrap, and refrigerate for about 45 minutes to harden the shells and the mixture.

All that's left to do is cut the tortillas! Make sure you have a sharp knife, and be very gentle when cutting - if you cut too hard, the mixture will ooze out. I find it works best to do a sawing motion while applying light pressure until the knife breaks through the shell. Also, it's easier to just cut off and discard (or eat) the ends. And voila! Don't they look yummy?

Friday, May 4, 2012

5 Things Friday - May Edition

Well, it's already May! Can you believe it? I can't. With May comes the beginning of fun summer activities and busy schedules. This "5 Things Friday" features reasons why I love May :)

1. Yesterday (May 5) was my two-year anniversary at work. I'm extremely lucky that I not only love my job, but also love my co-workers - we're a crazy, quirky bunch and I enjoy every single minute of it!

2. Tom's birthday is May 21! Yes, he'll be turning the big 3-1 but shhhh...

3. Mother's Day. Mi madre is one very special lady. This year will mark her 2nd year of being cancer-free, and I'm thankful that she's been healthy since her surgery.

4. Memorial Day. A day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service, this holiday has come to mean so much more to me since my grandpa passed away a year and a half ago. It's an opportunity for us all to get together, and honor his memory.

5. With the nice weather, I've started seeing garage sales popping up all over the place. In fact, this weekend is the 100-mile garage sale in southern MN. I'll be attending with some very lovely ladies, and can't wait to see what's in store for us!