Stanford Mail

DIY Fire Pit

With summertime approaching, there is nothing more fun than sitting around a fire pit with your friends or family! Well, maybe a tropical trip! Fire pits are a great way to add some fun to a yard! With a little hard work and some elbow grease, you’ll have one in no time. We put one in at our last home and loved it, I can’t wait to do it again! 

How to Make a Dreamcatcher

In Native American culture, dream catchers were believed to catch and trap bad dreams, whilst allowing good dream to pass through the spider-web design, and drift into the heads of the children that lie sleeping below them. Nowadays, dreamcatchers come in many shapes and sizes, and are an incredibly popular bedroom decor choice! If you’re ready for some sweet dreams, why not learn how to make a dreamcatcher?

Baked to Perfection Ziti

The key to creating a perfect Baked Ziti is to keep it from drying out. This classic Italian baked pasta dish is made by layering penne noodles, sauce and cheese. Once it is prepared correctly, however, it will become the only way you make it.

Small Raised Paver Patio

Sometimes you are in the middle of a project and realize you need something else! This happened to me when I was creating my back garden scape. I placed my new Adirondack chairs in there place. They were a perfect fit, if the ground didn’t slope down in the back! I knew I needed to make an elevated bed for them. I had recently found a ton of old pavers in the yard and knew this was the spot for them. 

Balsamic Chicken

These tender Balsamic Chicken Breasts are easy to make in the oven or on the grill! You are going to love this flavorful and super juicy chicken dinner recipe.

Four Season Garden

Sometimes you can get stuck in a rut and wonder how to keep your perennial gardens looking beautiful and full of color throughout the entire growing season, and even year-round. One of the biggest benefits of growing perennials in your garden instead of annual flowers is that perennials last for many years… but the downside is that perennial flowers only bloom for a short time.

Start a Daily Sketchbook

I bought a new planner and sketchbook today. It reminded me of the easier days of my youth. I felt like I found a piece of me that was missing. Don’t get me wrong I create things everyday, but this is a different kind of freedom. A way to put your thoughts on paper, that only you understand. 

Moist Carrot Cake

Practically everyone has a carrot cake recipe that they think is the best, but after just one bite of our extra moist carrot cake recipe we think you’ll reconsider!
Fresh baby carrots already peeled make preparation so much easier and faster, but if you already have a bag of carrots in the fridge that need to be trimmed and peeled, go for it! Just make sure to throw in a few extra to bring the weight back up to one pound—after all it is called carrot cake for a reason.
If you feel you need to make the layers more level, trim them but don’t let the scraps go to waste! Dry them in a warm oven, turn them into crumbs and press them into the sides of the frosted cake for a decorative touch.

Painted Ottoman

Painted my juice-stained ottoman…it worked! My first mistake was buying a cream-colored cloth storage ottoman, with two young boys. My two-year-old had the wells filled with juice within an hour of getting it home.

Mudd’s Pasta Salad

This Vegetable Pasta Salad is a crowd favorite! My sister (Mudd) has to make it for every family event! It’s a running joke that she brings that and I bring pecan coffee cake! This easy, vegan pasta salad recipe is fun twist on a summer classic with fresh vegetables and pasta tossed with Italian dressing and served cold.

DIY Fire Pit

With summertime approaching, there is nothing more fun than sitting around a fire pit with your friends or family! Well, maybe a tropical trip! Fire pits are a great way to add some fun to a yard! With a little hard work and some elbow grease, you’ll have one in no time. We put one in at our last home and loved it, I can’t wait to do it again! 

No Bake Caramel Cookies

I want to share a recipe from My Little Dairy Blog, for my mom! This cookie is perfect for her! It would also be great with Nutella and pecan chips! Smooth salted caramel, crunchy toffee chips, and chocolate wrapped up in super easy No Bake Caramel Cookies! I can’t think of a thing not to love about these cookies!

Faux Tin Ceiling

After remodeling our kitchen and removing the wall we had a big patch on our ceiling that was unfinished. We tossed around lots of ideas about how to repair or cover it. Ultimately, we decided on plastic tiles! 

Tie dye!

With summer break on its way, what’s more fun than a tie dye project! You can buy a tie dye kit or you can buy the colors and supplies individually. You can tie due anything from a shirt to a bag, even a mask or headband. Put a twist on tie dye with the spiral tie-dye technique! Whether you use one color or four, you'll love the winding effects!

Garlic Butter Shrimp Scampi

This week, I would like to share a recipe from one of my go to websites, Garlic Butter Shrimp Scampi can be enjoyed as an appetizer/light meal or for dinner with your favorite pasta of choice. You can also keep it low carb and serve over zucchini noodles or with steamed cauliflower. Either way it’s delicious and even better than an Italian restaurant Scampi.

Preparing a Walkway for Concrete

Form and pour a new concrete sidewalk, the perfect first concrete project for the beginner. Replace that ugly, cracked walk with a flat, smooth new one. We show you how to build forms and then place and smooth the wet concrete, all with first class results. You save big money too.

Resin 101

I want to introduce you to one of my favorite mediums to work with, resin! It’s so versatile and can be used with most art mediums and several home projects.

Funfetti Cake

April is my birthday month!!! Let’s make a delicious cake! This recipe is from the online Blog Pretty. Simple. Sweet! As you may know, I own and operate a small in-home bakery and love experimenting with cake and cookie recipes.

Wainscoting an Island/Wall

Sometimes we have a wall that just needs something! Maybe a fresh coat of paint or trim. In our case we had to take a wall out to make our room look bigger and more open. We knew we wanted to have a pass through or take it out completely. After contacting a contractor to remove the wall (there are somethings I won’t even attempt), we found out that it was not load bearing wall and we were able to take it out completely without a header! Score, right! Luckily, our contractor is also my sister’s Dad, Norm! He is always there for me and willing to listen to my endless ideas! I’m truly happy to have him in my life. He teaches me the tricks of the trade, while trying my way on occasion. 

How to Etch Glass

When my husband and I got married, I wanted to make some custom gifts for our wedding party. I chose to make custom beer steins and wine glasses! If you’ve never tried it, this is actually something you can easily do at home. It’s super easy and cheap!

Outdoor Side Table

How often are you looking for just the right piece of furniture and never find it. After looking at several stores for the perfect outdoor side table and not finding one under one hundred dollars. I decided to make one! I needed a rectangular table and could only find circular or square. So here we go!

How to Make a Rope Coil Basket

I have always been a maker of all things. I love to create new projects or build things. Most people don’t like repetitive work, but I like it! It relaxes my mind and calms me. Making this coil basket is perfect for relaxing. The repetition of the stitches is soothing and random. No need for perfection on this! I have a rule: if I can make it, don’t buy it. One of my favorite bloggers feels the same way. I was inspired by her and her blog(we are scout) for this project. 

French Macarons

Before we start off with these delicious cookies, I want to start with some tips. These cookies take very precise measurements. If you have a food scale that’s great, if not it’s ok! 

How to Build a Faux Brick Wall

Hands down, the most talked about feature in our home is the faux brick wall.  Not one person stepping into the dining room thinks that it wasn’t real brick.  This project cost us about one hundred dollars and made a huge image in our home!

String Art!

First time for everything! When you create something new or you figure out something you have been working on, that’s the best feeling in arts and crafts. This week I wanted to branch out and try something completely new. I’ve had my eye on string art for awhile now and decided that was what I wanted to try. I’m going to share my process and some tips from the pros! 

How To: Tile a Backsplash

If you want to make a huge impact in a kitchen, change or install a backsplash. You can change the entire feel of the room, with this few day project. This knowledge can be used in a kitchen, bathroom or anywhere tile is desired.

The Art of Crafts

As children, we are encouraged to be creative in play and to develop our imaginary worlds. During childhood our minds are the most open to creating things, because we haven’t created walls yet. As Picasso said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” As we age, our brains form new adventures and we forget about those creative places our adolescent brain took us. We may have occasional memories or Déjà vu of the magic. Don’t worry about missing this as we can all go back to those fun creative, magical times. All you need are a few simple supplies and an open mind. 

Granny’s Biscuits and Gravy

During these trying times we could all use some comfort food. Some of my earliest memories revolve around my grandparent’s kitchen. The sound of all my cousins running in and out of the house as my grandpa yelled the  “in or out, we aren’t heating the outdoors.” My favorite spot was always next to my grandma. She was patient and kind. The house smelled so good all the time, there were a lot of mouths to feed. As soon as I was old enough to help cook my granny would pull up a kitchen chair and let me help. She would always place her soft hands on my cheek and smile. It was my favorite place on Earth. This sweet woman just passed away leaving this world a better place than when she came into it. I can’t think of a better way to honor her memory than to to share a recipe that is close to my heart, my Granny’s biscuits and gravy. She loved the simple things in life, but there was nothing simple about her. 

Worried About Online Shopping Scams? You Should Be

If you think you’re safe just browsing the internet for gift ideas, think again. Scammers are trolling your searches to identify which products shoppers are looking for. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If no one else has that product, and it’s a great price, just be very careful and proceed with caution.” says Melissa Lanning Trumpower, the Executive Director of the Better Business Bureau’s Institute for Marketplace.

Peace for the World

No one fails to react when public violence is flagrantly incited, which happened at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. As a political philosophy or a way of life, disorder doesn’t work. Violence might not be inevitable, but chaos is. But in the face of chaos, some facts remain constant and stable: Peace is a state of awareness. To advance the cause of peace, you must be at peace. External conflict reflects the inner conflicts of human nature. No dispute is ever settled unless both sides achieve a level of mutual satisfaction.

WW's in-app tools, including a recipe builder and sleep tracker, make it easy to improve your whole life. (Photo: WW)

New Year, Ready for a Better You?

Well, 2020 is finally done, and not a moment too soon. Three cheers for the New Year. We’re greeting January with hope and excitement—and new motivation to get in shape and stay healthy. If you’re like us, you’ve been enjoying plenty of comfort food over the past 10 months, and cracking jokes about gaining “the COVID 19.” Now’s the perfect time to get back to where you want to be: WW (formerly Weight Watchers) has a special offer: two free months of Weight Watchers Digital, featuring the new myWW+. It’s a personalized, holistic weight-loss program you can access on your phone or laptop.

Slow computer? Tips to Speed it Up

The spinning rainbow wheel of death is one of the more frustrating sights in our modern world. A slow computer that takes forever to load web pages, open documents, and respond to pretty much any basic command is more common than you think. It’s often just a matter of poor maintenance or disorganization. If you're ready to get your computer back on the fast track, below are common culprits for a sluggish computer, plus the maintenance solutions that can have you up and running smoothly in no time.

Plant-Based Product Labels are Ruled Potentially Misleading

What's in a name, really? Quite a bit, according to a recent ruling, at least when that name involves words like bacon, burger, sausage, or any other items traditionally made from meat. The case at issue was brought to the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in September by plant-based meat company Upton's Naturals and the Plant-Based Foods Association (PBFA), two parties that were hoping to see the judge block a law that is potentially discriminatory against plant-based products.

Gifts Ideas Delivered Before the Holiday Rush

With the holiday season quickly approaching and people not being able to travel to see their loved ones due to the coronavirus, many are opting to ship gifts rather than buy in-store. While this is a great way to keep people safe, it does come with its own set of problems. With so many people around the world relying on the postal service to help celebrate the holidays from afar, it is important to get your orders in as quickly as possible. If you are feeling stuck, here are some gift ideas that if you order now, will arrive long before the big holiday rush.

The Daily Habit Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Goals

You're diligent about sticking to your nutrition and fitness routine, but do your weight-loss goals still seem far off? Instead of making more tweaks to your diet and workout regimen, consider taking a look at your medicine cabinet first. "Weight gain is a very common side effect for many standard medications," says Charlie Seltzer, M.D., C.S.C.S., who specializes in weight loss and exercise physiology. For many people, medications are an overlooked contributor to weight gain, he says. There are four major types that are commonly prescribed and tend to have this side effect:

This Popular Crock-Pot is Being Recalled

Almost 100,000 Crock-Pots sold at retailers like Walmart, Target, Amazon, and others are being recalled because of a burn risk, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The 6-Quart Express Crock Multi-Cookers can pressurize when the lid is not locked, causing it to suddenly detach and eject food and liquids. There have been 119 reports of the lid detaching, as well as 99 first-degree to third-degree burn injuries from the malfunction. The Crock-Pot recall involves 914,430 units sold in the U.S. at major retailers between July 2017 and November 2020 with a price of $70 to $100.

An Expert Tip for Healthier Meals

Asking yourself these three questions is a simple tip that will make any of your meals healthier: Where's my protein, where's my fiber, and where's my healthy fat? Put together a plate that provides all three, and you've got a line on a leaner, healthier body. Eating a slowly absorbed, hunger-controlling meal maximizes the absorption of nutrients in your food. The three macronutrients will also help crowd out refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, added sugars, and other things that block you from reaching your health goals, and here's why.