My Computer is Alive Again!

20 Oct

I finally ordered and replaced the hard drive in my laptop. It feels so good to have my own computer again! I didn’t realize how much I depended on it until I had to share.

I forgot to take pics of the process…you really don’t want to see the mess I created anyway.

I had a few troubles during the process: screws that didn’t want to come out, screws that I missed so other stuff wouldn’t come out, and leftover screws after I had put it back together. After loading Windows 7 back on to my computer it wouldn’t go online. It wouldn’t use WiFi nor would it use a networking cable. I messed with it and messed with it…I wasn’t happy. I finally took it back apart to make sure everything was hooked up (which it was), and in the process of putting it back together I found where the missing screws went.

After all of that it still wouldn’t go online. I had the drivers and utilities CD for it and tried installing drivers and they wouldn’t install until Bob said, “what are those ones with the check mark next to them?” I thought the check mark meant that the drivers were already installed; it didn’t. It meant that I had that hardware and those were the drivers I needed to install. Bob sat with my computer and babysat while it installed the needed drivers. I was past frustration at that point and needed to walk away.

I had a million updates to install, but it’s working great again! It starts up faster than it did before (which was a sign of a failing hard drive; who knew?!).

So, anyway, I’m back in business and working on some things you’ll read about in future posts.

Let me say that if it wasn’t for YouTube, I’d have been spending $500 on a new computer and having to wait until we had the money to buy one. I’m very happy I decided to try this!


Important links that helped a LOT:

Lost Windows 7 Install Disc? Create a New One From Scratch

Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool (Necessary to burn the installation DVD properly)

Inspiron N4110 Hard Drive Removal Video

DIY- How to Remove the Hard Drive from a Dell Inspiron N4110


UPDATE 10/20/14:

My computer started telling me that my version of Windows 7 was not valid…I tried all kinds of things to get it to work. I finally had to call Microsoft and use their automated system to confirm my product key. I had to do it twice in order for it to go through. I hope this is the last of the glitches!

Use Your Words

10 Oct

use your words

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

My words are:

Log cabin ~ highland cattle ~ crack of dawn ~ site ~ bread ~ dump

They were submitted by:

There are days when I wish we lived in a log cabin in the middle of the woods, and had enough money for Bob to retire early. We could move to Scotland and raise Highland cattle; that’s far away from everything, right?

Bob’s work schedule has been crazy lately. When he has an out of town job, he thinks he’s being smart by going into work early so that they can get on the road for the long drive to the job site. It seems like he’s been going into work at the crack of dawn a lot lately.

For some reason he thinks I need to get up when he gets up. This used to be true when the kids were still going to public school. I liked to be up early enough to drink a little coffee before I had to get the kids up. But, I’ve been homeschooling for 6 years and that isn’t the case anymore. (He’s gotten used to me packing his lunch and pouring his coffee while he gets ready for work.)

I could clean the house, bake bread, and make a trip to the dump before the kids get out of bed when I’m getting up that early. Of course, I usually make Bob go to the dump and I don’t bake bread even though I’m sure it tastes better. I don’t even do much cleaning until I’ve finished my second cup of coffee.

Shhh…don’t tell Bob, but there have been mornings that I went back to bed as soon as his truck was out of the driveway.

Now, take some time and see what words the other bloggers got and what they’ve done with them :)

I wonder who got mine!?

Baking In A Tornado

Spatulas on Parade

Stacy Sews and Schools

Follow me home

Battered Hope

The Bergham’s Life Chronicles

Evil Joy Speaks

The Momisodes

Someone Else’s Genius 

Confessions of a part-time working mom

Crumpets an Bollocks

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo

Replacing My Hard Drive?

9 Oct

I’ve been back and forth since I got that notification from my computer on whether to fix it or to just buy a new one.

I’ve decided to try to fix it, even though I read some horror stories on how hard it is to do.

However, I decided to dig a little deeper. I’m fairly handy…most of the time. I found two YouTube videos on how to replace the hard drive, and it didn’t really look that hard. Yes, it’s more difficult than other computers because the hard drive is under the motherboard. I think I can do it!

A new hard drive (500 Gb) is only around $40 for my computer (Dell Inspiron 14R). If it doesn’t work, I’m out $40, but if it works, I don’t have to spend $500+ on a new computer…especially since they all come with Windows 8, and everyone in my house knows that I really dislike 8 (but love 7).

I also found information on how to make my own Windows 7 install disc because my computer didn’t come with one. I tried to make a system image since the computer is still working (barely), but it would have required a lot of discs. I don’t mind starting from scratch since everything important is backed up already.

So, maybe in a week or so I won’t have to borrow a computer or use my tablet or the old, old laptop that barely works!

I’ll probably post about it whether or not I’m successful including links to the information I found.

Easy Mini Pot Pies

2 Oct

Boo and I both like pot pies; the guys don’t. So, on a night that I’m making fish for the guys, I’ll make Boo and I something we like and they don’t. Last week it was Mini Pot Pies.

I debated on the crust. Traditional, frozen pot pies are made with actual pie crust. When we went to the store to look at our crust options, I decided to try pizza crust.



1 roll refrigerated thin crust pizza dough

1 can creamy chicken soup (not concentrated)

Muffin pan



  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Spray 6 cups of your muffin tin with non-stick spray
  3. Open pizza crust, roll out, and cut into 6 pieces. Then cut each piece into two, making one a little bigger than the other.
  4. Place the larger pieces of crust into each of the 6 muffin cups.
  5. Bake for about 10 minutes, or however long your crust instructions say to pre-bake.
  6. Fill each up with soup, then top with smaller piece of crust, sealing as much as you can.
  7. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, until top is golden and inside is heated through.

ingredientscut crustfilled cupstoppedmini pot piesBoo liked these and my mom and brother both tried them and liked them. I probably would have loved them if I used a different soup. The Banquet soup had celery in it, which is fine for other occasions, but not for pot pies in my opinion. Progresso makes a Chicken Pot Pie soup that is very good, and probably would have worked perfectly for this recipe.


Team Colors Seat Cushion

30 Sep 911seat cushion

Come Tailgate With Us!


My project is a cushion with handles for carrying ease! This cushion would be useful in those uncomfortable stadium seats, on the bleachers, or on the back of a pick-up truck.

Below, I’ll give you the links to the other 8 blog posts!

The team colors shown in this tutorial do not reflect Bob’s favorite team, but this is the fabric that I had on hand. Stacy from Stacy Sews and Schools would probably love tohave this cushion to match her DIY Lap Rug or any of her other Steelers projects.

I originally planned for this cushion to be kind of hard, or stiff. I wanted it to at least be fully stuffed. I still may go back and resew some of the inside seams to make the cover tighter. However, by leaving it the way it is, it serves as a cushion and a pillow.

I didn’t have to buy any of the materials for this cushion. I didn’t use much fabric at all and I used an old pillow for the inside filling. I already had the ribbon from a prior project.


1 old pillow

2 square pieces of fabric approximately 17″ x 17″

4 pieces of fabric approximately 4 1/2″ x 17″ (you can make these thinner or thicker, depending on how thick you want the cushion)

Ribbon, or something like it for the handles

I started by cutting the pillow to a square size. I kept the remainder to make a small, decorative neck roll pillow. I washed this pillow before starting…you can’t tell. Good thing I’m covering it up.

1cut pillow2cut pillow 2

I then cut the pieces of fabric to the dimensions described above.

3cut fabric

On one of the yellow pieces (side piece) I pinned an X of ribbon to create the handles. When I sew it together, the ribbon will get sewn into place.

4pinned ribbon

I started sewing the yellow pieces to one of the black pieces. Basically the sides to the top piece, making sure to sew the right sides together.

5sewn top pieces

Then I sewed the bottom piece onto the side pieces, making sure to keep the right sides together. I made sure to leave a hole in one section so I can get the pillow inside.

6sewn bottom piecesThen I sewed the corners shut.

7Sewn cornersHere it is before I put the cushion inside.

8sewn before fillingI slipped the cushion inside then carefully sewed the open seam together. This can be done one of two ways, you can use the machine, and have a noticeable seam, or you can hand sew it and maybe hide it a little better. I opted for the machine. I mean, you’re going to sit on it; it doesn’t really matter.

9sewn outer seamAnd here’s the handy handle:

910handlesAnd the finished pillow:

911seat cushionNow for the other bloggers!

Karen at Baking in a Tornado has created a Glazed Kielbasa Sandwich; A recipe for Kielbasa and vegetables marinated, skewered, grilled and served on a roll.


Stacy at Stacy Sews and Schools has made Team Color Earmuffs; Sewn fleece headband/earmuff thingies in her favorite team colors.


Robin at Someone Else’s Genius will be giving us an inside look at college football with her review of The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football.


Diane at Canning and Cooking at Home will be giving us a recipe for Spicy Mustard Relish; using up all your green garden tomatoes into a wonderful relish.


Shellybean at Follow Me Home has made Busy Bags; a step-by-step tutorial on making “to-do” bags for kids.


Lydia at Cluttered Genius has made an Easy DIY Upcycled Team Garland. Make a garland for your tailgate or mantel out of products you already have in your house!


Melissa at Home on Deranged is posting about Technology and Tailgating; use technology and cool gadgets to ensure you are master of tailgating time!


Shawn at Literary Litter has made a Snapcap, a crocheted hat to keep you warm and let everyone know what’s on your mind.


Next Week’s Preview

26 Sep

I actually have some posts planned for next week…well, two and an update.

On Tuesday 9/30 I’ll be working with 8 other bloggers:


And then on Thursday, 10/2 I’ll be posting a recipe for Mini Pot Pies.

mini pot pies

And, finally, I found my missing pictures of the Removable Neck Pillow Cover tutorial, so I’ll be updating that on Wednesday 10/1.

Finished main

Be sure to check in on those days!!

Removable Neck Pillow Cover

24 Sep

Finished main

A friend of mine has been redecorating her bedroom. It started with a wall hanging that was given to her as a gift. It was gorgeous, but didn’t match the decor in her room at all. So, she decided to start redecorating. When she bought her comforter, one of her favorite pillows wouldn’t match. She likes to sleep with the pillow, so I told her that I would make a cover for it so that it would match her comforter set and she’d also be able to wash it.

I started by measuring the length and diameter of the pillow. The width of my cut of fabric was the diameter plus one inch for a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Once I measured the length of the pillow (just to the edge seam), I added a few inches to each end to allow for an elastic pocket and to allow the fabric to go to the center of the end of the pillow.

Here’s the pillow I started with:

original pillow

Marked Fabric

After cutting one piece of the pink fabric, allowing for the measurements described above, I sewed the short edges (end) about one and a half inches back to make a pocket for the elastic.

End seam

Next I added the ribbon.

end to endribbon end to endpinned ribbon

I sewed the ribbons on by sewing down both sides.

ends sewn side seamI then sewed the long seam, but forgot to leave the ends open so I could insert the elastic. I had to rip the edges open…oops!

cover 2

I measured the elastic by taking the length of the short edge and cutting it in half and using that size for each of the elastic pieces. The elastic is so that I can close the edge some but still allow the user to get the pillow in and out of the cover.


After inserting the elastic and pinning it in place, I sewed the ends of the long edge.

sewing edges

The finished cover without the pillow:

without pillow

With the pillow inside:

without velcro

I wasn’t happy that I could still see the end of the pillow once it was inside of the cover, so I turned it inside out and sewed Velcro inside to help it stay closed.

velcro added

Once I got the pillow back inside and closed the ends with the Velcro, it looked much better!

end pic

Like I said in the beginning of this post, I’ll probably make another cover and retake some of the pics so that you can see every step…maybe things will make a little more sense.


DIY Undershelf/Cupboard Storage

22 Sep

I’ve been seeing a very clever idea, but they tend to get expensive! The one pictured below is $17.99 on Amazon:

41S-Lc7EODL._SY300_That seems expensive to me. If I was going to use it in my kitchen or something, I’d probably shop around and buy one. However, I wanted to use it in my laundry room for rags, so not many people were going to see it.

Steps to make one from a box.

I used a Bojangles box, mainly because of its size and it’s what I had on hand. I also used two wire hangers, duct tape, wrapping paper, clear tape, and a ribbon.

Step 1:

box cut

Step 2 & 3:


hanger hook

Cut the tops off the wire hangers.

folded hangerStep 4:

box flapsStep 5:

hanger for shelf

Step 6: Decorate the box as you choose. I used wrapping paper, but you can do it however you choose. I forgot to take a pic of this step.

Step 7:

ribbon shelf


finished box

My Motivation is Back

16 Sep

I’ve been very unmotivated the past few months. I haven’t wanted to do much of anything. I thought it was because I finished school in May and was “taking a break” from it all. Nope, I can’t see myself going through all of that work in school to do nothing. The problem was the let down. A person spends all that time in school and there’s no job waiting at the finish line. It can depress a person and make them unmotivated to do anything.

I’ve found a part-time job, for which I’m currently in training for. I’m so happy! Yes, it’s only part-time, but I’m doing something with my degree and I’m still home with my kids every day…that’s what matters. The whole reason I went to school was so that I could find a job working from home. That’s hard to do when you don’t have experience. I’m thankful that one of my best friends is in the business and she’s willing to give me a chance to do what I want to do at my own pace.

So, now that I’ve gotten rid of the depression (I think, lol), I can get back to work on my blog! I did do a few things over the summer (like take another trip), but I just haven’t sat down to write the posts.

My computer is still working…stupid thing. I’ll admit that I know nothing about hard drives, but when your computer tells you that “Hard drive failure is imminent”, wouldn’t you think that it would go within a day or so? Not months! I’m so thankful that I haven’t gone out and bought another computer yet! If this one quits before I buy a new computer, Bob will just have to let me use his computer for a little while.

Free “Workbook”–Currents in Literature–American Volume

13 Aug


Last year I posted a “workbook” for Currents in Literature–Genre Volume. I still haven’t finished the type in pages, mainly because the way I was doing it was way too time consuming. This year, I was smart and kept everything generic. No drop-down lists or anything like that. Clone of Bob was disappointed, but I informed him that he was plenty old enough to type in his answers. He was getting off easy as it was.

I did not make a printable copy. If there is interest, I’ll make one. Right now, my kids plan to use the type-it-in forms, not the ones I have to print (I’m sure my printer is thanking us).

Anyhow, I got all of them done for this book…I still need to go back and finish the ones for the Genre Volume. Clone of Bob goofed off last year and didn’t even finish the book…needless to say that his Literature “grade” is not impressive.

Again, this isn’t a teachers guide or an answer key. These are type-it-in files so that your child does not write in the book. The ISBN# of the book I used is: 978-1-56765-144-7. I have not gotten an answer key yet, so I don’t know the ISBN for that.

Currents in Literature: American Volume (Microsoft Word files)


















I’m going to play with these and see if I can convert them to PDF, but still maintain the type-it-in aspect.


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