• March 22, 2017

    Bullet Journal

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    I am willing to bet that you’ve already heard about bullet journaling – it seems to be all the craze right now.  I wanted to try it out before giving my assessment and thoughts on the idea, so I’ve been using my journal since the new year and am ready to share my experiences with you.

    First, though, for those of you who are not yet familiar with the system, here is a video from the original creator to help explain the idea/process:

    Ok, got it?  Pretty simple, right?  And fairly ingenious, really.

    First, my journal is a simple Moleskine, dotted, in the extra large (7.5×10) size.  My favorite thing about this journal is the dots.  While setting it up, I had considered a lined journal, but opted for the dots which afford wonderful guidance as I draw and create graphs and date boxes.  I think a lined journal could work, but you’ll have more obvious horizontal lines in your open spaces and you’ll struggle more getting the vertical lines at proper right angles.

    As I use it, I am finding that it’s a bit large to carry around and use away from home.  I like that I have room for my little drawing and such, but might give a smaller size a try next year.  I also am finding that this journal’s pages are quite thin and ink shows through so that  I can really only use one side of the page.  I have heard that the Leuchtturm brand has a bit thicker paper.

    Now, for the set up: I kept to the, sort of, standard way they recommend to start.  I have key, yearly calendar, and index pages:

    Key

    Index

    Year

    Pages to track goals, books, movies, and travel:

    Resolutions

    Books

    And then I start my months and calendars.  Each month starts with a page that includes a habit tracker, a month calendar, and space for goals that I have that month.  I also include a picture or quote here to liven the page  up a bit:

    Month

    After the initial month page, I have a page to write daily gratitudes.  These pages go along with the theme of the first page or with a holiday/feeling that I associate with the month (so, for February, it was hearts and for March, it was thistles and tea).

    Thankful

    Finally, after the gratitude page, I have each week for the month drawn out.  These pages include space for each day, a menu for the week, and a space for notes or a to-do list (this is where I use the transfer system with the >, <, X, etc symbols as suggested in the video and my Key page.

    Week

    Overall, I really like this system.  It has helped me to hold myself accountable and to remember things like sending birthday cards and scheduling appointments.  The set up time is a bit long and the book is less convenient than having an app in my phone, but I find the time setting it up and physically writing or drawing in the book is sort of meditative and does help my brain to slow down a bit.  I’ve also discovered that I am in love with washi tape and I really love experimenting with different hand lettering styles and art!

  • March 1, 2017

    GM Appreciation Party

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    March 4th is GM appreciation day!  If you don’t know what a GM is, you probably won’t care too terribly much about this post (sorry).  For those who do, please let me encourage you to celebrate your GM and the hard work they put into making your game nights entertaining, difficult (but not too difficult), and fun!  I’ve never been a GM myself, but I am married to mine and can tell you first hand that they pour their heart and soul into creating great games.  My husband spends a lot of time thinking about the game, writing stories, and planning encounters for the game.  He sleeps with his rule books next to the bed and has notebooks and more computer files dedicated to the game than I will probably ever know.  When he’s not planning games, he is watching other people run games on YouTube to gather ideas and improve his style.  On game weekends, we spend the whole day cleaning, prepping for the game (music, game board, etc), and generally feeling anxious about how things will go that evening.  All of this takes a lot of time and energy and I really don’t think the players in our group (or in many similar groups, from what I’ve been reading online) have even the slightest inkling how much he’s invested in the story.  So, I threw him a little GM appreciation party at our last game night (there’s no way I could pull it together for the actual day since we already had a game night scheduled for the weekend before and people are too busy to get together two weekends in a row).

    Decorations

    First, I decorated using fun party stuff I had already.  I also used templates from minieco to make paper dice that hung down all over the room.

    Close-Up

    Then, I planned the menu.  I made a tavern stew (I added 2 more cups of beef broth and lots more spices), chocolate truffles (I found inspiration here and here), and the other players provided hard cider and some of hubsters favorite snacky foods.  The decorations and food were a big hit and a lot of fun, too!

    Mini

    It was a great night and I really enjoyed putting everything together for my hubby and GM.  He works so hard, he deserves to have something nice to appreciate everything he does!

  • January 11, 2017

    Books of 2016

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    If you’ve been reading the Bliggity Blog for awhile, you will know that a couple of years ago I challenged myself to read a book with a title from every letter of the alphabet.  Well, 2016 is the year I finally finished the challenge!  The last few letters were:

    E – Every Last Tie by David Kaczynski

    N – Name of the Wind (Kingkiller #1) by Patrick Rothfuss

    R – Reading Lolitta in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

    T – Ten Days in a Mad House by Nellie Bly

    V – Valentine Grey by Sandi Toksvig

    X – X-it by Jane George

    Once the challenge was complete, I kinda went to town with all the books I’ve been hanging on to as well as a bunch of books for book club!  I’ve really enjoyed having a group to read and discuss books with – it’s been really wonderful and I’m tempted to join another (goodness… would I have time?  Maybe a YA lit group?).  Anyway, in the past, I’ve always given a synopsis or review of the books I read, but this year there are just too many.  I enjoyed most of these books, though, and would recommend them all to the right reader!  :)

    Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

    You’re Never Weird on the Internet  (Almost) by Felicia Day

    An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Alder

    Push by Sapphire

    Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

    The Wise Man’s Fear (Kingkiller #2) by Patrick Rothfuss

    As Always, Julia edited by Joan Reardon

    Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling

    Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

    A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

    The Rat Queens

    Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking by Anya van Bremzen

    Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

    Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

    The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

    Stir by Jessica Fechtor

    I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

    Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

    Buffering by Hannah Hart

    Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson

    Currently, I am reading A Day of Honey by Annia Ciezadlo for book club and it’s been really good.  I’ll continue to keep record and share with you how things are going and what I’m new things I’m finding!  Right  now, I am on track for my goal of reading 30 books in the year before I turn 30!  :)

  • December 28, 2016

    December Round Up

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    Whelp, looks like I managed to miss most of December, huh?  *sigh*  My goal was to have a homemade Christmas, which we did… but I totally underestimated how much time that would consume!  So, here we are with the monthly round  up and I’ll try to touch on everything we enjoyed this past month!

    dining-room

    nativity

    As soon as Thanksgiving was over (ok, ok, ok… a little, teensy bit before it was really over) I pulled out all of my Christmas decorations and went to town on our house.  And since I felt like we needed a little extra cheer this year, I found a pencil tree to put in our entry way too!  So.  Two trees.  I threatened to put up a third, but lost the oomph to do it.  Ah, well, there’s always next year, eh?

    little-tree

    big-tree

    2015

    Then it was time to get started on my Homemade Christmas goal from my 30 before 30 list!

    ornaments-in-progress

    stitches

    The first craft I started was these beautiful Nordic inspired ornaments.  These became gifts for family and friends and were a lot of fun to make!  We also decorated our own home with them – we tried to stick to a red and white theme this year and they added something really special on the tree.

    cookies

    In addition to ornaments, we gave friends and family Christmas cookies.  I made so. many. cookies.  And I learned how to use a cookie press (I think I need one of my own now…) for Danish vanilla cookies.  Oh, and the bread!  I made eggnog bread  and monkey bread for Christmas morning!  I was in the kitchen a lot this December!  *nods*  So glad my folks took care of us for Christmas dinner!

    crafty-nativity

    Another craft project I worked on was this beautiful nativity.  I’ve always been frustrated that I can’t find a realistic nativity with Middle Eastern people – Jesus was not white, ya’ll!  Anyway, I loved the concept of the silhouettes, so that solved it all for me!  :)  Click here for full instructions and info on where to get the vinyl designs.  The last step is to spray the glass with Frosted Glass spray paint stuff… but it’s been so cold this December, I was afraid the temperatures would ruin the paint.  Next year, it’ll be frosty glass!

    socks

    Another favorite thing I did this month was the Secret Santa at work.  I always get too into it, but it’s really fun to spoil one of the amazing women I work with and let her know how much I appreciate her!  And I’ll admit, I kind of like being spoiled by someone else too!  Anyway, the most hilarious gift I received this year was socks with bandanna wearing corgi’s on them.  So silly – I really love them!  I think Ollie approves too…

    ollie

    I didn’t have a lot of time for things other than all the crazy Christmas shenanigans, so I didn’t really consume much media.  I did make it out to see Fantastic Beasts  and Where to Find Them early in the month and Rogue One the weekend it came out.  I also caught Hairspray Live on NBC and I read one book for book club – Yes Chef, by Marcus Samuelsson.  We stayed home a lot and watched old Christmas movies while I worked on crafts too, so that was fun.

    frosty

    And there you have it!  I’m pretty sure that’s all I’ve got for this month!  Sure felt busier than it looks like it was… but I learned my lesson!  I will start Christmas crafts way earlier next year!  I hope you enjoyed your holidays this year and felt the love of friends and family.  Best wishes for a safe and happy new year – see you in 2017!

  • November 30, 2016

    November Round Up

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    Ok, ya’ll, I am not gonna lie.  I am sooo tired right now!  November is kicking my tush this year with the stuff and the friends and the other stuff and everything.  Ugh!  I suppose it’s really a good thing that I’m tired, though, because it means that I’ve been busy.  I’ve spent time with friends and family.  I’ve gone out and stayed in and started some fun projects!  So, despite my tiredness (and lame-o lack of pictures), I want to share my November with you!

    The month started out very stressful and mentally/emotionally exhausting with the elections and news and everything that went with it.  I was convinced that the world was going to end no matter who won and who would be there to pick it all up and put it back together again?  *sigh*  I certainly don’t feel good about what happened and I am not in any way comfortable going forward… but I think I’ve moved from depression into the acceptance part of the grief stages.  It’s a wary and tired and sad acceptance and in no way means that I accept the bad and terrible things that will come from this decision… but it’s a place where I can at least stop thinking about it for a little while and feel ok.

    To distract myself from the pain and fear, I read a lot this month.  And I read a lot about amazing, powerhouse women (weather they would agree with me on that assertion or not, I don’t know).  The first book was  I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai.  That woman… dang.  Talk about an inspiring message that taught me that even little girls can make a difference in the face of terror.  No matter how insignificant you think you might be, Malala teaches us that you can be so much more.  Oh, God, how appropriate.  The second book was Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes.  Aside from the rich and famous aspects of her life, I actually found that I identify a lot with Shonda.  Introverted, unsure, and just brave enough to try to do better, Shonda spoke right to my dorky little heart.  And the last book I read in November was Buffering by Hannah Hart.  I had no idea how deep her hurts and struggles ran.  She talks in her YouTube videos from time to time about not being accepted by her super religious father, but there is so much more.  Ugh.  And yet, Hannah is giving and cheerful.  She has moved past her past and intentionally works to make the world a better place.  Seeing a theme here yet?  *grin*

    Let’s move on now to some more powerhouse women that I spent time with this month.  Hubby and I went to see Moana in theaters on Thanksgiving day.  It was so good!  Such a beautiful message of self discovery and following your passions!  I wish I’d had more role models like her when I was a little girl!  Not only was the story great, but the animation and art were gorgeous too!  Love, love, love!  And my TV pick for the month was Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.  I loved the show when I watched it start to end in my early 20′s and I loved the revisiting of all the characters now!  I know it wasn’t a perfect telling, but I really liked to see where everyone ended up, even in their imperfections.  Grief can do that, you know?  Throw you off track until you feel like you’re drifting and struggling to find your way back… so. good.

    Moving on to more traditional things now, we’ve entered the holiday season of 2016.  Thanksgiving was sort of uneventful for my family.  Hubby and I went to see Moana and ate tacos on Thanksgiving day.  We went over the weekend for a slightly more traditional meal with my parents which was very nice.  Nobody talked about politics (not once!) and it was actually quite relaxing.  Yay!  And in the midst of all of this, I also started decorating for Christmas and started several Christmas crafts.  I love Christmas and my darling hubby indulges me by helping put up decor and letting me take over the house with craft supplies.  It’s wonderful.  I can’t say too much, though, because I want to devote more time and focus to it in some posts next month (so stay tuned!).

    And now, I fear, this wall of text will drive you all away!  Please don’t go!  Or, at least, don’t be afraid to come back!  Hopefully I will be able to share more pictures and such next time.

    Happy Holidays!

  • July 27, 2016

    30 Before 30

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    A friend of mine has had some health issues recently and we were talking about how everything kind of went to hell when she turned thirty.  That got me to really thinking about those 30 before 30 lists and how maybe enough people know that everything craps out on you after you turn 30… so I figure I better get my crap together this year and do some amazing things!

    1. Go for a wine tasting at a vineyard
    2. Sit on a beach
    3. Run another 5k
    4. Take a class
    5. Have family photographs taken
    6. See a ballet
    7. Learn to make pizza from scratch
    8. Eat vegetarian meals 2x week
    9. Make an incredible cosplay costume
    10. Find the perfect little black dress
    11. Play a video game all the way through with my husband
    12. Learn calligraphy
    13. Take better care of my skin and hair
    14. Research family history
    15. Have a homemade Christmas
    16. Buy myself a beautiful piece of jewelry
    17. Cover my home and office with art
    18. Clean my home with all homemade cleaners
    19. Fully embrace my inner nerd
    20. Do something that scares me
    21. Put up fantastic Halloween decorations
    22. Stop letting fear run my life: Be assertive when appropriate, Stop waiting for someone else to approve or tell me it’s ok to do what I want, Open up to people – maybe make a friend
    23. Complete a 30 day photo challenge
    24. Make something that makes my heart happy
    25. Learn about meditation and give it a try
    26. Learn how to make cheesecake
    27. Go to a theme park
    28. Take a girls only trip
    29. Read 30 books in the year
    30. Start an Etsy shop

    Some of these things are silly, some serious, and some are pretty freaking ambitious.  I hope to accomplish all of these things in the next 365 days, but at the very least have a plan in place to move forward!

    Wish me luck!  *grin*

  • April 13, 2016

    Treat Yo’Self!

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    Ugggh… you guys… I am so tired!  The past six weeks or so have really taken the life out of me!  So much so that I am even struggling to write this at all.  Between Dad’s surgery, family obligations, house projects, financial burdens, typical work stressors, and extra special work stressors on top of it all… I’m beat.

    During this stressful time, I’ve been thinking a lot about self care and how I can get better at it.  I brought it up with my mom and was surprised to find that she wasn’t particularly familiar with the term “self care.”  I guess it’s such a talked about concept in the mental health field that I forget not everyone learns what it means to take care of themselves and why it’s essential to successful living!

    Self care is pretty much just what it sounds like: taking care of one’s own mental, physical, and spiritual health and wellbeing.  This includes managing stress and finding balance with the different facets of one’s life.  Most importantly, self care is a continual process, not a onetime thing!  You have continually take time to find your peace and feed your soul.

    “But that sounds so selfish!  Who has time to get away from work?  The kids?  The house?  The husband?  If I don’t pour my heart and soul into everyone and everything around me, I’m a bad mom/wife/woman!”

    Feet

    I hear you, my dears, and I understand where that feeling comes from!  It’s not always easy to remember that you have value all on your own, is it?  It’s easy to martyr yourself and feel that that is what makes you a good person.  The best way I know to explain that this viewpoint is so flawed is to ask you to remember the last time you got on an airplane and the speech they give before takeoff.  If you need to put on an oxygen mask, they tell you to do yours first and then help others.  That’s not selfish!  You are completely useless to help others if you’re passed out!  The same is true of regular life stuff!

    Have you ever noticed getting grumpy with your coworkers when you slept poorly?  Or snapped at your significant other when dinner is late and you’re a little hangry?  Ever yelled at the kids after a long day at work when all you want to do is draw a bath and drink a glass of wine?  That’s why self care matters!  If you don’t do it, not only do you suffer, but so does everyone else around you!

    So, then, what do you do about it?  Consider what you naturally do to reduce stress and feel good.  From there, you can expand your positive self care strategies and incorporate these things more naturally into your life.  Once something becomes a habit, you won’t have to work as hard to do it on a regular basis.  Discuss your thoughts with your family or friends so they can help you stay on track and to help them understand any changes your self care plan will make in  how  you interact with them.

    Here’s a short list of things to help you get started.  Please add to it and mold it to fit your own, personal needs!

    • Be self aware – know your limits and make a plan to help you stick to what you can handle – it’s okay to say “no” once in a while.
    • Develop a support system – talk to family, friends, people online, and seek out professional help if needed
    • Take care of your body: exercise, eat right, sleep enough
    • Take care of your mind: take time off, read, do something relaxing, practice mindfulness
    • Take care of your spirit: laugh, meditate, attend religious services, spend time in nature or visit a spa

    When in doubt, be like a corgi!  Play outside with your favorite person, drink lots of water, and SMILE!

    Happy-Face

  • April 15, 2015

    Spring Cleaning: Closet Edition – Organize!

    Pretty

    Hello again, dear readers!  I know you’ve been waiting with baited breath to find out how to get all your Keep pile back in to your closet without spending a ton of money while still increasing the organization of it all.

    I’ll tell you right now, there are tons of gimmicky things out there designed to organize closets and storage areas and if you’re not careful, it can become very costly very quickly.  Look at the space and organizational items you already have on hand and get creative with it.  Consider different ways to store items like purses and accessories.  Once you have an idea of what you really need, go shopping.  I started with cheap stores like Marshalls and Ross where I had great success!  Then, I hit up the Target clearance isles  and for the storage boxes (pro tip: Measure where your storage boxes are going to go!  I really needed a bigger size than most boxes are made for it to look right in my built in storage spaces).

    Middle-New

    Now that you have your organizational stuff, put it in place and fill ‘er up!  When hanging clothes back up, sort at least by season or type of clothes.  I separated sweaters and long sleeve tops from short sleeve tops and sorted the short sleeve tops between work appropriate and t-shirt.  Then I sorted those types by color.

    Her-Side-Now

    His-Side-New

    Once it’s all hung up, find all those pieces from your original “Maybe Keep” pile – you know, the pile of stuff you needed to try on and think about whether or not you’d actually use it again – and turn the hangers backwards on the hanging rod.  Then, when you use the item, you can turn the hanger around to indicate you made the right choice in keeping it.  Next year when you clean again, you’ll instantly have your donate pile because you know you won’t actually use the things that are still hung backwards!  Smart, eh?

    Turn-The-Hangers

    Another fun tip I love is to use rolled up catalogs inside your fall and winter boots to keep them standing tall!  There are all kinds of boot holders and expensive tips, tricks, and ideas for boots, but catalogs come to you in the mail for free and work perfectly!

    Boot

    You’re almost there now!  Pull together everything that is left over – accessories, purses, and so on – and find logical places for it all.  The best part of this step is that, if you have room, you can arrange beautiful bags and items on shelves to create a lovely backdrop of color.  This also helps you see what you have so you’re more likely to actually use it all!

    Now, take a step back and enjoy the progress you made!  Enjoy the beauty of a clean and organized space and do whatever you can to maintain this level of awesomeness throughout the year!

  • April 8, 2015

    Spring Cleaning: Closet Edition

    Messy-Closet

    As we established last week, it is spring!  And spring is busy!  If you’re anything like me, the improving weather makes you want to run outside and never come in again.  Being outside in the fresh air makes brings into sharp relief just how stale and dark the air inside is after being shut up all winter.  And if you’re anything like me, that creates an insatiable need to clean, sort, and renew every part of everything in your life.

    This spring, I decided to start with my messy, disgusting closet.  We’re about to get pretty personal here, so I want you to check any judgment you might have at the door.  If it helps, go look in all of your messy closets and remember that you’re not such a great housekeeper either.  And when you’ve done that, think about using the following tips to clean up your act too!

    *grin*

    First things first, assess your mess.  Take a good long look and soak it all in.

    Her-Side

    Her Side

     

    His Side

    His Side

     

    Pile of Shoes

    Pile of Shoes

    Ok, stop soaking it in and move on to the real step #1:  Pull everything out of your closet so you have a blank slate to work with in putting things back.

    Step #2:  Before putting things back, sort into 4 piles.

    Keep, Maybe Keep, Toss or Recycle, and Donate.  This probably goes without saying, but the Keep pile is for things you use and wear on a regular basis.  I also include things  you may not use often, but has sentimental value (e.g.: your wedding gown) and cannot be replaced.

    The Maybe Keep pile is for things you haven’t used or worn in a long time, but you think you might.  It’s also for things you need to try on and need to make sure you can even use it.

    The Toss or Recycle pile is for things that have holes, are broken, or actual trash that made its way into the deep, dark corners of your closet.  As you create this pile, keep in mind all the Pinterest DIY’s you have been saving up – you might not be able to wear your holy t-shirt, but maybe you can make a rug or grocery bag out of it.

    The Donate pile is for things that are still useable and in good condition, but you no longer want them.  These things will be given to charity, friends, or thrift stores.

    Keep

    Keep Pile

    Step # 3:  Execute your plans for each pile.

    Throw everything in the Toss pile away, keeping back things you have a project in mind for.  Be careful not to use the recycle ideas as an excuse to keep crap you’ll never use: be realistic about your plans and don’t hoard junk.  For the things you can Recycle, wash and put away in your craft storage place.

    Try on everything from the Maybe Keep pile and make a judgment call.  If you think you’ll use or wear it and it fits, put it with the Keep pile.  If there’s no way you’ll ever be a size 2 again, put it with the Donate pile.

    Bag or box up everything for Donation.  If you think friend might want some of it, let them sort through it before dropping it off at your favorite charity or thrift store.  This is a great time to donate the plastic grocery bags you’ve been hanging on to too – thrift stores often reuse grocery bags for their own shoppers.

    For what to do with the Keep pile, tune in next week!

     

    Happy Spring Cleaning!

  • March 11, 2015

    DIY Chalkboard Steins

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    Happy St. Patrick’s Day, ya’ll!  I have been dying to try some chalkboard paint projects, so with the upcoming holiday, it seemed like a perfect time to give it a shot!  Not to promote stereotypes or generalizations, but Ireland is pretty darn famous for its beer production and pub culture, so I gathered up some plain glass steins and got to work!  This was a fun (although somewhat frustrating) project that yielded beautiful results.  I hope you enjoy and try this yourself – if you do, I’d also love to see your results and tips!  In the meantime, have a happy and safe celebration of St. Patrick!

     

    For this project, you will need:

    • Glass Steins
    • Vinyl Stencils
    • Chalkboard Paint (I used pebelo porcelain)
    • Paintbrush

    Supplies

     

    Directions:

    Place your stencils on the glasses as straight as possible.  To do this, you will peel the vinyl off its backing, stick it to the glass, and then peel off the paper backing that is still attached.

    Peel-Backing-Off

    I found that laying the stencil down and then placing the stein on top gave me more control and kept the stencils straighter… but do whatever feels best to you, there’s no wrong or right with this!

    Stencils

    Paint the steins with chalkboard paint and let dry.  The pebelo paint that I used requires 24 hours to dry, but I ended up needing a few coats of the paint to feel like it really covered the glass, so I painted, let dry for 12 hours, painted, let dry, so on and so on until it looked good to me.

    Paint

    Carefully peel off your stencils and clean up an sticky residue left on the glass.  Be extra, super careful when taking the stencils off!  I had a couple steins where the paint wanted to peel up with the stencil and would have created a terrible problem.

    Peel-off-the-Stencil

    Place the steins upright in the oven on a cookie sheet.  Turn on the oven and heat to 300 degrees F.  Bake for 30 minutes to cure the paint.  When done, remove from oven and let cool.  I only baked 3 at a time because I worried that the heat wouldn’t distribute as well with 6 glasses inside.  I also worried I’d be clumsy and knock half of them over inside the oven.  This method took a little longer, but prevented all kinds of problems for me.

    Bake

    Once totally cooled, you can use your steins!  I hate the way regular chalk feels on my hands, so I found the wonderful Super Chalk chalk-marker-pens which have beautiful color and don’t feel gross.  It also stays on better than regular chalk would and clean off well with water, so that is definitely a plus.

    Drink-Up!

    The last (and most exciting) step is to fill ‘er up and enjoy a cold beverage!

    Fill-'er-up!