Finished Nursery

What a long process! But it's as done as it's going to get until he grows out of the crib.  
The pictures finally hung above his bed. I got it in the heart shape I wanted but it didn't look like what I was thinking it would. Still I like it better than any other idea I came up with.
 Just chilling in his rocking chair. The map sliced in 3 and framed as such is probably my most favorite thing in the room besides my little man.
 the pictures are maps i printed out and accessorized with scrapbooking stickers
 The giraffe puzzle that took forever to put together is now hanging in the frame my hubby made.


Happy November!

Has it really been 2 months since my last post? Well there's a baby now, another love in my life! We "finished" the nursery just in time! By "finished" I mean I'm waiting for my studly hubby to hang some pictures for me.

How quickly life has changed in the past two months and how quickly it's gone by. I thought I had 8 weeks to clean up the guest room. Now I have 3 days! Oops.
And look at my little man! He's getting so big- already!!!

I've also gone to new extremes with Pinterest. Rather then just re-pinning, now I'm actually doing projects and recipes from it!

I was jotting down ingredients I need to get for each recipe plus the name of it in my little notebook, and commenting "not so much" or "heck yes" next to them- then I realized "DUH! I have a blog!"

So the next few posts will be recipes and a finished nursery (when we finish it).


the nursery - it's almost done.

Yup, I'm past my due date... and my little guy doesn't seem to care.
Mowed our entire lawn this morning.
Ran errands all afternoon.
Walked another mile plus tonight.
Obviously my body thinks this is all very funny. So... what else to do but blog??
You remember the nursery before, right?

What a relief to have it almost done. And when I say almost, I mean there's some wall art- still in progress- that needs printing and framing, but there's a place for him to sleep!

Chair - already had
Blue Foot Stool - $12, antique store
Map - $8, picked up at an antique store
Frames - $36, $12 each at Michaels
Vintage Suitcase - $10, antique store
Fabric for curtains - my hubby insisted he knew what he was talking about when he said we should make them. I found out I knew more about sewing than him and honestly the stress wasn't worth it. Just buy them. And if you need to make them thicker, buy flannel sheets/fabric to back them. That's what I would have done. 
Giraffe pillow - $3 travel pillow from Walmart. $5 fabric at Hobby Lobby

Clock -$7.50, Dollar General
Zebra Print Lamp - $14 at Walmart
Giraffe - $10 Gordmans
Alphabet letters - $.35 each 
Wicker Bench - already had
Bookshelf - Stole it from my hubby's office, he didn't need it
wallpaper - $.50 at another garage sale, (lots of pieces so plenty of potential for many projects should I desire)

Crib - free on the curb at a garage sale!
Bed skirt - $13 from target -my mom helped me transform a rectangle tablecloth into a bed skirt!

Paper Lanterns - $12, $5 for the 3 green and brown at Sears. $7 for the blue at Hobby Lobby
Changing Table/Dresser - $40, Craigslist and somehow the guy went from $75 down to $40. Don't mind if you do!

Globe - $25, antique store, It's going to be hung from the ceiling, someday!
Wall art to come - $15, (2) 3pks of 5"x7", (1) 2 pk of 8"x10" Target.


Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze

Stolen from Six Sisters' Stuff -this stuff was so easy! I had all the stuff in the pantry (ok, so white cake mix) -so absolutely doable! Eat up, peoples! 

1/3 cup water
1 (15 ounce) can pureed pumpkin
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 (18 ounce) box yellow cake mix
1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
In a large bowl, mix water, pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice.  
Mix in cake mix (just the dry mix, not the ingredients listed on the box) and baking soda and mix until combined.  
Pour batter into a greased 9x13 baking pan. 
In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour and melted butter.  
Sprinkle over the top of the cake.  
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  
Serve your cake when warm or cooled to room temperature.


finally-- and a preview

Okay, I'm not at the "finally" stage yet. But close! And my apologies for not blogging in over a month... That's what happens when this chica moves into a new house and is now 11 days away from her due date! And the nursery- so scary! Don't ask. The limitations I face- being pregnant, partially OCD and used to doing things myself don't exactly help!

So this is the little guy's room! I was trying to take some pictures with my phone before stuff started getting piled in.
This is probably the saddest looking wall in the whole room. The previous owner's little guy got a little excited with the stapler. So we -ehem - am forced to repaint. My hubby would have left it probably as long as possible.

The room in progress! (and a pile of stuff) A coat of primer done- in the picture!
There's actually a coat of paint up as well (not pictured), but we have one more finishing coat to do before it's done done. Can't wait!

And preview: My $10 find at an antique store!

And a map ($8 maybe?) I chopped up to frame!
I saw where someone did this idea with canvas but I was so afraid I could botch that completely. This is almost botched- There was literally a smidge of leeway with the size of the map to work with to get them to fit that perfectly! The frames (10"x20") I found for 40% off at Michaels so for $12 each, I couldn't pass them up!

So this week, we should be finishing up the nursery and it will be all set up!


And so it begins...

This is today's addition to what I started last week. -->

I got 6 or 7 boxes packed last week with boxes I wrangled from the local grocery stores. And then I got enough boxes (from my family who got them from their pastor who just moved here) to move me and all the neighbors on my street ... ok, not that many but more than I think I will need.

I've started with things we rarely use, or clothes we haven't worn in awhile, or like all other Americans- clothes we can't fit into but we plan to fit into someday. Blah.
I also have stuff that I've bought on clearance or hugely discounted for our future guest room and even more for the nursery, which I've finally packed together and realized I have a good start on both rooms! Yay!

 My system was kind of adapted from a friend who just moved, but since I'm doing most of the packing I am hoping it will be a bit more organized. 
Each box has a particular colored sticker which coordinates with a matching room. 
Neon green is the master bedroom. So no matter if it goes in the Master bedroom, bathroom, or closet- if it makes it in the bedroom or even into the house I will know where it goes! Orange stickers are the guest room... and so on...

Today I also came up with a plan for feeding the crowd that will help us move. I'm hoping to get a somewhat decent count of who all is planning to show up at both places. I intended to put out feelers for people wanting to help load, unload or both and then based on that plan accordingly.
At our rental - a table with coffee, water, bagels and muffins.
At our future house- a table or (gasp) our kitchen island! with soda, water, pizza, chips, brownies and some fruit.

I'm such a planner, I still have over 3 weeks before our closing date. Wish us luck!


a little boy's nursery...

I started with a jungle theme in our little guy's future bedroom- but now I'm throwing in a travel theme. Lots of map ideas floating around in my head...

-I love the map split in 3. Might try that.

-I want to find a map of Africa and put little silhouettes of giraffes, elephants and lions on it...

-The TRAVEL letters to instead say JUNGLE and do the letters using a map of Africa.

-I got a vintage looking globe, which I spent too much money on, but I love it. Hoping to add lights to that somehow and make it into a nightlight.

-The black and white pictures in black frames shaped in a heart over his crib. Using the 'E' button picture (doing his first initial instead) and using that as the middle and surrounding with ultrasound pictures, some pictures of mommy and daddy, and maybe mommy and daddy's handprints.

-If I could find some colorful vintage suitcases that would be awesome! love that for a side table.

-Hoping to find some postage stamp fabric to use for a lampshade and/or pillows or bench cushion.

Maybe I'll get around to a registry now that I have some sort of idea and theme to work with.  And maybe I'll figure out a way to incorporate my hubby's obsession with Winnie the Pooh and Tigger into the room. ;)


Decorating Pet Peeves!

There is only one reason why these decorating pet peeves are at the forefront of my brain. Dreaming of that future house.

I feel I should forewarn. These aren't recent pet peeves, these have been very permanently in my brain for most of my decorating experience and they are so common they are not going to change any time soon. I also apologize if you suddenly start noticing them everywhere and it starts bugging you as well.

So, Dreaming of that future house. We have an offer on a house. It's been on the market over a year. Only one other offer has been made on the house, which we heard was about a year ago and the couple decided that they didn't want to wait the 90 days to see if the bank approved it. Did I mention it's a short sale?? Our realtor warned us that it would be a really long wait. She's not kidding. We are over 30 days in and nothing. But our hopes are high. Even if we don't get it there are plenty of other deals out there.

In all of this, I dream of some changes that can be done to the house. Built 6 years ago there is little you would expect that needs changed. This would be true if I weren't such a decorator.

Who thought every house needed Oak stain? Oak flooring? Oak everything? What happened to Walnut? Or my personal favorite Espresso. Everything should be Espresso. The darker, the snazzier. Just sayin'.
Our hopeful house is all OAK!!! Ok, so it's not all oak, just all the wood or wannabe wood. but re-staining everything to at least Walnut is going to be a nightmare. I wonder if the hubby would let me paint the kitchen cabinets. 

thanks Rejuvenation!
Ok, so pet peeves.
1. Lights. I can't stand when people spend hundreds of dollars on chandeliers, pendants, fans, etc. and you can see they got the 4 pack of $2 light bulbs at Wal-mart. Is there no way to hide the lightbulbs? Lightbulbs should enjoyed but not seen. ever. unless they look like this.
Even these don't work everywhere. Use discretion!

Home Depot
2. Electrical outlets. If you are redoing a kitchen or having a snazzy kitchen being built with your dream home, don't buy the .25 cent wall outlets and covers from Lowe's or Home Depot. PLEASE! Buy the nice ones that can be well camouflaged by your backsplash. Not so camouflaged that you can't find them but so that i don't immediately count them all when I walk into your kitchen. Or bath- this applies to bathrooms too! 
I understand they are more expensive-- but 2 in the bathroom next to the counter? Worth it.


Banana Bread

I found this recipe on Pinterest and am borrowing it from A cup of Jo. (And I suppose you can skip the bourbon - if you so desire.) 

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups mashed ripe bananas (from about 3 bananas)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons bourbon
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chunks

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8x4-inch or 9x5-inch loaf pan. Set aside. 

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. 

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. 

Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition. Stop the mixer, scrape down sides of the bowl, and add bananas, lemon juice and bourbon. Beat until well incorporated. 

Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture all at once. Beat until almost incorporated. Stop the mixer and remove the bowl. Add the walnuts and chocolate chips and incorporate the last of the ingredients with a spatula. 

Batter will be thick. Spoon the mixture into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Remove from the oven and allow loaf to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

Serve with milky coffee and enjoy!


Pumpkin Oat Muffins

These are so good! Not overly sweet except maybe the topping and I would dare to say they would be just as good with wheat flour.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup raisins

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon cold butter

In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Combine the egg, pumpkin, milk and oil; add to the dry ingredients just until moistened. Stir in oats and raisins.
Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour and pie spice; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle 1 rounded teaspoonful over each muffin. Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm. Yields: 1 dozen.


bookshelf: before and after

This is my before picture for the bookshelf. After several weeks of paint last fall and some trial and error, it was finally "finished".
To me it could stand a lot of improvement but for a $10 bookshelf and and $6 worth of paint it was just gonna have to work.
Plus my sister and I were getting tired of carrying it in and out all the time.

There was a slight change with the back board color. Found out that spray paint was my friend and the excess spray could be easily covered with white paint.

It also swapped sides with the other bookshelf on the other end of the couch. (the other bookshelf needs a new makeover but I am slightly less motivated to work on it at the moment.)

This is the top of the other bookshelf. I love how the shades of blue really seem to work together!


Zuppa Toscana Soup (from Olive Garden)

1 lb. spicy* Italian sausage – crumbled 
1/2 lb. smoked bacon – chopped
1 qt. water 
(2) 14.5 oz. cans (about 3 2/3 cups) chicken broth  
2 lg. russet potatoes – scrubbed clean, cubed 
2 garlic cloves – peeled, crushed 
1 med. onion – peeled, chopped 
2 cups chopped kale OR Swiss chard
1 cup heavy whipping cream
 salt and pepper – to taste

Place broth, water, garlic, potatoes, and onion in a pot.
Simmer over medium heat until potatoes are tender.
Brown sausage in a pan over medium to medium-high heat, breaking up into small pieces as it cooks.
Drain sausage and set to the side.
Brown bacon in a pan over medium-high heat. Be careful not to cook over crispy.
Drain bacon and set to the side.
Add sausage and bacon to the soup.
Simmer for 10 minutes.
Add kale and cream to pot.
Season with salt and pepper.
Simmer for 2 minutes.

*Can be substituted with mild Italian sausage for subtle flavor.


    Stamp of Approval Spaghetti Sauce

    I cut this recipe out of a Taste of Home magazine recently. It looked so good-- which to me is a good enough reason to cut everything out of magazines. I didn't have some of the ingredients like Worcestershire sauce or dried marjoram, but I figured that it would taste fine without. I halved this recipe also since I wasn't going to be serving 12. (I didn't half the seasonings though- gotta love flavor!)

    2 pounds ground beef
    3/4 pound bulk Italian sausage
    4 medium onions, finely chopped
    8 garlic cloves, minced
    2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained (I put these in the blender for 5 seconds before adding to the sauce)
    4 cans (6 ounces each) tomato paste
    1/2 cup water
    1/4 cup sugar
    1/4 cup minced fresh or dried parsley 
    2 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil
    1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    4 bay leaves
    1 teaspoon rubbed sage
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon pepper
    Hot cooked spaghetti
    (1/4 cup of worcestershire sauce and 1/2 tsp of dried marjoram.)

    In a Dutch oven, cook the beef, sausage, onions over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain.
    Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, water, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, oil and seasonings. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Discard bay leaves. Serve with spaghetti. Yield: 12 servings (3 quarts).


    Chick-fila (kind of) Chicken Salad

    I used leftover crockpot chicken from a couple nights before- turned out fabulous!
    2 cups of cooked chicken breast, chopped finely.
    1/3 cup of celery, finely diced
    1 hard boiled egg, minced
    1/4 tsp of salt
    1/4 tsp of pepper
    1/2 tsp of sugar
    1/3 cup of sweet pickle relish
    2/3-1 cup of mayo
    1/4 tsp of dill weed


    In medium mixing bowl, combine ingredients together. Refrigerate until serving. Slice croissants in half (horizontally) and then spread chicken salad between the croissants.

    *Chickfila's version has no dill weed. and they grill thick-cut bread slices to serve it on.


    first blog of the new year- first project done!

    Before the work started!

    Clean and ready!

    Furniture together!

    Shelves up and lighting in!