Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Box Car Children

Forgive me for not making time to do my promised birthday posts last week. I value many things over blogging, and sleep is one of I won't stay up late to blog.

My husband is also on Spring Break this week -- which reduces my computer time by a lot!

I thought this would be a fun view of our days. I recently ordered a booster seat for my son.

If you are interested, I bought a Britax Frontier 85...which is a 5-point harness up to 100 lbs that converts to a booster. I will most definately pay the money for the piece of mind for my child, as I wanted to keep him in a harness for as long as possible. But I suppose that is another post for another time....

Regardless of that, the box was an awesome treat for my kiddos!
We cut the box to make into a vehicular vehicular even a word?
This thing has been living in our home for nearly 3 weeks now.

The car/train/boat has windows....
and room for babies....without carseats. I guess I need to discuss the importance of safety with these little ones.

Since its creation, the box has been colored on and decorated with cut out shapes and various stickers. Wheels have been added with paper plates.
You can do this with any box.
Check with your local grocery store if you need some....they are more than willling to let you have boxes.
Seriously, hours and hours of fun for your kiddos.

Monday, February 28, 2011

This week...

I plan to tell you how we celebrated the 4th Birthday of my first baby!
How I turned this....

into this...

So look forward to posts full of recipes, money saving party shopping and even how to make your own pinata for nearly FREE!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dining Chair Redo

I have been wanting to recover my dining chairs for a few months now.
I doubt you remember, but my son had a stomach bug and threw up on one of the chairs back in October.
Totally gross, but totally removable since I had already covered the original factory fabric.
You can read about that process HERE. But this is what it looked like the first time.
I love going into fabric stores.
I love being surrounded by the endless rows of bolts....the textures, the thickness, the colors.
Being in the fabric store reminds me of why I love shopping for clothes....
I love to shop by feeling.
I can immediately determine the quality and the comfort....whether or not I love it.
Truly, it is about the experience.
I DO NOT enjoy doing this with my children -- which takes the fun out of the fabric store for me.
But we had people coming to our home and Richard wanted the chairs to be recovered by then, so we had to search for what we wanted.
I had talked of changing the paint color of the dining room when we painted, so instead of trying to match to the awful burgonday color, I decided to with whatever we fell in love.
Richard met me there after his class because he wanted to help choose....after much debating, we settled on this.
We almost purchased another fabric so it wouldn't be so matchy matchy on all the chairs, but we really really adored the pattern and the color of this.
All the chairs now wear the new fabric!
So now, I just have to decide on paint colors....I want to appeal to the masses because I don't plan to paint again before we move.
I am not sure if I should stay neutral -- like a Gold or Orange/Tan.
Or I can do dramatic - like a blue or a navy.
Or ignore the color wheel's complimentary suggestions and do something different all around.
Remember our entry way is a pale green tan color.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

White and Bright

Do you notice anything different about our home?

Yeah, I didn't figure you would.
You don't visit enough!
How about from this angle?

Several months ago (and I mean SEVERAL - as indicated by the lack of snow and green trees in our yard), we painted our front door.
The door was a hideous burgondany color that the previous owners had tried to color match to the front shutters. The same color was used in our dining room.
The paint was peeling off and looked awful.

So we wanted to wait until fall to paint.
Cooler temperatures meant low humidity (which is rare in Virginia!), so the paint would go on smoother and adhere better.
I put the husband to work.

Primer first....then paint.

I did help. I promise.
I took the photos.
Just kidding! I painted!

The paint took two coats even with the primer!

But the door being white reflects the light, so our home seems brighter when the front door is open!

And for the record, I don't have my Christmas decor up any longer!
Scroll up to reexamine the finished product!

More painting projects to be posted soon!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Rug: Before and After

I have a confession to make.
We have lived in our current home for THREE years come March.
And for the past three years we have lived like this:

Yes, that is a towel on the floor.
A towel rug, if you will....
Do you think I could market it?

Yeah, I didn't think so either.

But we have a dog, and a muddy yard, and it always made sense.
And because I waited for the towel rug fad to catch on, and it didn't, I finally decided to spend the money to buy a real rug for the entryways.

We started off with one.
You know, to see how we would like it.

I found a neutral and light colored rug (our doggie has white hair that sticks to everything)....
The rug also claimed to be stain resistant and came with a gripper on the back, so no additional money spent and it won't slide.

Can you believe what a huge difference a rug made in our life?
Instant warmth, and instant dirt catcher.

I went back and purchased the same rug for the other two doors in our home.

Have you ever made a simple and obvious change and wondered how you ever lived without it?
I have a million on them.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Valentine Storage Box

As we have snuck into February, there are only 13 more days until Valentine's Day!
Are you preparing special surprises for your loved ones?
Since my son is in Preschool, we have to send him to school with a decorated box to collect those sweet notes.
We found a kiddie-sized shoe box. You could also use an empty tissue box.
After sorting through my wrapping paper stash, we wrapped the bottom half of the box in a red and white stripe.
The top...I carefully cut a large hole in the center. We covered using white cardstock.
And then Lucas had a marvelous time decorating to his heart's content!
He covered the box around all the edges, insisting that each of the hearts were touching....
And the top was a piece of art.....
We used foam hearts with a sticky side (clearance after last year's VDay at Michael's!!).
I am certain that he will be more than prepared for the love notes from his girlfriends....oh wait, he is only 3!
Do you receive such a mass of Valentine's you need your own box too?
Are you making boxes with your kiddos?
I'd love to see!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dresser Reveal!

I have been admiring our new dresser for nearly a week now.
After my last post, we successfully secured the piece that Monday.
The operation was quite eventful because it involved "repair" of a stubborn drawer before we purchased...which later had to be repaired (really repaired this time) by my husband.
Nonetheless, we decided to just go with the chest for now because our son was not very enthralled with the idea of getting a new dresser. Who would think a 4-year-old would be so stubborn?
Anywho, the big reveal.....
The chest fit perfectly between the windows....

The thing is in EXCELLENT condition, and we plan to keep it as is for now.
We really love it.
So what do you think?
Did we make a great decision?
Or should we have kept our $$$?
Do tell!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dresser Update

Apparently, this photo has been sitting as a published post for many hours.
I am sure you were wondering where I was going with that....

I have had issues with blogger lately, so please forgive me.
Especially for posting a random photo of a stepstool and boots.

This is actually a photo of the location in our master bedroom that we want to put the chest of drawers.

And now that I look at it, I realize even my mirror is hanging off center....that's normal right?

We have found a chest of drawers we adore!
Only we didn't buy it on the spot, which can be a HUGE problem when shopping in a store like we were.

We were browsing in
the store where we purchased Meredith's dresser and our kitchen server (remember, this is a USED furniture store).

My husband and I saw it independently of one another and loved it without discussion.
The piece was very 60's mod in a beautiful honey color, in excellent condition.

So why did we leave the store without it in hand?
Well, the chest of drawers was accompanied by a dresser with a mirror.

We didn't really NEED to get both, but they were so beautiful.
We considered purchasing the dresser to put in our son's room....his dresser is not very functional for a 28-year-old, much less an almost 4-year-old.

And on top of that, the owner offered to knock $20 dollars off the price if we purchased both pieces.

So we walked away.

We wanted to consider our options. Did we want Lucas to have the larger and more functional dresser? Did we want $20 to make it worth our time?

We have made a decision.
So now let's hope that it is still there when we return to pick it up this afternoon!

Cross your fingers!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Change of Drawers

We are constantly trying to reshape and reorganize our home based on how we live
Although it may take a while to figure out the flow of our life, making a change makes things a LOT easier!
Case and point!
For the past SIX years we have had a child-sized desk in our home.
This desk was quite antique even. 
And not only was it an antique, the desk was passed down from my husband's grandfather.
I used it for my scrapbooking table for a while.
But I have always complained that it was too small. I couldn't spread out my "ideas."
I could barely get my feet to fit underneath, and I am a pretty tiny gal!
This is the only photo I have - and you can't even see what it looked like! 
Since moving to Virginia, the desk has been used as a dumping ground for clothes.
After years of debating its real utility, the hubs woke up one morning and said "We HAVE to get rid of this thing!" 
I told him to sit on the decision for a few days to make sure there were no regrets. Letting go of something you have had your whole life is quite difficult. After two weeks, we finally took it to a nearby (awesome) furniture store and "sold" it to them at the cost of a new pair of jeans -for me, not my cheap husband ;)
We have since been looking for a Chest of instead of creating mountains of clothes that do not fit in our dresser, we can actually calm the chaos.
I recently came across a site that sells modern furniture with FREE SHIPPING!!!
The CSN site offers an array of furniture, storage options and accessories. 
I have to show you some of the options available in Chests for the bedroom!
What do you think of the Taylor Chest?
Then there is the Applewood Chest in Cappuccino!
There are so many wonderful options, that I truly cannot decide which would be the best fit with our bedroom current furniture. 
I do know that I am definately ready for a change of drawers!
Do you have things that you are holding on to that you don't really love?
Do you have places in your home that could be better utilized?
Please share!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Two months have passed. 
I certainly didn't forget about you. 

Projects are always looming over my head! 
I can't believe I have fallen so far behind.

But there are laundry or feeding ravenous preschool-aged children. 

And those priorities have seemed like such a chore since the loss of my mom. 
But she would be disappointed that I have let my mourning ruin the way my day goes.

So let's pretend that it is not mid-January, and that we are back on track with updating you daily on how to be the best domestic diva possible. 

My brother even tried to convince me to do a video-blog on what to do when the queso in the jar gets too low....because even he wants something to read about....even if it is as simple as a cheese annoyance.

And you know, the queso being on your wrist is annoying. 

But that would require a video camera!  Hello!!  Sony - I would be more than happy to review a video camera for you!!

And if you are reading this, thank you for hanging with me. 
So what have you been missing?
What would you like to have more information on?  Besides salvaging the little cheese left in the bottom of your queso jar? 

Let's talk soon!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I'm Alive.

I haven't posted in a while. 
You can read about why HERE

I will be back soon, I promise. 

I have finally gotten all of my fall decorations out. 
Typically, I do it in September....but don't critisize, I am running a little behind this year.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Shout Out Sunday

I absolutely have to share these products with you. 
They are AMAZING! 
Just amazing.

Essentially, these are free endorsements from me!

I have talked to you before about our love for fish
Last month, we discovered Parmesan Crusted Tilapia from Treasures from the Sea. 
Typically, I stray away from most premade food, but these seemed to pass the test. 
Straight from the freezer to the oven, no thaw out necessary. 
And they are incredibly delicious.   
I can't even describe how flavorful they are, you just HAVE to try them.

We purchased them at Sam's, but they may be available in other stores.

We tried tortilla chips by Archer Farms (Target).
 We bought the Multi-grain Tortillas for about $2.50.
They are cheaper than national brands and are far superior.

The multi-grain includes corn, brown rice, flax seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds.
Flax seeds provide Omega-3 (like fish!).
The chip has just a hint of salt, but not too salty
(which is something I hate about national brand tortilla chips.)
They are crispy and study, and fabulous for dipping.


Are there any products that you have added into your grocery cart that you love?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dining Chair Dilemma

Several months ago, I recovered our dining room chairs in attempt to save the cushion from liquid spills.
You can read about that process HERE.

The short of it, is I choose a new and heavier upholstery fabric.
BETWEEN the old and new fabric, I put vinyl - like that commonly used in restaurants. 

I never thought my idea was so brilliant until a few weeks ago. 

My son brought a stomach bug home from pre-school.  A stomach bug that I did not discover until we were eating lunch. 

I had my children nibble on string cheese and yogurt while I was making the main entree. 

Before my son could finish his yogurt, his clothes, the counter and my DINING CHAIR were covered in vomit. 

I stripped him, thew his clothes in the kitchen sink and jumped to clean up the vomit on the floor before our doggie could clean it up for me. 

After a quick bath and new clothes, I returned to the kitchen wondering what comes next. 

I was convienced the chair was ruined, and I would have to figure out how to replace an entire cushion. 

I took a deep breath, grabbed the screwdriver and got to work.
After the cushion popped off, I undid the staples on the bottom and ripped off the fabric. 

The fabric had "leaked" quite a bit and underneath, I remembered WHY I put the vinyl on in the first place! 

With a wet rag and some disinfecting spray, the chair was perfectly acceptable again! 
The vinyl had prevented any liquid from soaking through any further. 

For now, the chair remains "naked" with only the vinyl. 

And I recently discovered other products that could be used in place of the vinyl - which are a lot prettier. 

Both Laminated Cotton and Oil Cloth are available online and in fine fabric stores (a place like JoAnn's won't have this in stock). 

Here are a few projects that have been done with oilcloth.

Check out these Lunch bags and Chair covers!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I have a gazillion of things that I could share with you.

Recipes are piled up in front of my computer. 

Projects are getting forgotten about as the days pass.

However, it is hard to keep up with a blog if I feel like there is no genuine interest. 
And I can only assume that there is no interest because no one EVER (and I really mean NEVER) comments. 

You see I am a "words of affirmation" gal.  And without the affirmation, there is no will to continue what has become a daunting task.

And believe you me, I have a gazillion things I could be doing at any minute of the day.....straight down to just sitting on the couch and watching Dora the Explorer.

Where I used to blog before washing dishes or folding clothes....I am now choosing those tasks over making time to write or upload photos.  Even alphabetizing my canned goods is higher on the list.

So here I am giving you a non-update.  Or rather telling you that there will be no more updates unless I feel like I have to share something with you. 

Until then, I hope you enjoy the wonderful fall weather!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Coconut Cake With Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Since I have been busy organizing, I get to SEE what I actually have. 
In organizing my "baking" cabinet in the kitchen, I discovered that I had coconut. 
Now, I knew I had coconut, but I could never really SEE it....hidden behind the flour and the sugar. 

So I certainly wouldn't know that I had one bag that would expire in THREE days! 

I was intent on finding THE perfect coconut cake. 

So I turned to my Southern roots, after skimming several food sites. 

I used the recipe for a Coconut Sheet Cake - with a few modifications, listed below....

3 large eggs
1 (8 oz) container of low-fat sour cream
1/3 cup water
1 (15 0z) can of cream of coconut
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 package of white cake mix

Beat the eggs at high speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes.  Add sour cream, water, cream of coconut and vanilla, beating well after each addition.  Add cake mix, beating at low until blended.  Beat at high for 2 minutes.  Pour batter into greased and floured pan. 
Bake at 425* for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool the cake on wire rack.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer for 30 minutes.  Remove from freezer. 

Spread Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting on cake.  Store in the refrigerator. 

The cake is super-dooper moist and yummy.
And I promise it tastes better after being in the fridge!


Ooops, here is the recipe for the frosting!

Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
3 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (16 0z) package powdered sugar
1 (7 oz) package of flaked coconut

Beat cream cheese and butter until creamy  Add milk and vanilla.  Beat well.  Add sugar slowly, beating until smooth.  Stir in coconut. 
Spread over cake.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Preschool Painting

My kiddos LOVE to paint. 
LOVE it!
Painting is the only activity that will hold their attention longer than 15 minutes. 

And painting may seem daunting to you. 
The supplies to drag out.  The mess to clean up.

But if you do it right, painting can be a great creative outlet for your kids.
Have supplies on hand and easy to grab so you can entertain your kids while you make dinner.

In my craft closet, I have a basket that I fill with items we are currently working on.  
You can see more about the craft closet here

I have a small tin to hold brushes.
I purchased it at Michael's from the $1 bin.

I have paint. 
Washable paint.

I used to let the kids dip from these big jars of paint....but I learned quickly...

I refill these little painting pods with the paint.
Each child can use an aray of colors without me monitoring how much paint they take out.
I just grab these out of the basket with the brush tin.

We wear old T-shirts as "painting shirts" just in case,
so we don't have to worry with paint getting on clothes and getting on furniture.

And just like that, my kiddos are happy and distracted so I can create our dinner!

Are there any quick tips that you have to making life easier with your kiddos?
Do you let your kids paint?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A bed for a boy

Toward the end of August, my husband and I built my 3-year-old a bed for his new twin mattress!

We found a plan off the Knock-off Wood site, where I found the plans for the Toddler sized picnic table that I built.

Her site is now:

We chose Ana's Brookstone Storage Bed and Headboard

I began to post the process on my family's blog, where you can see the details!

I have posted final photos HERE.

The process of building the frame HERE.

The process of building the headboard HERE.

Let me know what you think!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Elevated Dog Bowl

Our first "child" joined our family six years ago this month.
Dixie was actually our test child.   

She doesn't get as much attention as she used to, but we still try to include her in family activities.

Unfortunately, we have neglected her in other ways.
 She has been eating out of this elevated bowl since she was a little puppy.

For a dog her size, the elevation should be a lot taller!

When bending over to to eat, dogs tend to ingest a lot of air with their food...and we all know what excess air leads to!  Besides that, having their bowls elevated eases strain on muscles and joints.

In order to determine the proper elevation for your dog, in a standing position,
measure to the shoulder of the dog and subtract 6 inches. 

Both my husband and I did an extensive search for the feeder size that we needed. 
Richard's jaw dropped at how expensive they were! 
$100 dollars or more, plus shipping.

So we took matters into our own hands and drew up a blueprint to a wooden feeder for Dixie!
I am going to share the loose instructions with you, so you can modify them to your own specifications.

We needed a feeder 18 inches high.  (24" shoulder height minus 6 inches).

When making this measurement, include any additional height added from the bowls
if they do not lay flush in the wood.

Our bowls were 6" square across the top.
We wanted 2" between the two bowls and around all sides.
We decided a 5" square in the wood would hold the bowl properly
( 1" of the bowl is showing above the wood).

The same calculations can be made using the diameter of a circular bowl.
 With all that considered, we needed a 1x10x6 piece of wood.

The top board was 17" across.

We drew the squares for the bowls in the proper location.

Then drilled holes in all corners and in the center of each line to prepare the for the jigsaw.

I have no photos of the jigsawing, but once the holes were removed, the legs were attached.

We let Dixie try it out, and it seemed TOO HIGH for her.
After remeasuring, we didn't account for the height added by the bowls, or the wood with the legs
(ie. my husband cut the legs to the height we needed)

So my husband took his saw and cut 2" off the bottom to take it to the proper 18" measurement.
He also added a cross support along the bottom.

Dixie is much happier with the feeder now!

I stained the feeder with one coat of Minwax English Chestnut.

And the entire project was about $7!   

If you have any questions, please let me know! 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

PW's Peach Crisp

I have so many things to share with you!! 
I am going to try my hardest to catch up you to speed this week, so please please bear with me! 

First and foremost, I want to share a recipe with you from the Pioneer Woman.

Can we say Hello Momma?! 
Words cannot describe how delicious it was.  And I say WAS, because this is all that is left:

I made her Peach Crisp with Maple Creme Sauce.

We actually wanted ice cream too (my husband believes a day is not complete without ice cream), so I opted to ignore the Maple Creme Sauce. 
I truly believe the vanilla ice cream mixed with every bite made it all the better.

You have to try it!
Super simple to make, and even more delicious!

Now excuse me while I take that very last bite!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Peach Streusel Pie

We went peach picking....

And ended up with 6 pounds of these beautiful fruits...

But that wasn't enough to make anything sweet, because we gobbled every single one.

So after heading back to the orchard, I collected 3 pounds of peaches to make a pie for my hubby. 
The peaches were so amazingly sweet, I didn't want a lot of extra ingredients to take away from the natural flavors. 
After much searching, I found this recipe for a Peach Streusel Pie.

I used Paula Deen's pie crust recipe  because I know it is no fail! 

Together, the two were just amazing.
Amazing I tell you! 

Here is the recipe!
You can click on the title for direct access to the website!

Peach Streusel Pie

1/4 cup walnuts, finely ground in a food processor
1/4 cup pecans, finely ground in a food processor
1 cup flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 pounds ripe peaches (about 8), peeled and sliced (see Notes)
About 1 tbsp. sugar
1 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca (see Notes)
1 disk (1/2 recipe) Best Basic Pie Crust Dough
1. Put an oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 350°. Stir together walnuts, pecans, flour, brown sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Add butter and stir with a fork until mixture forms small clumps (break apart any large clumps with your fingers). Set aside.
2. Gently mix peaches, sugar, and tapioca in a large bowl. Taste and add additional sugar if you like. Set aside.
3. Dust your counter and rolling pin with flour. With short strokes from center outward, roll dough into a 12-in. circle (about 1/8 in. thick), turning 90° after every 3 or 4 passes of the rolling pin to keep it from sticking. Transfer dough to a 9-in. deep-dish glass pie plate, letting it fall into place (if you push or stretch the dough, it will shrink back when baked). Trim overhang to 1/2 in., tuck edge under, and crimp edge. Pile peaches into crust, then top with streusel.
4. Put pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until topping and bottom crust are well browned, about 1 hour. Let cool to room temperature, at least 2 1/2 hours, before serving.


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