Friday, February 22, 2013

My Mini Workspace

It has been a struggle to get a routine going in regards to my blogging. And I am all about the schedule! My kids nap like clockwork. We eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at roughly the same time every day. It's odd for a Friday to pass without our family pizza and ice cream date night.... But I have been really having a hard time with the blogging schedule. For now, the kids are home with me 100% of the time which leaves zero very little time to work on projects, write up posts, and edit pictures.  I use the kids afternoon naptime to work on projects. On a good day, I get 2 hours when both kids are asleep at the same time. Most days it is only an hour. This leaves the evenings once the kids go to bed for photo editing and writing posts. The kids are in bed well before 8 most nights but I hate to burn the precious few hours with the hubby that I have with me on the computer up in the upstairs craft room.

Thanks to several great inspirational spaces (especially Carmel's here), I came up with a great solution!
I will be adding a desk to our Master bedroom! I know that the experts say to keep the bedroom for sleeping but we already have a TV in there so why not go all out and add a computer? All kidding aside, even the hubby thought it was a crazy idea.... but I thought it was a worth a shot and the way it was set up in the craft room/my office just wasn't working!

Stay tuned to see how it worked!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mastering the New House

Have I mentioned that I have major ADD??? Well, I do! And if you haven't noticed, I tend to skip from project to project without every really finishing a room. Right now, I am working on the Dining Room and Kids Playroom (and I guess my craft room too!)  In reality, I am a standstill on the other rooms until I find some additional pieces that really speak to me. So why not throw something else in the mix while I am waiting?

I LOVED the way our master came together at our old house! It all just worked. The gray walls, clean white duvet, the pop of citrine yellow and gray, the bamboo shades, comfy leather chair, and bench at the end of the bed... It fit very well with the shape of the room too.

Somehow, it just didn't translate at the new house. The windows flanking the bed are what really blew it for me. It just wasn't working for me. And it felt right to move the Dwell Citrine pillows and yellow accents up to the playroom. But that left us needing something new to fill it's place.

And here is where I am going... more details to come and source info as well!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Marinated Flank Steak & Scalloped Potatoes

We had a pretty quiet Valentine's Day this year (with no grandparents to watch the kiddos while we have a night out). So we decided to have a nice dinner at home once the kids went to sleep. It was a great night with yummy food and even yummier dessert! The hubby surprised me with Twist cupcakes and I surprised him with chocolate covered strawberries. I would say that was a major win-win!

I prepared a favorite meal that we haven't had in quite a while. It's a great meal for dinner parties because 98% of it is prepared in advance. Oh yeah... and it's amazing! So here is the scoop for our Marinated Flank Steak and Scalloped Potatoes.

Marinated Flank Steak Ingredients:
2 TBSP Garlic Powder
1 TSP Paprika
1 TSP Cumin
1 TSP Oregano
1 TBSP Montreal Steak Seasoning
2 splashes Hot Sauce
2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
2 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar
1 TBSP Soy Sauce
1/2 cup Olive Oil
2LB Flank or Skirt Steak

Mix all ingredients into a large plastic bag.
Place Flank Steak into bag.
Shake well to coat.
Allow to marinate at least 30 minutes, shaking occasionally to re-coat.
Heat grill pan or grill to high heat.
Grill steak about 5-7 minutes per side.
Remove steak from grill and place on a plate. Allow to sit a few minutes prior to cutting.

Waiting to get on the grill! 

Scalloped Potatoes Ingredients:
2 cans Sliced White Potatoes, drained
4 TBSP Butter
3 TBSP Flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/8 TSP Cayenne Pepper
1 TSP Paprika
1 1/2 cups Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and blend in flour once melted.
Add the milk and stir with a whisk. Add seasonings and whisk till blended.
Cook sauce on low until smooth stirring as it cooks.
Remove pan from heat and add 1 cup of cheese.
Pour potatoes into lightly greased casserole dish ( you want mostly one layer of potatoes)
Pour cheese sauce over potatoes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake uncovered for one hour.

Potatoes smothered and covered and heading into the oven!

Potatoes are cooked and it's almost time to eat! 

And here is the finished product.... It's not a "pretty" shot because it was not on our plates for very long! Seriously, my man is a real meat and potato guy and I was not about to get in the way of his dinner. But if you are looking for a no fail impress meal this is it! We have also used this marinade on other cuts of cheaper meat. It knocks those out of the park too since the vinegar acts a tenderizer and the flavor combo is out of this world!

Paint It: Popsicle Mirror

Lately as I have been trying to mix up my fashion after getting Pinspired @ Pinterest Told Me To (I am still loving the red skinnes, green jeans, and coral + army green). I noticed that I was lacking a full length mirror near my closet. And it's kind of hard to put together a great outfit without one! Sure, I have the bathroom mirror but it is really hard to get the full view in those. Since I am a hoarder all that I needed to do was look around the house and something was sure to pop up that would work. Look what I found:

It was a nice mirror. But it wasn't anything fun to look at.  I knew that with a little bit of help thanks to some paint and some popsicle sticks that she could be something really special!

The whole project was crazy easy! I taped up the mirror and gave it a quick coat of super cheap black spray paint. While that was drying, I spray painted the popsicle sticks using metallic spray paint. I used a base coat of gold and then a quick coat of silver to get a nice multi faceted look. Let everything dry overnight. Then lay the popsicle sticks out on the mirror in the pattern you want. I opted for running bond but a herringbone would be awesome! Cut the popsicle sticks as needed to make everything fit. Use the glue of your choice. I chose my go to... the hot glue gun of course! I found that it works best to start on the outside of the mirror when gluing, then the row closest to the mirror and then the middle row. It keeps your lines straighter that way. And voila! I brand new mirror for the cost of popsicle sticks and spray paint! I have the perfect place for the mirror too once I can bride the hubby to hang her!

I am linking up at the Dog Days of Winter Paint It Challenge!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Coral and Army Green

It's finally Friday and I feel like the week has flown by! I am so looking forward to the weekend and then begins our whirlwind travel month... We have 4 trips planned in a 3 week period in March! We are heading back to our hometown for a few days, then off to Disney for Little Man's 3rd birthday, then out west to Utah, back to our hometown and finally back home! That's a lot of travel with the kiddos so please keep us (and the other airline passengers) in your prayers :)

So back to more pressing matters, I had a new outfit to showcase today. It is totally out of my comfort zone to be mixing these bright colors but I am loving it! Apologies in advance to anyone that saw me this week... I might have worn this shirt a little too much :)

There was lots of inspiration not only from outfits but also from some amazing rooms...

And here is my recreation of the coral and army green military jacket outfit! I opted for the coral shirt, military jacket, skinnies, and animal print flats. But I have already started thinking of other ways to mix this look up!

PS. Apologies for the quiet DIY projects lately. I have a great one all ready for Monday and here is a hint. You are seeing parts of it in the Friday Fashions posts!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Heart Day!

I hope that y'all are having a wonderful Valentine's Day! I took some time earlier in the week to dress the kids up and try and get some photos of them to send off to the family. Let's just say that it was not one of my more successful shoots! I struggled to get both kids smiling and was really sad that I might not be able to send any pictures out (especially since we are now so far away!)

And then something magical happened.... I remembered a wonderful little tutorial that my friend Erin had posted last week! I have been dying to try PicMonkey and thanks to Erin's help, I gave it a shot!
A Valentine's Collage for the fam! Check out those kiss and mustache overlays! 
It totally makes what was otherwise a lost picture, totally become a hysterical candid shot!

There are so many free features! Check out the Focal B&W option! 

Yes, I am obsessed! You might have noticed several of the PicMonkey overlays, banners, and text in my newest post pictures. If you haven't tried PicMonkey yet, check out Erin's tutorial and give it a shot. Just one word of warning, make sure you have a few free hours! Not because it's challenging, but because it is so much fun!

Wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Our Family Room!

The very first time I walked into the model home that we ultimately bought in another neighborhood, I was head over heels in love with the family room. Distressed wood floors, built ins, open to the kitchen, a butler's pantry, a wall of windows, soaring 2 story ceilings.... did I mention a FIREPLACE???? I was sold without seeing anything else! I have some minor changes in store but this room is 90% finished!

It's a huge room and we totally lucked out that our existing furniture totally worked in the space with a little tweaking! The sectional was originally a U shape, but we were able to pull out the corner piece to better fit the space allow us to use our coffee table! Lesson learned to measure the coffee table you plan to use prior to buying a couch.

I love that the corner piece makes a perfect little conversation or 
reading spot with my Ballard upholstered ottoman as a side table.
Oh yeah, and those built ins..... swoon!!!!

We opted to install Bamboo Shades to filter out the light but still keep the room bright.
It also allows us to still get a good shot of the backyard if Little Man is playing! 

The view from the breakfast nook. Love that I can see the the action while in the kitchen!

I adore the Butler's Pantry that connects the Family Room/ Kitchen to the Dining Room!
And right beyond is a half bath which is ideal right off this living space.

I am not a fan of kid's toys all over the house.... this buffet perfectly holds puzzles, 
toys, blocks, and even all of our diaper changing supplies!
The baskets allow for easy access and pick up.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Honey, I love this Honeycomb Light!

As you may recall, I found this amazing little chandelier a few weeks ago. I waffled back and forth on where it should go and ultimately decided that the dining room it was. I waited till a quiet Saturday, then bribed the hubs with a pizza lunch and he was happy to oblige! Because I bought the store model, there were no directions, screws, or even a box. Thankfully, I have a very resourceful husband with Siri on his iPhone and it all worked out okay!

So what do you think? I adore the crazy shadows that it casts when the light is turned on! 

Now that the light is in place, I am wondering about the mirror. I am all over the place on this room. So much I want to do and not sure where to go next! Maybe a rug?

I fell in love with the Ballard Braided Jute rug and after seeing that it was marked down crazy cheap (ummm... $210 for the 8x10 and $240 for the 9x12), I was thinking that might be the next step. Or would that rug be better suited in our family room? Tune in tomorrow when you finally get to see room 1 on the house tour! The family room!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Almost Healthy Sugar Cookies

Being that it's Valentine's week, I could not resist another yummy Vday treat post. And it is a seasonal favorite around our house... meaning that we make these for every season! Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter.... no joke Little Man adores these cookies! The best news? In the grand scheme of cookies, these are not horrible for you (but the taste will never give you away!)

1 1/4 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1 cup sugar
1 TBSP Flax seeds
3 TBSP warm water
2 TSP Vanilla
4 cups flour
1 TSP Baking Powder

2 cups powdered sugar
1 TBSP Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1 TBSP Soy or Almond Milk
1/2 TSP Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F
Mix flax seed and water together to make flax egg.  Let sit 3-5 minutes.
Cream together butter and sugar using electric mixer. Mix in flax egg and vanilla.
Add in flour and baking powder a cup at a time. 
You will need to hand hand mix the last cup!
When fully mixed, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Once chilled, roll the dough onto floured surface and cut out shapes. 
Bake on lightly greased cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes. (cookies expand so leave some space!)
Allow to cool completely prior to frosting.

Mix together powdered sugar and Earth Balance spread. 
Add in vanilla, then milk.
Stir until there are no lumps. 
For best results, use gel food coloring!
Paint your cookies and garnish with chocolate chips, sprinkles, red hots..... whatever works!

And since no real eggs are used in this recipe - the kids (and ME!) love to taste the dough!

Now, gather your ingredients and start baking!

Little Man decorating Mickey Mouse cookies

His skills have improved with lots of practice painting cookies!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Green Jeans.... Fifth times a charm!

Here it is Friday already and I had such a great time working on my fashion last week that I decided to make an effort to think out of the box at least one day a week in regards to getting dressed. It's no shock that I LOVE clothes! But lately, the hustle and bustle of life has left me dreading getting dressed. My closet is a wreck, I can't find anything to wear, it's a vicious cycle.

Since it worked so well last week, I turned to the internets for some help. I am starting to think that my problem was too many choices.... so I narrowed it down to one clothing item I wanted to wear and simply did a Google search. This week's choice was the green skinny jeans. I pulled them out of the mess that I call a closet and got too searching. Open up google, type in green skinny jeans outfit and I was off!

I was on the search for a more casual outfit this week and two options jumped out at me instantly.

I started with the black option... I felt certain that I would love this. Black is slimming right? And it's a staple in my wardrobe. Plus, it's safe! 

Green skinny jeans, black shirt, ivory jacket, animal print flats, & necklace.... it should be love but it's just not! I think that I needed to follow the inspiration and go with black heels and a less structured jacket. Then it might have been love!

I was on to the second look but I did not have the khaki shirt so I decided to try a gray shirt. I was shocked that I preferred it to the black. Still not a wow but much better!

I had to throw this in for my sis... I always do a little head tilt when analyzing outfits!

Duh... I was missing the scarf from the inspiration shot. So much better! 
But now need to switch out the shoes.

Yellow flats. Much better than the animal print with the scarf!

I should have just followed the inspiration from the start! I am shocked at how much thinner the ivory top makes me look. Would have never guessed it! 

We have a winner and I hope you enjoyed seeing a visual demonstration of why my closet floor is covered in clothes! (that was especially for the hubs!)

Linking up at Get Pin-Spired!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tape Measure Black Out Drapery Panels

We got very lucky that most of our window treatments could be reused at our new house. Obviously, most of our windows have blinds on them too so the rest is mainly for decoration.... except in Little Man's room. On a daily basis, he fluctuates between wanting the room bright (as in all the lights on) to wanting it very, super dark. As you can imagine, blinds don't really cater to the latter request during nap times. We bought navy black out panels from Pottery Barn Kids for his old room that I would have loved to use except they were too short and not wide enough to cover his window! So while we figured out what in the world to do, this is what his window looked like....

The navy black out panels with a dark colored king size flat sheet hanging behind it. 
Yeah, its not pretty but it got the job done!

I knew that we really needed to get black out panels but they are crazy expensive! I thought about making them myself and even went to the fabric store to pick out the material. Unfortunately, I took the kids with me and Little Man wanted to no part of the fabric selections I was making. While I was out on a Saturday (kid-free) I popped into our local Hancock Fabric and started searching.... nothing seemed quite right and I was wavering on the color. Little Man's room was lots of colors going on: navy beds, gray quilts, red pillows, white/chocolate star sheets or multi colored PB construction sheets.... so I wanted something to work with all of these and I was having no luck making a decision. As I was walking out of the store, I saw some sale draperies. They happened to have the right length (96 inch) and the right price ($13 per panel) so I started digging. I came up with 2 chocolate silk looking panels that are fully lined in a heavy white fabric. Not quite black out but with the dark brown on the reverse it looked like it would work.

I came home and wasn't thrilled. The material was just to stuffy old dressy for a kid's room. But after taking the panels out and putting them up, it occurred to me that I could easily use the reverse side. These were excellent quality panels and it really did look like they were made to be white drapes with chocolate trim. And it gets even better, I was using my old yellow plastic tape measure to check their length when I realized that this would make a simply adorable trim for these curtains!

And of course, Etsy came to my rescue! I found this adorable Measuring Tape Trim and couldn't order it fast enough! For real, is this cute or what?

Measuring Tape Trim

I grabbed the hot glue gun and got to work!

I love it and I love that it took me about 5 minutes total!

Here is what they look like hanging! So much better than the before!

Are you dying to see the rest of the room? Well, I am working on a house tour where you can see the full room shots and hope to get started on that next week.

Linking up @ Serenity Now!