Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fun New Stuff!

My husband and I cashed in some credit card points to get a new couch and dining room table for free! We needed a new couch- ours was getting saggy and we wanted something smaller in our living room.

We searched around quite a bit and ended up selecting a couch from IKEA. (see our old couches here)

I didn't really want gray since I use so much khaki and brown in the house, but the khaki colors were just too light. I knew I would be a nervous wreck with Abby on the couch or it would look dirty quick. 

Once I added some blue and red into the couch with my throw pillows and blankets, I think the gray is a good neutral. It is a little tweed like in texture which I am finding grabs fuzz easily! Can you spot the fuzz below? ha!

My sugar pillow above is new- thank you Etsy! The rest of them I had on the denim couch previously. I like the pop of the red ottoman with the gray also. I'll always have red in my home- I love it!

We are also loving how low profile the new couch is- it really opens up the room and we can see the TV easier from the new dining room table! :)

Our dining room table was only a couple of years old, but it was a soft wood and was showing wear quickly. It had rings on the top, fork marks from an aggressive toddler and no matter what we tried, the legs on the chairs would come lose. Scary!

I've always wanted a round kitchen table and love the black with the black of my kitchen knobs. The pedestal table is the right size and the country chairs are just my style! We ended up buying the table and chairs from Amazon and scored free shipping which was huge!

Along with buying a new car in April which really ended up costing us less per month, we've been busy shopping AND saving!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Goodbye Picnik, Hello iPiccy

I started using Picnik, online photo editing software over a year ago and I'm sad to see them close down today. They were so easy to use and very popular, I have no idea why they are leaving. Something about a merger with Google Plus. They have handled the closing really well- refunded any upgrades paid out, given lots of notice so that people can snag pictures saved in their online library, and even offered alternatives. 

One such alternative they linked to in an email with iPiccy, which I believe was started by former Picnik employees. I tried it out and love it! It has all the features of Picnik I loved plus more!

Here is my first iPiccy edit.... Abby in the bluebonnets. If only I could edit her a smile! The picture had so much more potential with the bright blue of the flowers.

Here is my edited version. I popped the colors more, did a cross process, and added highlights and shadows. All of it is super simple- just press buttons and if you like the change, hit apply or hit cancel and move onto the next edit.

Goodbye Picnik and Hello iPiccy! Thank goodness I have a replacement option!

Scroll down to enter the Me and Lulu giveaway! Winner will be drawn on May 1st.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dutch Oven Jalapeno Cheese Bread

Don't forget to enter the Me and Lulu giveaway below! Winner will be drawn on May 1st.

We had dinner with a friend earlier this year and she made wonderful homemade bread with the meal. I snagged her recipe and it led me to my first load of homemade bread. It was wonderful and when I posted a picture of the dough rising, everyone was hungry!

I love cheese and this little girl did a great job of helping me put all the cubed cheese into a bowl. 

 Well, almost all of it. We needed a little snack after all that work :)

With all of the ingredients in the bowl, it looked like this.

Two hours later, it rose and started to look wet and sticky. 

This recipe makes 3 loaves and this is 1/3 or one loaf of bread dough ready to rise.

You can see the dough rising and doubling in size over a three hour period. It was fun for Abby Lu to watch it grow as we checked on it hourly.

The final product- delicious! Make your own!

 Homemade Jalapeno Cheese Bread

3 cups warm water
1 1/2 T yeast
1 1/2 T sugar
1 1/2 T salt
6 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup jarred sliced jalapenos, drained
1 1/2 cup cubed cheddar cheese, about .5"

Mix all ingredients together and stir only until the flour is integrated, about 1 minute. Don't knead- the dough is supposed to look wet and sticky.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter for 2 hours.

Lay the dough on a floured cutting board and cut into 3 pieces. Place 2/3 back in the bowl. It can be stored in the refridgerator for up to 7 days.

Take the individual loaf (1/3 of the total dough) and fold in half, then into thirds. Let it "rest" for 10 minutes.

Flour the outside of the dough and place it in a tea towel and cover it. It should sit in the towel until it doubles in size, about 3 hours for mine.

Preheat the oven to 450 with an empty dutch oven inside. Place the dough in the oven and put the lid on top. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before slicing to serve. Enjoy!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Me and Lulu Giveaway!

I think it is time for Me and Lulu to host a giveaway! Don't you?

It is so easy to get lost in the big world of etsy that I need your help spreading the word! For your marketing assistance, one person will win any one item of their choice from our store, like these cute fabric wrapped bracelets. I just added 7 new sets to the store!

To win a free item of your choice, share my store! You get one entry for any of the following:

Blog about Me and Lulu including a link to the store
Link to Me and Lulu on Facebook
Link to Me and Lulu on Twitter
Pin a picture from this post on Pinterest

You can enter up to 4 times if you do all of these! Just leave me a comment with how you marketed, your email address, and what item you want to win! Leave 4 comments for all 4 things!

I'll leave the contest open until May 1st. Thanks for sharing Me and Lulu!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Salty Chocolate Chip Cookies

While in LA on vacation a few weeks ago, my friend Katy and I had lunch at a place called Misfits in Santa Monica. It was an older office building with a really cool vibe. After lunch, they brought over chocolate chip cookies with our bill. Both Katy and I wanted more- they were so good!

Here is the thing- they were simple chocolate chip cookies with a special salt on top. It seemed to be a shaved sea salt. It was amazingly delicious!

I made my own version last night and they are almost as good! I bought plain generic chocolate chip cookie dough and then dipped the top of each cookie in fine sea salt. The great thing is that these are inexpensive and quick and people will think you made them homemade!

Yummy twist on a chocolate chip cookie!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Shocked I Never Blogged this Recipe

I was in 4-H growing up.... like really in 4-H. I had rabbits, sheep and goats. I did crafts, cooking, sewing, public speaking and more. I was involved in my chapter and my county. I was even the 1990 Hays Country Stock Show Queen. While the animal part didn't stay with me, this recipe sure did! 

I won a blue ribbon for my Tater Tot Casserole while in junior high. It is the first recipe I memorized and one of the first things I made for my husband when we were dating. I am shocked it wasn't one of the first I blogged about, too!

It is super easy, inexpensive, and kid-friendly! My daughter likes to stack the tatertots on top.

The finished product with melted cheese is picture perfect. This freezes well and makes a great dinner to take to new Moms. Enjoy!

Tater Tot Casserole
1# ground beef
1 can Veg-All (or another veggie you like)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
frozen tater tots
grated cheddar cheese

Brown hamburger meat and drain. Stir in veggies and cream of mushroom soup. Evenly place in casserole dish- smaller than a 13x9. Line the top with a single layer of tater tots. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Add cheddar on top and cook another 5 minutes. Enjoy!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday's Foot Fetish: Luggage Brown

My husband and I both bought shoes out of the ordinary for us recently!

I am a flats girl and rarely wear heels, but I loved the color and pattern of these wedges. They make me tall! Like it suddenly felt like the light switch had been lowered! They have a 4" heel, but they are comfy and cute with jeans.

My husband also bought a new pair of loafers for work- the same color! His cool new shoes are from Stacy Adams. She has a lot of neat and trendy designs.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Famous Ivy Restaurant

My husband and I spent last week in LA visiting friends that moved there about 6 months ago. It was the perfect vacation- we were part tourist and part locals. They knew where to eat, how to get there, and when we wanted to stay in and watch basketball, they knew the best takeout from the big comfy couch. We saw the city, but also relaxed!

I wanted to have dinner at The Ivy. I'll admit I read TMZ and I know lots of famous people frequent there. We struck out on famous people, minus some Dutch pop singer. I did snag a picture with the paparazzi the Dutch singer had hired to photograph her. I never knew it happened like that!

The food was just okay- I drank an Ivy Gimlet and then had the lasagna. But, the decor was magnificent! I had no idea the place had a rustic English garden feel. 

I am a sucker for anything red gingham and loved the big bold Buffalo check on the pillows. Along with the blue plates on the walls, they had bright colored flowers on the tables, at the entrance, on the mantle.... you name it!

It is hard to imagine an old worn out picket fence inside a $40/plate restaurant. I found it refreshing- it wasn't pretentious at all. Well, minus that fact that you had to order "flat water" to get normal water. The assumption is that you want Perrier or carbonation in your water.

If you ever go to LA, totally check out The Ivy on Robertson. It is beautiful inside!

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Happy Easter!

Abby and I made Resurrection Rolls on Saturday morning to bring home- He is Risen! She totally grasped the concept and even told her Daddy all about it when he awoke; however, when it was time to eat and she opened up the "tomb", in all seriousness she said, "but I wanted marshmallows". I love the mind of a child!

He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay- Matthew 28:6

Friday, April 6, 2012

Fabric Wrapped Bracelets

I listed something new in my Etsy store and I love them!

I have been waiting on my supplies to come in and they finally arrived on the perfect day when my daughter and I had nothing on the schedule. I crafted all day long and love the finished product!

These bracelets are soft, colorful, fun, and something a little different! I love the color options from using designer fabrics including my favorites like Amy Butler, Alexander Henry, and Michael Miller. I have always loved their designs, but not being able to sew really limited how much fabric I needed.

These bracelets come in a set of 3 and include a Tibetan silver charm on one of the bracelets. Plus, I am happy to do a custom order to match your favorite outfit or kid's school colors!

Get this- they are just $12 for the set and 10% off as a blog reader. The coupon code is LITTLEBIRDIE.

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Easter Carrots for the Little Ones

Abby Lu and I made a fun kid-friendly craft this morning for her classmates at MDO tomorrow. They are celebrating Easter and I am always looking for non-candy treats to share with her little friends. I originally saw this idea on Pinterest.

You need a big carton of Goldfish, clear cone shaped bags (Hobby Lobby cake section), rubber bands, and green ribbon. Make sure you get the orange cheddar Goldfish.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Desktop

Enjoy your April desktop and have a egg-stra wonderful month!