Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bedroom Changes

I updated my master bedroom a few months ago and until now, hadn't blogged it!

You'll remember the room looked like this with red, black and khaki. While I loved that color palette, green has really been speaking to me! So I bought this green quilt last fall and used my khaki and black quilt with it until winter came and we froze! Two quilts just wasn't enough for us so I searched out a thicker comforter to match! I found success one Sunday at TJ Maxx after church.

Just a few weeks ago, I finally made a decision on the curtains. I just bought a simple thick ivory. Pardon the collection of curtain in the window seat. My favorite seamstress hasn't been here to hem them for me. The weight of these new curtains was too much for my curtain rod (we had a valence previously) so we had to install a middle rod support and hung it upside down since it is nothing but blinds in them middle.

I added a little subway art on my side of the bed. Still looking for something on his little wall, to the left of the curtains above.

I have a small collage going on the wall near the dresser. I love the larger print- it was on post-Valentine clearance at Hobby Lobby. 

I also recently made a couple of changes in the guest bedroom, before here. I traded out my quilts. I had been using this one for a couple of years and wanted to use an authentic quilt made by my husband's grandmother. I have three of her quilts- lucky girl I am!

I also brought in my favorite red star chest from the foyer and a few pieces of milk glass. The green frame and pillow came from my office.

I love when I can refresh a room with simple and free changes!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Low Carb Zucchini Boats

My husband and I are trying to eat low-carb, so when I came across these zucchini boats I wanted to give them a try. Oh, people, these are good! You don't even realize you are missing something important like pasta! They are super filling and really an impressive dish for a crowd.

The boats are made from hollowed out zucchini. I used a small strawberry huller I have from Pampered Chef. A melon baller or grapefruit spoon would work really well too.

The hollowed zucchini is flash boiled and the pieces you removed and cooked with hamburger meat (or sausage), red peppers, onion, garlic and seasonings.

The boats are then topped with marinara and both mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Seriously, so tasty! I subbed ground hamburger for Italian sausage and I used their homemade marina recipe, but you could easily use store bought. I added some crushed red pepper and made them spicy.

I would highly recommend these zucchini boats. Find the recipe here.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

100 Calorie Pie

We had dinner recently with some friends. Since we were all eating low carb, she brought a wonderfully light dessert that we all loved- 100 calorie pie!

This can be made in any variation of flavors- just match the jello and yogurt. We also made this without a pie crust and used it as a fruit dip- equally good!

100 Calorie Pie

1 reduced fat pie crust
1 container fat free Cool Whip
1 box sugar free jello (same flavor as yogurt)
2 8 oz. containers yogurt, greek works great (same flavor as jello)

Mix all ingredients and pour into pie crust. Refrigerate until set, about 8 hours (longer than I did!)


* This pie was strawberry, but key lime that we first had was even better.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Today, I will be...

I just love this little saying. 

It reminds me happiness can come from simple things like a clean kitchen, playing hide and go seek with Abby Lu, the feeling of fresh sheets, cupcakes, running in the sprinklers, or reading a good book.

Feel free to print this picture out and place it in your bulletin board or you can buy a framed version here

Monday, August 20, 2012

My Biggest Domestic Fear...

I have wanted to try canning for over a year. My Dad and stepmom always have homemade pickles, salsas, and jams and jellies and they taste wonderful. My husband loves homemade bread and butter pickles, but hasn't found a favorite store bought version. I love fresh jelly on a hot biscuit. It made sense for me to do it, but it scared me. What if I went to all that work and it didn't set? or taste good? or it molded? What if in the end, I wasted a whole day when Smuckers tastes fine?

I bought this magazine at the grocery store last fall and read it over a few times. It sounded easy enough. So, last winter I invested a little more and bought a canning set from Ball, also at the grocery store. Along with the big pot, it had all the little tools I would need. I put off the project until Spring with the excuse "that is when the fruit is better and costs less". I realized it is now August and my window for jelly was just about up!

Strawberries were very inexpensive at the grocery store last week, so I made myself do it. I bought 6 pounds and with a little prayer, started to make my own jelly. There are lots of recipes online- I just started with the basic. Along with strawberries, I used sugar, pectin and a little butter.

My recipe called for the Sure Jell on the right; however, the green bottle on the left is a fast pectin and you can make jelly in under an hour and the recipes for various fruits are inside the bottle's label. I will try peach with their method next!

Here are my pureed strawberries and the cooking process.

 I'll be honest, the jelly cooking was super simple. Boil it all up for one minute and pour into jars. Let it set for 24 hours and enjoy. The work comes from the jar sterilization and sealing process. 

The jars must boil for 10 minutes to sterilize and then remain hot until the jelly is poured into them. Then, you must boil the full jelly jars  to seal them. It took forever to get my big Ball pot hot and boiling! 

I made 4 points of jelly and will give it a try tonight. It is cooled and ready to eat and I couldn't be more excited! I searched online and found cute labels here. I hope to try a few different recipes before the winter so that I can share my favorites at the holidays. 

So, now that I have conquered my fear, tell me, what is your biggest domestic fear?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Macbeth Collection Shelf Paper

 I was at the grocery store recently and while shopping for dryer sheets found the cutest shelf paper, called The Macbeth Collection. Initially, the zebra print caught my eye. Then, I saw this beautiful light aqua color and bought 2 rolls not exactly sure how I would use it. It was worth the $3.97 to find a project for it!

I unloaded my groceries and dropped the paper into my craft room and it hit me- this would be cute on my black furniture! I initially thought I would place it behind the shelves, but they are so full. So, I went with the top and the inlay on my black pieces.

I love the impact it made on my black and boring printer stand!

It also makes my room look so cheery from the door!

 I added the paper to the top after the picture above was taken. I still had a full roll left and decided it would make the top even more fun! 

I am really debating placing it on top of my desk. I love it so much!

Don't be afraid to search for cute shelf paper and update your furniture. Remember, it you don't like it, it can be removed super quick and easy. My best advice for keeping the bubbles out.... start on one end and unroll a little bit at a time using your fore arm to smooth it out as you go.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My First Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Project

If you follow me on Facebook, you have seen my recent excitement over Annie Sloan Chalk Paint coming to a new little store in my area. I have seen this paint all over craft blogs and Pinterest and until recently, it couldn't be bought anywhere near me! I recently decided I wanted to paint my kitchen island red and googled her paints and found The Weathered Cottage, just a few miles from me.

I bought Emperor's Silk (red), dark wax, and two paint brushes the next day. Before tackling my island, I decided to paint a small table I wasn't using. SOLD! It was given to me by my Mother-in-Law years ago. It was originally dark 70's wood with a pattern etched on the top in gold. 

I am in love with this paint and the treatment it gives! Walk with me through this amazing paint (my personal opinion, no freebies or consideration has been given to me from this company)...

My table was painted with a crackle finish almost 10 years ago and since that fad has passed, I gave it another coat of paint- Annie Sloan Emperor's Silk.

The joy of this paint- there is no stripping or sanding. You just start painting. I hate prep work on a project, so I was excited to have color on the table in 2 minutes. To fully cover the crackle, it took 3 coats. You can see the coverage increase with each coat.

With this paint, you seal it with a wax. It comes in clear and dark plus you can mix it with a little paint to give a color wash effect. I wanted the piece to look old and aged, so I used dark wax. It is hard to see since it is so black, but I barely used any wax. It smells like motor oil :)

In this picture, you can see the base of the table has the dark wax and the table top is just the three coats of paint. If you liked the solid red, you would just use a clear wax to seal it and be done!

This table top can be unhinged to serve as a more decorative piece as it is here. I ordered a 12" letter J vinyl decal to place on here when it is in this position.

What do you think? Love it! To learn more about the paint click here or here for all the cool colors! I plan to buy a turquoise blue next and paint my office desk. 

 Up next, my kitchen island! I can't wait to have this old pop of red inside my kitchen!

I linked up my new table with Rhoda here!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Nothing but...

I love watching Oprah's Next Chapter on Sunday nights. A few weeks ago, I caught her interview with Carrie Underwood and her husband in their little getaway weekend home in Tennessee. The home was amazing and Carrie had a sign in her kitchen that said, "nothing but the blood of Jesus".

It caught my eye and has been on my mind for weeks. I don't think I ever truly stopped to think about what the words from this old hymn mean until recently. Nothing but the blood of Jesus will get you into heaven. It isn't going to church, knowing the books of the Bible, being without sin, or any other rules we place on each other. Jesus gave His blood for our sins, we just have to believe in Him.

Knowing how much pressure and how many rules I place on myself makes this so freeing. So, I made myself a little printable for my home to remind me.

Feel free to print and enjoy yourself.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday's Foot Fetish: Tiny TOMS

 My daughter goes to preschool and that means closed toe shoes. I don't love tennis shoes on little kids. I also love dresses on my daughter and most closed toes shoes look awful with dresses, but TOMS have been the answer for us! Abby Lu had three pair she wore for most of last winter and Spring. We have spent the summer in flip flops, but I'm excited about the new tiny TOMS recently released.

I love the new colored soles! So cute and more feminine than the classic beige or black soles. 

 These are my new favorites! I love the new mary janes. I actually ordered these and a solid black. I love that they look a little nicer, but are like comfy tennis shoes for Abby.

I also love that Abby and I have now bought 5 pairs of shoes for kids in need through their one for one program. It opens up a great conversation about how blessed she is and how we can help others.

Yea for TOMS!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Super Easy Bleach Project

One day a few weeks back, my daughter and I had a playdate at the pool cancel and we were left with a free morning. So, I looked around on Pinterest for a simple project she could help me with that didn't involve going to the store. We decide to play with letters, bleach, and a spray bottle.

Look at her little tank top, she is proud to have made and wanted to wear immediately!

Using your printer, cut out a shape or letters and tape them down to a clean dark colored piece of clothing. Next, spray the clothing with bleach in a spray bottle and let dry. Remove the letters, wash the clothing solo, and you have something fun and new!

My husband loved her tank so much, we played with his favorite pair of lounging shorts and added the symbol for the horde. He plays World of Warcraft and this is his group within the game. The picture below is while the bleach was working and the paper is still taped down.

A couple of things I learned and will do differently next time:
  • Make sure your bleach is NOT color safe :)
  • Use cardstock instead of regular copy paper. The thicker paper won't get as wet and allow the bleach  spots to seep through like they did on Abby Lu's tank.
  • I used an old hair product spray bottle, but I think a real spray bottle would have given a more uniform spraying and thus a better overall look.
  • I have an old plastic tablecloth that has become the crafting drop cloth. I highly recommend it. We use it for painting, too.
Enjoy spraying your bleach!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Squash and Paulina's School Wrap Up

The farmer's market was the perfect place to start Paulina's Cooking School. Everything looks so fresh, colorful and inviting at the market. Check out these beautiful purple, red, and green bell peppers. I had no idea they made purple bell peppers!

The red tomato above on the left is an heirloom tomato. Apparently, all tomatoes used to have this unique shape, but consumers preferred a more uniform shape and we no longer have heirloom tomatoes in mass. On the right above is a pattypan squash. It had such great color and shape as well!

Using our squash and some zucchini, we chopped them into bite size pieces and placed them in a skillet with a little butter and oil. You want a single layer of veggies in the skillet so that they cook evenly on medium-high heat. Add a little sea salt and stir until they have an even golden brown color. Yum!

Everything I learned at cooking school is posted. I hope you all learned a new way to cook veggies this summer. We plan to do cooking school again in the fall and are already talking about sweet potatoes, butternut squash soup, brussel sprouts and hearts of palm. 

Any vegetables you want me to add to cooking school 2.0?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Grilled Fruit a la Paulina

When Paulina and I were at the Farmer's market the morning of cooking school, we bought the most delicious white peaches from a vendor. I told Paulina that I had a friend that would grill peaches for dessert and that I'd love to know how. So, our cooking school dessert was planned.

I had no idea how easy it was. Cut your peaches in half to remove the pits. Brush a little high heat oil on each side. Grill for 3-4 minutes with the cut side down. Turn over, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and cook on an indirect heat source (like the top shelf on the grill) for about 10 minutes. 

We at ours warm with a dollop of greek yogurt and honey on top. Seriously, so stinkin' good!

While outside grilling, Paulina showed me her neighbor's fig tree. I'll admit I have never had a fresh fig. I have had my share of fig newtons, but that is as close to figs as I ever get. So, we ventured under the tree for a little lesson. The fig on the left is an almost ripe fig. Texas figs aren't dark purple like most, but rather a green to purple shade. This tree has hundreds of them! 

Fresh figs from her tree where yummy (like the one pictured at the top). We also tried grilling them. TO grill fresh figs, just place them on your hot grill for a few minutes. When they darken and shrivel, they are ready. These blistered a little which is a sign we were talking too much :).

I love finding a unique way to serve dessert with dinner and in the summer, love that it doesn't involve the oven!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August Desktop and Welcome!

Your August desktop is here! I know I say this every month, but I really like this month's colors! I wish my job had more design work to it... I guess that is why I have blog ADD and change my design up all the time!

This month I gained a handful of new followers and you all put me over 200. How exciting! I sat at 199 forever and then jumped to 205. Isn't that how it works!

Welcome new chickadees! Make yourself at home. On the first of each month I blog a desktop calendar. Feel free to right click and grab the picture and then save it as your desktop background. Enjoy it all month and come back on September 1st for a new one! If you have a blog, leave me a comment and I'd love to follow you back.