Thursday, September 11, 2014

Take a Left or a Right?

Hello.  Remember me?  I am still here doing my thing, using my jig saw, and traveling with my family.  I thought I should give you a little message to let you know why I have not posted.  Nothing dramatic, no health issues (knock on wood), and everyone is happy and living life.  I am just struggling a bit with my next step on here. 

I started this blog to be my creative outlet, share my DIY style, and give little snippets of my crazy family life.  But as my son gets older and the Internet can get scarier, I wonder how much of my life do I really want to share?  If I just focus on DIY my house is coming to the end of the fix-up life.  I have mentioned before this is not our forever home so we really do not plan to put a lot more money into it.  It is looking good and in a spot that we just hope to maintain and maybe tweak with a new pillow or candle here or there but nothing really earth-shattering that you might want to tune in to read during your valuable time.

I could become a blog that has fillers of images from magazines, Pinterest, and Instagram but then don't we really have enough of those around?  You all have virtual shopping and images at your fingers with a click of an App on your phone so you don't need little ole me to tell you what is cool or the newest DIY craze.

So here I come full circle back to the start of pondering my next step.  I do not plan to shut down my blog right now.  I have enjoyed my time with you sharing my life and adventures, and honestly I have needed to refer back to my blog on projects I have done or paint colors I have used.  But I cannot say that down the line I might not end the blog or even make things like Instagram private just for my immediate family and friends. I do appreciate all of you, my readers, very much.  You encouraged me though the good and bad and for that I am very thankful.

So I sit at a crossroads and so I sit pondering the left or right turn...

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A True Family Room

Can y'all believe tomorrow is Friday?  Can y'all believe I am actually putting dates in my calendar for the first day of school, parent-teacher conferences, and open houses?  Basically this summer is flying.  My front room, however, has not flown into anything pretty quickly.  But finally the front is just the way I want it with a little bit of comfort, a little bit of family, a little bit of art space, and a whole lot of no brown town.

I promised a few shots of the front room here and finally I deliver.  First I start with the art and game table. It is our spot to play board games and for art time with my son (favorite has become Monopoly Jr).  As he gets older we anticipate homework being done here as well.  I swoon over the metal chairs.  LOVE them.

The table expands to an oval for extra table space at the holidays however we probably do not need the space.  Let me show you why...  Check out some storage cabinets, art display, and a counter top to boot. Boom.

That is a full sized counter top (from IKEA) that can be used as a buffet at parties but also for a wipe-able area for art projects my son regularly likes to do.  I love that I can display his pictures in a fancy-pants way on the shelves but the counter allows so much flexibility. **Cabinets from Home Depot, Counter IKEA, and shelves from Pottery Barn (thanks Mom and Dad for the birthday gift certificates I finally cashed in)**

But let me open my cupboards.  Check out the storage in these babies.  Cookbooks, decorations, platters, art supplies- oh my!  The space is working perfectly for our family.  Selling the dining set and table feels like a thing of the past.

It is amazing how getting a smaller table and just overall thinking of space planning really helps our family to see this room in a completely different light.  It feels 100x brighter, 100x more useful, and 100x more us.  And frankly that is all that matters.

Enjoy your weekend and your family.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

American (somewhat healthy) Brownies

Happy 4th of July eve!  We have a variety of fun planned this weekend starting with a block party with friends and neighbors.  But then later in the weekend we are going to paint the final brown trim white.  Can I get a yahoo!?  I also finished my powder room paint this week (love it - pictures later) so I am hoping the only time I need a paint brush in my hands for some time are fun craft projects.  Need to take some time to let the fumes clear.

I decided before the weekend I would share a recipe instead of a cool patriotic photo or something.  What is more American than brownies, right?  I got this recipe from our gym and did a bit of a side eye at the title "black bean brownies".  Beans?  Really?  Well let me tell you- delish!  They were a bit thinner and cake like but otherwise full of flavor.  Make some for the 4th.  No one will know about the beans.  And if they find out, pass them a cold one and a sparkler and tell them to get over it.

Black Bean Brownies

One 15 oz can of black beans
3 large eggs
3tbsp canola oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

1.  Preheat oven to 350.   Lightly spray an 8x8 pan. 
2.  Place black beans into a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. 
3.  Add the eggs, oil, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, baking powder, and salt. Process until smooth. 
4.  Add 1/4 cup chocolate chips and pulse a few times to incorporate. 
5.  Pour batter into a prepared pan, smooth top of batter with spatula, then sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips. 
6.  Bake 30-35 minutes or until edges start to pull away and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan then slice into 16 two inch squares. 

Nutrition info per brownie :
135 calories, 6 gram total day, 2 gram saturated fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 121 sodium, 19 grams carbs, 2 gram fiber, 14 gram sugar, 3 gram protein. Exchange 1 carb for 1 fat. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Pet the Curtains and the Chair and the Cat

Happy Monday everyone.  Have a great weekend?  Mine on Saturday was literally a wash out as the rain POURED down.  With that rain poured away our plans for a family baseball game but we made the most of it with some pizza and beer.  How can you go wrong?  Sunday, however, was a perfect, beautiful summer weekend day filled with pool time and the grill.

Last week I promised a few shots of my new front room choices so I am here to deliver.  As you might recall we have a front room that was never really us in this house.  Our dining room set was big and brown, the walls were the old color from our apartment walls that were brown, and the floor is a big rectangle of you guessed it, brown.  We needed to end brown town and reevaluate what really makes sense for us.  We never went in the front except one meal a year and otherwise it just became a dust trap. 

Last picture of the room before the sale.  
It is a bad night shot but you get the deal.  
The kid was not for sale.

Enter selling all our furniture and starting with a blank slate.  So I bring you the front of the room now- aka the reading corner.  We love having a chair in the front room to tuck away in a nook to avoid the temptation of the television.  The chair is from IKEA and it is very comfortable.  I have spent a lot of time just vegging with magazines in that very spot.  Our house, despite being very far from any water except Lake Michigan, kind of has a light beachy look so the rug nails it.  I got that one from and a certain feline family member loves to scratch her body on it (no claws thankfully).

But let's get closer in and check out my new curtains.  I did a lot of searching for those perfect curtains but none of them ever clicked.  So then it hit me- why not make them myself?  I will admit, those that sew, please do not cringe too badly.  I have NO idea how to sew so I used the ironing hem tape but for me, it really works.  I ordered some fabric in bulk from and did a heck of a lot of time with my iron.

The front area just is so comfy and sunny.  It makes me happy just looking at it but can I say the favorite family member that has informally taken control of it is this girl.  She loves the chair (we vacuum it often) and the rug. In fact getting a shot of the front without her in it was quite the challenge.

In fairness to the front room it did have some very pretty moments around the holidays.  But choosing to sell it all and start fresh with what we really need as a family was the best move we could have made.

Next time I will pan around the room and show you a bit more.  Still working on a few tweaks overall but this room is really getting close to done.

**I was not given any compensation from IKEA,, or for this post.  But hello- feel free to email me one of you- I have plenty of ways to spend your money.**

Friday, June 20, 2014

T to the G to the I to the F

Can I get a Woot Woot?  It is Friday and I have missed you so.  This week has been a test of patience when it comes to dealing with cable companies.  (Just envision one company cutting the line of the other and being smack dab in the middle of the madness).  My 9-5'er has been a bit nutso too.  So this find below came precisely at the right time to make me feel a bit normal again.

I hope your week had treated you much better than the doozy I have had. I really need to get my hindquarters in gear as I have lots to show you all in my front room. But for now I leave you with thoughts of the circus and the monkeys. Or just think of the cotton candy.... Oh the deliciousness. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Life as a Bird in my Nest

Soccer ended:

Go Royal Sharks

And yep, this happened:

School ended and there was a Kindergarten picnic:

My Little Monkey

And my son drank Tiger's Blood (AKA liquid sugar)

To celebrate the official start of summer we took a night away as a family to Milwaukee:
Welcome to first grade kiddo- let's take a brewery tour. 
I kid, he did like the factory and the free Sprite.

And then my son used the Fonz as his personal play set:

Typical summer antics around here.  
What y'all been up to?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Eight Fun, Chaotic, Perfect Years

Time really does fly when you are having fun.  Today is my eighth year being married to this amazing man.  Marriage really is a series of highs and lows but I feel with a lot more highs we are doing a lot of things right.  He really is the balance to me that helps me to realize my dreams yet help me plan for them in the future.  We have an amazing son and life together.  Happy Eight Years... I love you more than the stars.