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.


Monday, July 7, 2014

I Love a Parade

Happy Monday after the 4th!  Are you all dragging after a nice, long weekend like I am?  I had such a fun time with friends and family that hearing that alarm today was at bit hard on the ears.  Besides all the fun it was a very productive weekend with finishing what was left to paint of our brown trim (Heck ya!), washing our couch cover we had been meaning to do since after the holidays (bad us), and getting some art hung as well.  I also snuck in a few shots of the front room mostly finished and plan to share those with you over the next week.  See- super star productive points for me!

If you follow me on Instagram you can see some of my later night adventures (I was not arrested despite sitting in the front of a police car) but I thought the true highlight of the 4th of July is celebrating America in a traditional parade.  We go each year and I love to see all the families decked out in patriotic colors, hear the sounds of firetrucks, and see the gleam in my son's eyes as he fills his bag with candy.


Hope all of you Americans had a much fun celebrating the big day.  Now we just get to relive it nightly as some of our neighbors appear to have not used up their stash of 4th of July fireworks.  Thank goodness my son is a heavy sleeper.

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 Overstock.com 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 fabric.com 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, fabric.com, or Overstock.com 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?



Friday, June 6, 2014

Buh Bye Kindergarten

Happy Friday everyone. Any big weekend plans?  I plan to get out of the house and enjoy some spectacular weather. I know we are only like ten degrees away from sweaty humid misery so I plan to take advantage of any weather that means open windows and no air conditioning.

Well the other big news this week is THIS officially happened.  Seriously how did this happen so quickly?

Just for fun I thought I would do a fun side-by-side.  I know the differences are subtle but I can see he is just a bit bigger and a little less my little baby.


Who am I kidding?  I will see this kid as my baby when he is fifty years old.  He really did have a great year filled with lots of new friends, experiences, and tons of learning.  My son can actually read signs and things now.  EEK- it is crazy!  All kidding aside I am super proud of him and even made some fun signs to greet him when he got home.


Welcome your first summer break little man!  Great job!

 
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