Kitchen Nook

I haven't posted much about my kitchen or eat-in nook.  I haven't really done too much to it since we moved in.  Plus, it's constantly messy.  Anyway, I figured it was about time to do a write up.

Here it is on moving day.

See, there isn't really a whole lot I need to do.  It looks nice.  Sure, there are things I'd love to change (white cabinets, different backsplash) but it would be silly to change those things on a brand new kitchen.  Not to mention costly and lots of effort.  So I am living with it, and probably will for quite some time.  I can't have everything I pin on Pinterest.

One of the first things we did was get a rug for under the table.  I found an awesome deal at RugsUSA.com  Seriously, it was like 40% off or more.  It function is primarily to protect the hardwood floors and is cheap enough I can replace it when it gets super nasty.

Second update was painting the chalkboard wall, although it really isn't too visible.  You can read more about that here.

Third update was the curtains (and screen door!) which you may remember from this post.

And finally, we installed these shelves.

They are the Sloane Leaning Shelves from Crate and Barrel in white.  I love the open shelving look and have been dreaming on how to get it in my kitchen.  When I ordered my bed, I also tacked on these shelves.  I mean, I had had a 15% coupon and discounted delivery, so I thought, why not?

We assembled them fairly easily (with the help of some hard cider) and secured them to the wall with an anti-tople mechanism.  Hopefully, the kiddos and the kitten don't climb them.

I absolutely love the look.  I finally have open space to display my collection of West Elm and Target impulse buys.  Oh, and I can fit baskets on the bottom shelves to store table linens, candles, and the like.  I might even be able to squeeze on a few cookbooks.

Overall, the kitchen is mostly done.  Eventually, I want to paint, but since it is open to the living room, both will have to be done at the same time.  I'd also like to switch out the light above the table.  And of course I'm always on the hunt for fun accessories (floor runner, clock, new drawer pulls, more Target impluse buys for my shelves).  What kitchen updates have you done recently?


The Bed is Here!

Our bed has arrived!  Remember this post?  Well, after our long wait, the bed was finally delivered and put together this past weekend.  And it was worth the wait.

Harbor Bed from Crate and Barrel.  

We did have some room-tweaking to do.  For instance, the mirrors needed to be re-hung a bit higher, but beyond that we didn't have much more to do.  I will have to get used to sleeping up so high, especially after a month of snoozing on mattresses resting on the floor.  The room is coming together quite nicely and I'm incredibly thankful for our restful retreat.

Of course there are always a few projects I keep in the back of my mind, but none are pressing ones.  I'd love to add crown molding and somehow make the ceiling fan more attractive.  I think it would be awesome to paint the ceiling (hubby would kill me if I suggested this one).  I would also like a leaning wall mirror, but I haven't decided if I would rather it be in the bathroom or closet instead.  No matter what ends up happening, I am happy and very much thankful for the lovely room I do have to share with my hubby.  I firmly believe in having the bedroom be a sanctuary of rest and peace and mine certainly fits the bill.

Interested in more details or sources?  Check out this post.


Giving Thanks

It that time of year where we publicly declare our thanks for our privileged life.  I really don't have anything profound to say.  I know I'm surrounded with many blessings and I feel silly to list them.  Especially when these things I live with on a daily basis are not available in other parts of the world.

However, its the little things in life that brings be the greatest joy.

Residing minutes from this view.  Knowing after a difficult day feeling the ocean breeze on my face will wash it away.

Waking up in a warm bed next to this man that loves me.  Even if he does snore.

The bright smile of my little boy.  His joy is contagious and I am reminded to savor his baby kisses and snuggles.

My daughter asking for a "big hug and snuggles" then telling me we are "best friends".  If only I can lock this memory away and replay it when she turns sixteen.

I'm thankful to live in a country that allows me to worship as I please.

Most of all I'm thankful for a God that loves me despite my sin and continues to pursue me even when I falter.  #truelove


Writing on the Wall

My kiddos are creative.  At least that's what I tell myself when I discover marks on the wall.  We've been in our house six months and I already have permanent marker on the wall, purple crayon on the dryer, and numerous pen marks and fingerprints artfully placed through out the house.  Most can be easily removed with baby wipes or a wet rag, but messy walls still frustrate me.  Luckily, chalkboard walls are all the rage, so I decided to try it out myself.

The wall across from our pantry isn't in visible view from the living room or dining area, so I chose it for my first project.  Just in case it turns out awful.  Initially, I thought I would tape of a section and frame out a chalkboard.  However, it was too high for the kiddos (and I bit high for me, if I'm honest).  So I decided to expand and paint down to the floor.

 So far, I'm excited about the prospect of writing on the wall; its always been taboo and my inner child is thrilled to break the rules.  I'm hoping my kiddos won't be as inclined to draw on every wall if they are allowed a designated space to mark up to their heart's content.

If this goes well, I'm thinking about painting under our breakfast bar.  That area is visible to the living room, but I'm thinking chalkboard paint might help hide kick marks and toe scuffs?  I'm gonna wait a few weeks and see how my first project holds up before tackling another one.

Anyone else have a chalkboard wall?  Maybe your kiddos draw on the wall and you've addressed it a different way?  I'd love to hear about it.



Baby boy had a birthday last weekend.  Actually, he turned three, so I suppose I can't really call him my baby boy anymore.  As long as he wears disposable pants I'm calling him a baby, deal?

I'm a realistic mom, now, since I didn't really plan anything or have a theme.  I had to work the weekend so my hubby had to pick up the slack.  My in-laws came in for the weekend to help celebrate, so between my MIL and my hubby, I really did't have to do much.  I had work Saturday morning, so the plan was to have the party that evening.  We ordered pizza, and picked up cupcakes from a local bakery.  Of course, the highlight was opening gifts.

Handsome was a joy this year.  His sister is on the pre-school circuit for birthday parties and as a result, H has been able to tag along.  He knows the drill.  Both kiddos were terribly excited. I'm not sure they really knew who was having the birthday, nevertheless, each one had a blast.

why does Mommy put bows on these?

Dinosaurs!  Roar!

Thanks to an uncle for the calendar!

Jurassic Park?


Princess has thoughtful uncles who made sure she didn't feel left out.

The whole weekend was a whorl-wind, but we enjoyed the celebration.  The kiddos are already asking about the next party!


Dining Room Update

Do you remember this room?

Once we found a home for the boxes, it sat empty for a while.  I had great intentions of making it into a dining room, but lacked the furniture and funds to make it usable.  It actually served as a time-out room since it didn't have an distractions for the naughty kiddo.  ;)  Fortunately, I came into a bit of luck.

I have been stalking Craigslist for a dining room table for quite a while.  I rarely see something worthwhile on there, but my heart can hope, right?  I love the Pottery Barn farmhouse table look, but not the price.  I also like white oval tables, and marble-topped tables, however, those aren't the sort of things that typically turn up second hand.  Nevertheless, my perusing and patience paid off.  I found a listing for a white pedestal table, with a leaf, from Crate and Barrel.  Cheap.  By the end of the weekend it was mine.  I am in love.

Next step, chairs.  I found some dreamy ones online at Target.  Plus, they were on sale, and since I used my Target debit card, I got an extra 5% off and free shipping.  They are a pale blue and I think they are magnificent.  I love the coastal vibe they lend to the room.

The rug I bought for the living room from RugsUSA.com.  I ended up switching it out because I felt the living room needed more color and the rug fits the dining room better.  It works well with the table and chairs.

Now, I need to work on curtains.  I have fabric in mind, but need to wait to squeeze it in the budget.  I'd also love to update the lighting.  Eventually, it would be nice to have a  sideboard and maybe a few accent chairs for extra seating.  Despite what I would love to happen, the room has made tremendous progress from when we first moved in.  Don't you agree?


Corn Casserole

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I thought I'd share my favorite side dish.  Now this isn't one I remember from my childhood, but it is one I have learned to savor in my young adult years.  Both my mom and my grandma from my dad's side have made it, but I'm not sure who started the tradition.  Anyway, it really doesn't matter since we all love it.  A quick Google search will find you many variations, but this is my favorite.

Corn Casserole

1 onion, diced (sweet yellow is my favorite)
1 green pepper, diced
1 stick of butter
1 can whole corn, drained
1 can creamed corn
2 beaten eggs
1 box corn muffin mix (we always use Jiffy)
1 bar of cream cheese, softened, cubed
1 c of sour cream
2c of shredded cheese (cheddar, colby, pepper jack, or any combo is good)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Saute onion, green pepper and butter in skillet over medium heat.  In large bowl, fold together beaten eggs and corn.  Add in muffin mix.  Add in onion and pepper mix, slowly.  Stir in cream cheese cubes and 1 c of shredded cheese.  Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan.  Spoon sour cream over mixture (you can swirl it in).  Sprinkle remaining shredded cheese over the top.  Bake in oven for 40 minutes.

This is sooo yummy.  I made it the first week in November (or was is the end of October?) because I was craving it.  It's a fantastic side dish to many main meals, although it does speak of turkey, gravy, and cranberry to me.  Do you have a favorite dish you look forward to with holidays?  I'd love to hear about it.


Crockpot Meatballs

Remember my Mission?  Well, here is what I came up with dinner for the first night.

I two packages of meatballs, including an open package from Ikea, in my freezer.  This was my starting point.  So I rummaged around in my fridge looking for something to make sauce with.  I have heard of people making meatballs with grape jelly and chili sauce, but I didn't have any chili sauce.  But I did have three open bottles of bbq sauce.  I also had an open jar of lingonberry preserves.  Yes, I did it.

I dumped the frozen meatballs in my crockpot.  In went the bbq sauce, lingonberry preserves, plus a healthy dash of hot sauce and minced onion.  I left it on low for a few hours and served them with cheesy mashed potatoes and leftover corn casserole.

Now it wasn't a gourmet meal, but it wasn't horrible either. The meatballs were a bit on the greasy side, but that wasn't a fault of the the recipe.  I didn't tell my hubby what the ingredients were (he usually is really picky about what I make) and he didn't complain at all.  My favorite meatball recipe is this one, unfortunately what I threw together doesn't even come close.  Nevertheless, it was inexpensive, took little effort, and helped me along on my mission of cleaning out the freezer!


No-Sew Curtains

I've been slowly working on our kitchen/living room.  You might remember my mantle updates, and side table makeover.  I've also re-arranged the room a few times and switched around some rugs, but of course failed to blog about it.  But for the past month or more, my heart has been set on updating the curtains.

When we first moved in, I put up the white curtains we already owned.  They were cheap ones from Ikea, and long enough for our tall windows.  Plus, I was trying to make do, I didn't want to rush an buy something just to have something.  Well, the curtains were a bit too long.  The kiddos stepped on them, they dragged on the floor, and as expected, the bottom hem got disgusting.  So one day, in a fit of despair, I trimmed the bottom with scissors.  And that is how they have been for 3 months.  Additionally, the white curtains with light colored walls began to wear on me.  All the furniture is neutral colored, so the whole room felt blah.  My search for window coverings began.

I quickly found that purchasing drapes would be rather expensive, especially since my windows are tall.  Standard 84 inch curtains won't cut it.  So I decided to look for fabric.  I have heard and read about making no-sew curtains and that sounds like a cheap way to get exactly what I wanted.  Tracking down the fabric became the hard part.  I have since discovered that there are not many places to purchase fabric in my area, no Joanne's, Calico Corner, Hancock, nothing.  There is one designer fabric store that I found, but I'm not really interested in paying 25 dollars a yard and up.  I browsed Fabric.com and found a few options, but still was anxious about paying $13 a yard (I needed 6 panels).  So finally, I decided to check at Walmart.  Luckily, they had a small fabric section.  I discovered a cream and oatmeal ticking stripe in a heavy weight cotton.  Now I love stripes, maybe borderline obsessed with ticking stripe.  This was it, as long as there was enough yards.  It came down to the wire, I thought I might need 18 yards and this was just over 17, but I took it all.

So, to make the curtains, I gathered a few materials and followed some simple steps.  Here is what I used:

A tape measure, fabric scissors, fabric glue, and an iron.

  1. First, I measured out the length I needed for each panel, plus 2 inches for hem.
  2. Cut each panel.  I kept the tape measure out to the appropriate length on the floor and measured the fabric.  I aligned the end I needed to cut with a line on my hardwood floor so I kept a straight edge.
  3. Fold over the hem and iron to crease a straight edge. Place glue along hem and push fabric together with fingers.
  4. Let dry minimum of 30 minutes.
  5. Repeat for each panel.
Now to hang, I used drapery rings with clips.

It turned out much better than I expected.  I love the look it adds to the windows.  Since we have blinds, and the windows all face the backyard, I don't plan on closing the curtains.  As a result, I am able to get away with less width for my panels.

Here is a close up of the ticking stripe:

I love how it turned out, and it was so much less expensive than buying curtains!  I'm ready to tackle another room!

Any of you buy fabric online?  Where is your go-to for curtains?  I'd love to hear from you!


Mission: Clean out the freezer

I don't know about you, but my freezer is full, and not in a good way.  I've discovered several open packages, such as meatballs, chicken nuggets, corn dogs, chicken breasts, etc.  Plus, I've gathered quite the stash of frozen dinners.  With the holidays coming up, I need to make room for baking, not to mention how much money is sitting in my frozen food.  The problem is, what do you make with all the odds and ends?  If I can make something, will my family eat it?  Well, my goal is over the next two weeks to clean out my freezer (and refrigerator and pantry) and make meals with what I have.   I'll update my progress with the wacky meals I come up with.  My reward will be space for a turkey, Thanksgiving leftovers, and cookie dough.  Who's with me?

Almost Three

This week for Embrace the Camera I tried to get a picture with my Handsome boy.  He will be three this Saturday and really isn't in to sitting still for 2 seconds.  This is the best picture I got.  Yes, he is blurry and trying to escape, but at least he didn't have a screaming expression.

This little guy is full of energy and a joy to be around.  It's hard to believe my baby is almost three!

Learn more about Embrace the Camera at Emily Anderson's blog here.


Not Your Normal Oil

My skin it far from perfect.  I think most of us feel the same.  I had the normal teenage acne issues and haven't seem to outgrow it, even in my 30s.  My skin has always been oily, and while my acne outbreaks have diminished, they are still present.  I am more diligent about my skincare routine and pay much closer attention to what I put on it.  I love to experiment and am prone to impulse buys.  I've tried lots of things, but rarely by the same thing twice.  You could certainly say I'm on a quest for the perfect product.

Recently, I tried a face oil, Marie Veronique Organics Anti-Aging Oil.

It came in my monthly Birchbox.  When I first saw it, I thought it was ridiculous.  Why would I put oil on my already greasy face?  I have not hit the dry skin that comes with mature skin; does Birchbox think I'm old?  I didn't try it right away.  Eventually, I thought, "what they heck, might as well try all my samples, that's what I'm paying for," so I did.  I wasn't sold completely.  For one, I really don't like the smell.  It's an organic natural product.  I think it smells like weeds.  However, after a few uses, I noticed my skin was velvety soft and glowed!  Now, I normally use a moisturizer and beauty balm with SPF on a regular basis, plus foundation on bad skin days.  I found myself just using the oil; it evens out my skin that much!

Now, it does have some draw backs.  I already mentioned the smell, but once the oil is on my face I don't notice the odor.  Plus, its a rather pricey product.  I think a full size bottle is $80!  So I doubt I'll be purchasing it.  Nevertheless, I am intrigued.  I am looking at less expensive face oils to try, perhaps a the perfect face product might be in my future!

Do you have a "go to" product or a secret skin care fix?  Spill the details!

Birchbox and Marie Veronique Organics have no idea who I am and are not paying me to write this.  I like to share when I discover something exciting and hope you might like it too!


Embrace the Camera

I've become one of those moms, you know, the one that's obsessed with getting a "good" picture of her family.  And I fail.  Miserably.  I also have very few pictures of me (or my hubby) with the kids.  I don't want to look back in 10 years or more and wonder if my kids had parents or if they were left to their own defenses.  So I've decided to make a more conscious effort to include myself and hubby in pictures of our kiddos.  Sure my hair might be a greasy mess, or my face lack make up.  I'm probably going to be in pajama pants and tee shirts, but that doesn't mean I don't care.  In 10 years I'll probably think my skin looks great and un-wrinkled and I'll laugh at my dated hairstyle, but my kids will see the mom who loves them and was present in their daily activities.  So here is my first picture:

her hat just kills me, so adorable

I learned about this idea from Emily Anderson at the The Anderson Crew.  Emily hosts Embrace the Camera every Thursday and this is my first time joining in.


Taco Soup

We finally have had some cooler weather, and by cool, I mean it might be 45 overnight and 65 during the day.  I'm all for boots, long sleeves, and scarves!  I also took the dropping temperatures as a sign to bring out the crock pot and make soup.  My grandma has a great taco soup recipe that I was dying to make.  Of course, I had to alter it, I can't leave any recipe alone.  My excuse is usually that I don't have all the ingredients and I don't want to make a trip to the store.  So here is my version of Taco Soup.

  • 1 can of chicken broth
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with chiles
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small can of green chiles
  • 1 pkt of taco seasoning
  • 1 pkt of ranch dressing mix
  • 1 can of water
  • a few frozen chicken breasts

Everything went in the crockpot on low for several hours.  Maybe 6 hours.  I took out the chicken, diced it, and dumped it back in.  I switched the pot to warm until we were ready to eat.  I served with sour cream, cheese, and tortilla chips.  It made TONS.  I probably have enough for a week.

Perfect fall food.  It warm, slightly spicy, filling, easy to make, and is enough for several meals.  Thanks Grandma!


Pillow Crazy

I have an addiction to pillows.  More specifically, pillow covers.  I adore how they change the feeling of the mood and are less effort than painting.  Recently, I was inspired by a tutorial on Pinterest to create my own personalized pillow cover.  Check that our here.

I used a fabric marker found at Michaels, a pillow cover from Ikea, a stencil, and a tape measure.

I chose this quote, also found on Pinterest.  No, I really don't have any creative ideas of my own.

"Never get tired of doing little things for others. Sometimes these little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts."

It took me about an hour to measure and stencil.  I think I'm just slow.  I let it set overnight and ironed it a few days later.

Here is my result.

I am thrilled with how it turned out,  It's much better than I expected.  I think it might look better if I chose a longer quote or used a smaller pillow cover, but hey, you work with what you got.


Safe Harbor

A dream is coming true, this week I finally broke down and ordered this:

Harbor Bed from Crate and Barrel

I've been dreaming of a new bed, and real bed, one my Hubby and I share and call our own.  The bed we currently have was one I purchased when I lived on my own, for my first apartment.  The mattress is over 10 years old,  and for whatever reason, it never really felt like OUR bed.  It was mine.  We have discussed upgrading for a while, but always put it off.  Now that we are in our house and putting down roots, it feels like it is time.

I admit, I have been window shopping for a while.  I've been pinning wood canopy beds on Pinterest for a year or more now.  It guess its the princess in me.  Unfortunately, that style of bed won't work in our bedroom.  Something about a ceiling fan.  Plus, I'm afraid it would overwhelm the room.  And while our room isn't small, it isn't really large either.  I opted for this bed to keep the space open and light.  I also debated the cost.  The price was overwhelming for me.  Several times I wondered if it was even worth it.  We could just get something cheap; something we could replace in a few more years.  However, I kept coming back to the same desire, I want something that lasts.  I want my marriage to last, so I have to put forth the effort and spend extra time to make it work.  The bedroom is a special place, a foundation for our marriage.  Its a place for relaxation, for restoration, for retreat.   This bed will last us for years, maybe even the rest of our lives.  Its a symbol of us.

With the new bed, comes a new mattress.  Yesterday, it was delivered.  Last night we slept on OUR new king mattress.  It was heavenly, even if it was resting on the floor.  In another week or two our bed should arrive and the package will be nearly complete.  In the meantime, I'm shopping for sheets, king pillows, and maybe a new quilt.  I promise I'll show you once its done.  Until then, I'm gonna snuggle up in bed.



Have I told you how much I love this iphone camera?  I am capturing so many more photos simply because its always with me.

View from the boardwalk at the state park

Love the pink sky

This one is a bit  blurry, but I love the colors

Sunsets never cease to amaze me.



These pictures are from one night while we were walking on the beach.  My plan was to get exercise and enjoy the beautiful evening.  My kiddos had a different idea.

My sand angels.