Friday, September 28, 2012

Thinking Ahead

        **First, I have to tell everyone how seriously over the moon happy I get when you send me pictures or comments about trying my projects or recipes. I get downright giddy!  Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to reach out to me. So please, PLEASE keep all the pictures and comments coming both here on the blog and facebook page. I love each and every one of them. You all are amazing**       virtual hugs!  .... in case you couldn't tell...I'm a hugger.

      Second, I wanted to share with you some of the awesome things I found out shopping at The Christmas Tree Shoppes the other day. The stores already have some Christmas items out. A lot of people groan when they see this (did you groan?) I however, get crazy happy. I in no way want to rush the fall, I LOVE the fall. It's just that to me, the span of time from September 1st  to January 1st is holiday time. So whether that be putting mums on my porch, or stocking up on wrapping paper, it's all glorious, fantastic, pumpkin spice latte awesomesauce to me. I skip through the aisles at the store, like a little kid..... I'm not kidding.  A few of my best friends luckily feel the same way so we have created a support group ... again... not kidding.

    On to the purchases!
        These adorable tin buckets were only $1.00 each! I though they would make great baskets for the homemade vanilla I want to give out at Christmas. Also they would be great to give with a cute mug, hot chocolate, and marshmallows for a teacher's gift.

Yep, It's a "Grow Your Own Christmas Tree" kit. My girls can't wait to plant it. It was only $1.69, so if a tree doesn't actually grow (I'm not holding my breathe) it's no big deal. If one does grow, then it looks like we won't need to buy a Christmas tree at Christmas 2042, so that's something to look forward to.
What awesome timing! If you want to make your own ribbon wreath just like mine, they had 10 yard spools of wired Christmas ribbon for only $1.99 each! There were a ton of choices and even had a bunch of blues and silvers if you want a change from red/green/gold.
A possible mirror for the new bathroom. Yes, I know it's not oval, like the moodboard, (that's the first thing Jared said when he saw it, too) but it was only $17.00! Plus I was drawn to it's shimmeriness and I thought the little round pebble trim would tie in nicely with the glass penny tile. If it doesn't work in the master, I could always use it in one of the other bathrooms (which still only have their original builder flat mirrors). So I exclaimed "I'll take it!"....... OK, really I just put it in my cart and tried to keep Sadie from hitting her lollipop against it.
Anyone else give their kids lollipops while your are shopping to keep them happy? Lollipops are the parent's secret weapons. Please tell me I'm not alone :-)
Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoy your day!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Whole Wheat Beer Bread

          Beer bread was always my number one purchase when I went to one of those "food parties". You know which one I mean. I would order the three pack (then cry when I used them all up), then I would have to wait for another party to order more. Who likes waiting.......not me. Plus the 3 pack was $15.00 PLUS $5.00 shipping and handling.  So now we're up to $20 for 3 loaves of bread.  Ouch.

         After some research and test runs in my kitchen. I finally got a recipe I love, plus has NO added sugar. You probably already have most of the ingredients in your pantry!



    12 oz beer (Lager gives it the best taste, but I usually only have Miller Lite, which still is good)
     3 cups whole wheat flour
     1 tbs. baking powder
     2 tbs. honey
     1 tsp. salt
     1/2 cup  applesauce
     1 tbs. chia seeds   (optional)  check out the health value of chia seeds- they are amazing!
     dash of cinnamon     - just a dash - don't go crazy here
     1 tbs.  melted unsalted butter

     Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Make sure your rack is in the center of the oven. Butter your bread loaf pan.

     Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, chia seeds, and cinnamon.

      Then fold in the beer, honey and applesauce.
      Transfer the dough into your loaf pan and spread it out to fill the pan.

      Pour the melted butter on top of the dough.

      Put pan in the oven and bake for about 55-60 minutes.

      After about 30 minutes check on the bread, if the top is getting too dark, place a sheet of tin foil loosely over it for the remaining cooking time.


      All done!!   MMMMMMM ....... smells heavenly.

      Perfect for your fall soups and stews. Or you can have a slice with peanut butter spread on top, like I do when I need a quick lunch.

     I hope you enjoy!

                      Thanks for stopping by, come back soon!

                                  ~ Angela
Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New Look!


      We got a bit of a makeover  :-)    What do you think of our new look? 

      A huge,  HUGE thank you hug to Sally over at for her amazingness. She's awesome!


                                           ~ Angela
Tuesday, September 25, 2012

DIY Ribbon Wreath

      You are going to LOVE how easy it is to make a wreath like this one. I saw it on Pinterest last year (when Pinterest was just a that site!) and made this wreath last fall and seriously couldn't wait for this fall to put it up again.


                     All you will need are:

  •            A metal ring from a craft store. I got mine at JoAnne's for about $2.00. There were a few different sizes. Of course, I bought the biggest one.

  •            A variety of ribbon in the colors you want.
                     Hint, it is easier to get a fuller looking wreath if you buy ribbon that is wired however, it is also more expensive. I would try to get the biggest spools you can find in the ribbon you love, and use one of their 40% off coupons that come in the newspaper. If you want to do a wreath as frugally as you can, then get regular ribbon. I used 4 different ribbons in my wreath and I needed about 3 (average size) spools of each color.

        To make your wreath simply cut strips of the ribbon. (I cut my wired ribbon about 9 inches long - this is something you will have to play around with to get the look you want)


        Then tie a tight bow around the metal ring. Fluff out the loops of the bow.


         Repeat in the color pattern you desire.


         To hang it from my door, I simply used a longer piece of one of the ribbons used in the wreath.


        You're done!!  Do you love it?!


      I LOVE this project because you can make a wreath for any season or theme that you want! The possibilities are endless. Make one with your favorite sports team colors or give it as a gift to that special sports fan in your life. It is football season! (Go Steelers!) Make one for Christmas, one for Valentines Day, Easter, and 4th of July.  Do one in a bride and groom's wedding colors for a great personalized shower present.  Think of how adorable this would look hanging in a baby's nursery- what a great baby shower gift!

           Get going to the craft store, you know you want to  ;-)
    Thanks for stopping by, everyone!
     ~ Angela
Monday, September 24, 2012

Turning the Office into a Master Bathroom

           Let me introduce you to our nook.
This 7x7 foot opening is in our bedroom across from our bed. The space was built to be the master bathroom, but the first owners of our home elected not to put it in.

           When my husband and I purchased the house we had it in the back of our minds that we would eventually make it into the bathroom it was destined to be.

           For our first two years in the house we had a love seat there and used it as a reading nook. And when I say "reading nook", I mean a place to put baskets of unfolded laundry that I never got around to putting away      ;-)

         When my oldest daughter turned one, I started working from home, so we turned the nook into my office.

         But now, it's about to be  Jared's "porcelain office"....... haha

         Master bathroom time!!!

         Our permit applications are being reviewed and we are praying it goes smoothly. Boy, it's a lot of information to have to go hunting for! PS - Jared may or may not have used my sewing ruler to draw the sketch for the township.

We don't have a ton of money to work with (who does?) so I want to utilize stock items in creative ways to get a unique look that's affordable.

       I made a mood board to give you an idea of the design/feel I'd like the bathroom to have.

Master Bathroom

1.   I want the bathroom to have a watery/ glistening feel. This picture is an inspiration for the light sea glass wall color and accents.
Possible wall color:

I may ask the paint mixer to cut this color in half with white to lighten it even more.

2. Floor tile
3. I want to incorporate some woven texture into the room, perhaps in the form of the waste basket and bathmat. Possibly even storage baskets.
4. Wall hooks for towels
5. I  LOVE this clear glass penny tile.  Oh, how I love this tile. I was holding it in Lowe's and just starring at it like a love-struck teenager. I'd like to use it in thin strips (maybe 4 rows) as a back splash accent and maybe even to add some sparkle around the shower unit.
As excited as I am, I know from experience that living through a renovation isn't too pretty. For example, this is what the other side of my bedroom currently looks like.......


(BTW - We haven't touched anything in our bedroom since moving in. That's the original paint color and original carpet.  Down the road I'd love to repaint, put in neutral carpet, and about a ton of other little tweaks. All in good time, right?)

The chaos hurts my eyes.
But it's all for the greater good. If ever I get frustrated with the mess/ work zone, I'm just going to hold and stare at the clear glass penny tile. I may or may not whisper sweet nothings to it.
Stayed tuned and I'll be sure to share all the craziness of every step of the way from office nook to master bathroom.
Thanks for stopping by!
Friday, September 21, 2012

Great Grammy's Vanity

Isn't it funny what we remember from our childhood?
I DON'T remember getting my finger caught in a heavy door at school and almost loosing the tip of it, an event that my mom remembers in full detail and tells me was quite gruesome.
But I vividly remember my great-grandmother's 1921 dressing table.
I remember the exact place where it sat in my parent's bedroom. (My mom had inherited it from her grandmother). As a girl I used to sit at it and pretend I was "Mother" from the Disney movie Peter Pan, getting ready for her glamorous evening out. I remember loving the shape of the mirror and the delicate detail of the flower on the knobs. I remember my mother's bottle of perfume she stored on top of it, and if I close my eyes I can still smell the scent.
When my parents got a new bedroom set, the vanity went into storage. Recently I rescued it.
 I had big plans.........
The veneer on the top drawers was damaged. My dad  helped me put wood filler on the top, then sand it down to blend.
Using a medium grit sanding wedge I gave the whole dresser a good sanding. Since I was using a primer, I didn't have to get too crazy with the sanding. I do like to sand furniture first though to help remove any dirt.
I then wiped it down with a clean cloth.
It took two coats of primer (I used Zissner).

And two coats of paint (Sherwin Williams ProClassic in "Snowbound". ProClassic is a alkyd enamel paint used for doors and trim, making it a great choice for furniture).
After I had let the paint cure for a week, I lightly buffed in a soft furniture wax to help protect the finish.
The original set came with a small stool with wicker as the seat. I was afraid my 4-year-old would break the wicker by jumping off of it doing "gymnastics" so I opted to use this $3.00 chair I found at a yard sale. It was already painted white, but was pretty scratched up. We sanded, primed, and painted it a pretty shell pink.
That picture makes me so proud  :-)
Ready for the big reveal...........
Ta Da!!!!!! 
I can't even begin to tell you how much it means to me to have this vanity in my home, especially in my daughter's room. I never knew my great-grammy, but my mom speaks very fondly of her. This dressing table feels like a big hug from her up in heaven. A way to connect the five generations among us.  Great-Grammy had purchased the vanity in 1921 on her as part of her bedroom set. They paid $.25 a month on credit until it was paid for, a fact my Grammy tells me that her father hated. He felt very strongly that if one didn't have the money for something, he simply did not buy it. Hmmmm... sounds like a good plan in current day economics, huh?   ;-)
The only thing that worried me was wondering if my great-grandmother would mind that I painted it.
Both my mom and grammy assure me that she wouldn't have  ;-)
Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cavatappi Rosa Recipe

      Confession: I love to eat. I do. I love to think about what I'm going to eat and when I'm going to eat it. Some people say they "are so busy they forget to eat". I will never be one of those people. I'm a lick -the -spoon -that -I -just -stirred -the- brownie -batter -with type of person. If you're one of these people, we'll get along great. Perhaps we should get some t-shirts made up ..........maybe they should have an ice cream cone on it.....

             This dish is inspired by the Macaroni Rosa dish at Buca De Beppo's family style restaurant. If you're like me, you LOVE family style restaurants because you get to sample many different dishes instead of having to give your husband sad puppy eyes for him to give you a taste of his dessert.

  • 1 box of Cavatappi pasta (some call it  Cellentani)
  • 1.5 lbs chicken tenderloins
  • 1 medium onion - diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic- minced
  • 2 jars of marinara sauce
  • 1 small can of peas
  • 1 bag of frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 pack of mushrooms
  • 1 tub of Philadelphia Cooking Cream Italian Garlic and Herb (or 1 brick of regular cream cheese)
  • olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine (Merlot or Cabernet ) or whatever you have
  • salt, pepper, parsley to taste
Step number one: Pour yourself a glass of wine, you've had a hard day.
Heat up your large pan or dutch oven on medium heat. Once it's heated add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and let that heat.
Add your onion and let cook for 4 minutes, then add garlic.
Cut your chicken tenderloins into bite size pieces and add them to the pot. Season them with some salt and pepper.
Once the chicken looks mostly cooked add the frozen broccoli and cover the pan. Let that steam about 6 minutes.
Wash your mushrooms. Add them and the peas into the pot. Stir
Add the wine, stir and let simmer about 5 minutes.
Add the marinara sauce and the cream cheese and stir to combine.
Bring a pan of water to a boil. Once it is boiling add some salt (that is the most effective time to flavor the pasta).
Add the pasta to the boiling water and let cook about 8-10 minutes ,stirring occasionally.
Once the pasta is done, drain it, then add it to the sauce mixture.
Gently combine everything and let simmer about 5 minutes. 
Reduce the heat to low and continue to stir, making sure the sauce fully coats the pasta.
Top with parsley.
This dish is always a crowd pleaser, I hope your crowd enjoys it just as much.
Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Make your own Pure Vanilla Extract

     I love putting vanilla in baked goods. It gives such a warm, homemade, makes you feel all cozy on the inside taste. My mom brought me back this amazing vanilla from Texas that is "double strength". I LOVE it.......It's also $17.00 for a small bottle ....... sad face.

     There has to be a better way to infuse my baking with vanilla-y goodness.

     After some research I found out how easy it is to make your own vanilla. Crazy 2 ingredients easy.

  1. Vodka or Brandy (1.75 Liter)
  2. Vanilla Beans     (about 50)
     That's it!

     It seems people are split between using vodka or brandy. Some like the vodka because it gives a milder vanilla taste.(Plus you get to watch the vodka slowly get darker as it takes on the flavor of the beans, which seems pretty fun to a nerd like me.)  Others like to use brandy because it makes the taste sweeter and stronger.

     Sweeter and stronger........... just call me Team Brandy.

     I was able to find the same "Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans" used in the vanilla extract from Texas on Amazon. While I was there I also ordered 4oz dark bottles to use to package the vanilla for Christmas presents (sorry to ruin the surprise, family).

     This is how easy it is:

                 Clean out an empty juice container.
     Slice the vanilla beans down the center leaving the ends in tact. This makes it easter to put in the containter.
Put all the sliced beans in your containter.
Pour the brandy (or vodka) into the containter making sure to entirely cover the beans.
To make sure everything is fully sealed, I added some plastic wrap before screwing on the top
   Give the bottle a good shake. Then place it in a cool, dry place (I have it in the back of my pantry) and wait for 3 months.
 Yep....3 months. Just in time for holiday baking. Or you can pour into little containers and give them out for gifts (like me!). I love homemade gifts :-)
I've read it's a good idea to give the bottle a shake about once a week.
Can you believe how easy that was? Plus it's a great way to save some money without sacrificing quality.
I'll be sure to keep you posted in 3 months to see how it turned out. Right now it is making my pantry smell heavenly.
Thanks for stopping by.
~ Angela
Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Who wouldn't want a cabana?

    It used to be a sandbox, so can you sense the theme here?

    Under the playhouse that we inherited from the former owners of our house was a sandbox. Only it didn't have a lid. It was dirty and gross. At the time I was a new mom and so I did what any germ fearing mom did, told my husband to "cover that thing up so our kids don't get a tapeworm"! I had obviously seen too many episodes of House and CSI. My husband, being a carpenter (and being sweetly compliant to his pregnant wife) put deck boards securely down, and called it a day.

    Actually called it 4.5 years.... because that's how long it sat there boring and unused. Our now 4 and 1-year-old already have a separate sandbox (with a lid....yay!). So I wanted to turn the space into something they would play in.

   Let me also explain that we get a lot of sun in our full on, no big trees, no shade, makes you want a freeze pop, morning SUN. So on summer days until about 3pm our back yard is sweltering.

   We needed some shade. I got the idea to create a mini "cabana" for the girls to lay in and play tea party (iced tea party?). I first thought to use outdoor fabric ... but that is a bit expensive and I wanted to test the waters first. So then I got the idea to use plastic table cloths. Cheap, colorful, and if they didn't work or ripped, it was no big deal.

 Off to The Christmas Tree Shoppes I drove on the hunt for cheap picnic table covers. I struck GOLD and found a huge bin of them for only $2 a piece!   I grabbed 4 and ran (drove) home as giddy as my 2 girls on Christmas morning.

 After spending maybe 5 minutes stapling them underneath the playhouse, and adding a few of my outdoor pillows, we now have this...

A perfect place to rest out of the hot, summer sun.
I cut some strips off the bottom of the cloth with my pinking shears and used them as ties. That way the girls can let down the sides to be "hidden"  or tie them open for light and breezes.
Perhaps it will also be a hiding place for mommies who have headaches.......  ;-)
Thanks for stopping by my new blog, check back soon for more posts! I have lots of projects and recipes lined up that I can't wait to share with you.

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Hi! Thanks for stopping by. I'm a 28-year-old mommy who loves to bake,cook, decorate,sew,and DIY everything I can get my hands on. Grab yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy my adventures!
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