Thursday, May 26, 2011

New project alert!

I've been dying to try some furniture refinishing lately, especially after seeing this awesome server (found here).

So... last week I picked up this rocking chair at a garage sale for $5. That means even if it's totally destroyed during my refinishing attempts I'll still be able to afford to feed my family. Bonus! :) 

My rocker is oversized and has strong lines so I want to stick with a neutral paint color instead of picking a more "delicate" color (like lime green or lemon yellow).

I always do best with a picture example and found this lovely redo to use as my inspiration piece (found here).

Now I just have to wait until both Annie, my partner in crime, and I have free time (so probably in the next two or three years!).

Any votes for a particular color?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

4 Cheese Bacon Mac n Cheese

This was delicious! I got this recipe from October 2010 Family Circle Magazine and it's super yummy! Bacon, cheese, & noodle are some of my favorite foods so I knew they'd be awesome together and they were!

4 Cheese Bacon Mac n Cheese

1 box (1 lb) elbow noodles
6 slices bacon, diced
1 T. butter
3 T. flour
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp. onion flakes
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 lb shap cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup colby-jack cheese, shredded
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 slices Kraft Deli Deluxe American cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boiling. Cook noodles 7-8 minutes in boiling water then drain. Meanwhile, in medium size saucepan cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towel leaving 2 T bacon drippings in pan. Add butter to bacon pan. Whisk in flour until smooth. In a thin stream, whisk in milk. Stir in onion flakes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer 2 minutes. In large bowl, toss together cheddar, colby-jack and mozzarella cheese. Remove milk mixture from heat; whisk in American cheese and 1 1/4 cups of the cheddar misture. Toss bacon pieces with remaining shredded cheese. In pasta pot, combine cooked pasta and cheese sauce. Pour half into prepared dish. Sprinkle with a generous cup of the bacon-cheese mixture. Repeat layering. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn oven to broil and broil 3 minutes for until top is lightly browned. Cool slightly before serving.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Alton & Vegas

What a busy weekend! 

Kevin spent the weekend in Alton mulching at his parents.

It's a big yard with lots of gardens so it took 2 of these dump truck loads...

and 2 of these trailer loads...

That's a lot of mulch!

I got to spend the weekend in Vegas with my good friend Jennifer and her darling little girl
Katie Oliva who is just a month old.

Isn't she just the cutest!?!

With Aunt Abby!

Somehow I think I got the better end of the deal as far as weekend activities go, but Kevin's parents sure appreciate his hard work and we all love spending time in their beautiful yard.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

dreaming about our master bedroom

You'd think nothing was going on in my life with the lack of posting going on around here, but summer means lots of physical activity for us and nobody wants me posting about frisbee three times a week. I will just say this... my body hates me.

Despite never having time to actually get any projects done I always have time to dream about what I want to do. So I'm sharing two inspiration pics I've found on

This first one I've saved because of the rug. I love it! It'll look so good in our green master bedroom with the new ceiling light/fan we just put in (I still need to blog about that) and the still-to-be-added crown molding!

Calming green master bedroom contemporary bedroom

This second I love because of the bed frame. It'll be perfect for our room. Not too overpowering, but still a romantic statement piece!

Wetmore traditional bedroom

Now I just have to be on the lookout for something similar AND affordable!

Friday, May 13, 2011

You Say Tomatoe...

We planted tomatoes in our little raised garden this past weekend.
I'll make sure to keep you updated throughout the summer on their growth!

The tomatoe plants are in the front row, the back row is just weeds right now.

We planted 3 different types.

Jet Star


and Sweet 100 (these are cherry tomatoes)

I'm so excited to (hopefully) have fresh tomatoes to enjoy in a couple months!!!

Painting the Duke's Basement

It's been a busy week for us. Mostly because it's summer and we like to go-go-go this time of year and also work has been a little hectic with deadlines and training. I was finally ready to post about some of last weekends activities and then blogger was down for a bit so those are my excuses for this weeks lack of posting activity :) 

Anywayyy, last Saturday we spent the day helping our friends Sarah & Brian paint their basement before they turn it into their guest bedroom and then turn their guest bedroom into a nursery for baby Duke due this summer.

My pics don't show a great difference in the before and after basement paint colors, they were pretty similar, but the big difference (better seen in person) is how clean and fresh everything looks!

Before Shot #1

Due to the 5+ years of different guys moving in and out (including Kevin) there were some rough/dirty spots. Including the one I've marked out in the picture. This is one of three similar spots where Brian, Kevin, and Ken used to put their feet while sitting at their respective computer desks. Yuck, am I right Sarah?!

And here's the guest bed taking up the whole room which is now being turned into Baby Duke's nursery.

Here's basement after shot #1 See how clean and shiny it is?!

No more dirty feet spots!!!

TIP: Check the paint sale section first when shopping for new paint. Brian was able to snag this paint for only $15 for a 5 gallon bucket! That's enought paint to do the basement and upstairs family room!

We were able to get the new curtains hung in the nursery;
can't wait till the crib and bedding gets put together!!!

After all that work we finally let Dex and Betsy free in the house again.

Dex is such a flirt!

And Betsy has the most dreamy eyes!

Special thanks to Brian & Sarah for sharing their home and bits of their lives with my blog readers!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Candy Road Brownies

I took this recipe off a betty crocker box last summer and have made it many times since then. It's so easy and yum yum yum! It's a little gooey so I might not take it to a black-tie even, but for other things, like say, breakfast, it's perfect! (haha - I love sugar for breakfast!)

Candy Road Brownies

1 box Betty Crocker Frosted Premium Brownie Mix
water, oil, and egg called for on brownie mix box
1 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
1/3 cup candy-coated chocolate candies
(I used mini MnM's)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of  8" or 9" square pan with cooking spray or shortening. Make brownie batter as directed on box. Spread in pan. Bake 8" for 30 minutes or 9" for 26 minutes. Sprinkle with marshmallows. Bake 10 to 12 minutes longer or until marshmallows are puffed and golden. Immediately sprinkle with candies. Squeeze frosting into microwavable bowl. Microwave uncovered on High 15-20 seconds or until thin enough to drizzle. Stir. Drizzle over brownies. Cool completely. For easier cutting use plastic knife. Makes 16 brownies.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Shrimp & Asparagus Risotto

Tried a new recipe from August 2010 Women's Day magazine.
I'm on a roll here people!
It was tasty and very easy! It did not have a whole lot of spice/herb flavor,
but had a nice comfort food ellement.

Shrimp & Asparagus Risotto

1 lb bag peeled frozen shrimp, thawed
2 boxes (5.5 oz each) Lundberg garlic primavera risotto
8 oz fresh asparagus, woody ends trimmed and cut into 1 1/2" pieces

Heat 1 T. oil in a 12" nonstick skillet over high heat. Add shrimp, saute 2-3 minutes until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a bowl. Add rice to skillet; stir 30 seconds. Stir in 5 cups water and the seasoning packets. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in asparagus; simmer 7 minutes. Stir in shrimp and any juices; cook 1 minute or until asparagus and rice ar tender and shrimp are heated through. Serves 4.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Summer Project - Downstairs Bathroom

Kevin and I are gearing up to takle our downstairs bathroom remodel.
I thought I'd share some before pics so you might understand why
this room is so high on our to-do list :)

Here's a shot from the top. Notice the whole bathroom pretty much fits in this photo?
That means it's tiny! My goal for this room is to make it seem as open and airy as possible!

One thing I'll really miss when we're done with the re-do is this lovely brown toilet.. NOT

Everything's been in this room so long it's already starting to fall apart on it's own.
I'm thinking a pedestal sink and large mirror in place of the current setup!

And here's a shot of the linoleum floor. Kevin has tiling experience so I'm
very excited for that change.

This corner had a very large storage pantry that we moved to the kitchen when we
bought the house. The lack of paint and base boards hasn't bothered me
these past two years because I NEVER use this batheroom!
I'd rather walk upstairs then walk into this dark scary room!

It's hard to see in this picture, but there's also this weird crack that looks like a big
piece of drywall was added for some reason. That's got to be fixed first and then
we're painting the walls with tone-on-tone stripes
(not the blue in the picture)... so excited!

I'm so excited to get this project started, but Kevin and I are getting pretty famous for
putting things off for loooong periods of time. Make sure and bug ask us how it's going
so we're motivated to get it done for realz!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Farfalle with Peas & Goat Cheese

I love goat cheese so I was super excited to try this recipe from the
April 2010 Family Circle magazine.
It was yummy, Kevin even liked it and he's not a huge fan of goat cheese!

Farfalle with Peas & Goat Cheese

8 oz farfalle pasta
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1 large red pepper, seeded & cut into 1/4" strips
1 T. cornstarch
2 T. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1 bunch chives, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

Bring a medium sized pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Add peas and red pepper to pasta for last 2 minutes of cook time. Drain pasta mixture and set aside. Meanwhile, stir together cornstarch and 1 T. water; set aside. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook 1 minute. Stir in wine and bring to a boil. cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil. stir in cornstarch mixture and cook 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in salt. Add pasta mixture to skillet and stir together with sauce. Stir in chives, and 1/4 cup of the goat cheest, adding pasta water by the tablespoonful if mixture appears dry. Sprinkle with remaining goat cheese. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Two birds with one stone.

Goal 1: Actually make some of the recipes I cut out of magazines.

Goal 2: Use more fresh ingredients I'm might not be as familiar with. Kevin and I always joke that I can only cook things with ground beef and chicken (makes sense given my family size growing up - it costs to feed all those hungry kids!).

For Saturday dinner I made dinner with both these goals in mind. The menu: Lemon-Herb Lamb Kabobs from July 2009 Ladies Home Journal, Thyme Potatoes Au Gratin from December 2009 Better Homes and Gardens, and roasted asparagus. It turned out great!!!

Lemon-Herb Lamb Kabobs

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
2 T. chopped rosemary
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 to 2 1/4 boneless lamb leg, trimmed of fat
and cut into 1-inch pieces

Stir together first six ingredients.
Add lamb pieces and marinate in fridge for 1 to 4 hours.
Grill on medium high. 10 minutes for medium-rare and 12 minutes for medium.

Note: Fresh Market let us buy half a leg of lamb - which really cut down on the
price and then even diced it for us which made this recipe so easy!

Thyme Potatoes Au Gratin

3 cups whipping cream
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 T. butter
4 lbs red potatoes, thinly sliced
4 oz freshly grated parmesan dheese
2 T. snipped thyme
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In medium saucepan combine cream and garlic;
bring to simmer over medium heat. Simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes.
Do not boil. Remove from heat.
In small bowl combine cheese, ghyme, salt, nutmeg, and pepper
Generously butter 9x13 pan. Layer one-third potatoe slices, one-third cheese mixture,
then one-third cream mixture. Repeat for 2 more layers. Cover with foil.
Bake for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours until potatoes are almost tender and liquid mostly absorbed.
Uncover, bake 20 to 30 minutes more until potatoes are browned on top.

Note: These were a little bit more work, but totally worth it. They were fantastic!
I will be making this for the next holiday dinner - it's sure to impress!

Roasted Asparagus

Cut off hard ends of asparagus. Coat in about 1 T. olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast in oven at 400 degrees for about 8 minutes or grill for about 4 mintues.

Too cute!

Just had to share this super cute pic of Kevin's niece, Claire, and her kitty Simone!

Dancing the Night Away!

Friday evening was our friend Amy's 30th birthday. She planned the best themed party - 80's prom!

See our great outfits!

Since it's my first prom ever, I even got flowers!

The decorations were very eleborate... and awesome!

There was even a prom king and queen

The birthday girl seemed to have a pretty good time

And everyone danced the night away!