Thursday, December 12, 2013

So Happy!

A long time ago my former neighbor gave me probably $500 worth of lockers for around $30, which is what she thought she could get for scrap metal.  A steal.  They went promptly into the backyard shed, but my brain was full of ideas for them as soon as time would permit. A while ago I got out one single tall locker and painted Florida Gator blue on the outside and orange on the inside for my son’s room.  He uses it for his clothes - it’s awesome.  It fuels the friendly rival between father and son since his dad is a Seminole. :)
A couple weeks ago I finally got a wild hair to paint the beast.  A double tier, with 6 lockers…which happens to be the number of kids we have.  It looked really similar to this, but with a little rust here and there….

And now it looks like this! Backpacks and jackets are no longer hanging on the backs of my dining room chairs. Woo hooo! :)  (Don’t be jealous that we have a 3 year old resident artist that drew that gorgeous mural on my hutch in the background.  Lucky for him, it is getting a new paint color anyway.)

Friday, April 5, 2013


So without further ado, here is the big kitchen renovation reveal a year and a half later…hahaha.  Sorry, we’ve had some big changes other than the kitchen going on in the last while.  New job, new baby…

I see a lot of people complain that white kitchens are too sterile and hospital-ish.  Well, get ready to scrub in because this one is white.  The countertop guy tried to talk me into something other than white because he said we’ll be able to see every smudge and piece of food on a white counter.  That’s exactly why I like it.  I like to SEE that it’s clean.

I despise wordy blog posts so scroll on down if you want, but here are some things you might be curious about if you’re planning your own reno.

  • The ceiling was raised about a foot - this made a huge difference.
  • We installed Ikea cabinets ourselves.
  • The countertops are Corian (probably my favorite feature).
  • EVERYTHING is new.  Cabinets, appliances, etc.
  • Total cost was between $8,000-$9,000 (friends helped with the ceiling demo and redo and doing the cabinets and tile backsplash ourselves cut the costs quite a bit)
  • We would still like to do some crown moulding, we were just waiting until we made the final purchase of the fridge just a few months ago.
  • We left a strip of blue wall between the white backsplash and white upper cabinets to break that up a bit, and I’m pretty happy with that idea. 
  • I love the full size rug in there.  However, I would prefer a lighter color but we have 6 kids so, yeah.
  • You can see some stuff piled up in the background.  That’s not kitchen related.  We had our guest bathroom redone and they just finished the tiling so we are putting everything back together in there as we speak.  That’s a post for next year, haha. Just kidding. Maybe.
  • I kept it real with the kids and their messes.  We have all been sick for about 2 weeks and in the middle of the bathroom job, so this is actually looking pretty good. :)
  • Hmm, what else?  We are pleased with the quality of the Ikea cabinets and sink. We opted not to use their faucet or appliances though and went with a reputable brand for both.
  • If I could change anything we did, I would (and probably will) put different light fixtures.  We were going for cost effective here and really our intention is to get this house ready to sell or rent out eventually so we didn’t want to put too much money into lighting right now.  I would also have had the electrician put in a power outlet in the wall above the small counter to the left of the stove.  I have several small appliances stored in the upper cabinets.  It would be nice  to be able to just plug them in right there.  
  • I am a BIG fan of the large drawers.  My favorite drawer is the “kid drawer” where everything is plastic and bright colors and we literally toss the dishes from the dishwasher into the drawer, and it’s all hidden away.
  • And finally, yes I know the bouquet of flowers sticking out of the towel basket is plastic.  My sweet 5-year-old boy gave them to me for Christmas so they’re staying. :)

When we moved in (2003)

Shortly after we moved in (2003)


Monday, September 19, 2011

Very Very Busy

But it's getting very very close!
(This was about 5 days ago. We've come a long way since then.)

Creeeepy :)

Monday, August 1, 2011


It's been ages since I've posted a recipe. We have experimented with this one in our house several times recently. We were first introduced to it at a restaurant called BJ's. I've heard it's a popular menu item at a couple of other places around the country. It's super easy to duplicate.

I cheat and use these mixes.

Mix them according to the directions, or make your own cookie dough.
It works best to bake them in individual pans, like they do at BJ's. I found these personal pizza pans and they are perfect. But you would probably get the same results from any 6 inch cake pan you might already have.

Spread the dough in your pan about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep.

The bake time will probably vary with whatever recipe/mix you use but the idea is to only slightly cook it so it's basically hot cookie dough. I bake the 6 inch pans at 475° for 5 minutes.

Immediately top with a complementing ice cream and dive in.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

TuTu Tights

Get some 1.99 footless tights from Target and some sheer ribbon (or you could use tulle, or nylon chiffon - but the ribbon comes in different widths and is ready to go).
Gather the ribbon on your sewing machine (or by hand if you have to) and sew it on the bottom band of the tights.

Love them. So feminine and sweet. ☺

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Out To Lunch

I made this on my "lunch hour" (naptime) yesterday.

I decided my daughter has been embarrassed long enough. After losing her lunchbox a couple of months ago she's been carrying The Backup Lunchbox. It's big and it's ugly and doesn't even have a strap anymore so she has to carry it by that mesh thing on the top.

I think she likes this one better.
It's insulated and everything. And washable too.

I sort of copied the mini bucket bag pattern from this book, but made my own dimensions of 16x12 and then tapered to make it a bucket bag and added the layer of insulation. I also made my straps longer and will add a velcro closure.

I just love how the letters are all uneven and crooked. It makes it look so homemade and cute. (Not really. That's just what you say when it doesn't turn out exactly how you planned it. ☺)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Oh Christmas Trees!

This project is fast and finishable (meaning you don't get tired and walk away from it and then pull it back out next year and chuck it because you've lost the excitement for it).

Tree form, ribbon and trim from Hobby Lobby.
Inspiration here.

Monday, March 15, 2010


So, Jill saw this idea that I think everyone has now seen because it's so smart and super simple. Take a headboard, cut the legs off, paint it and add some hooks.

Here's Jill's take on it.
The before (with the legs already cut off).

And all done.

So jealous. I'm on the hunt for the perfect headboard now.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Peanut Butter ♥'s Chocolate

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars
(Tastes like a candy bar)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups peanut butter
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 cups chocolate chips

Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat, add sugars, peanut butter and vanilla. Mix well. Press into 9x13 pan that you have lined with wax paper or foil. Melt chocolate chips and spread over top. Cool and serve. Best kept in the refrigerator.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Chicken Scratch

I found this recipe scribbled on a piece of paper, barely legible. I don't remember where I copied it from but decided to try it since I needed something fast for a treat for the kids.

Dutch Triple Fudge Brownies

1 small box cook 'n serve chocolate pudding
2 cups milk
1 box chocolate cake mix (I used Devil's Food)
1 bag chocolate chips

Cook pudding using the milk and according to directions. Blend in cake mix. Spread in a 9x13 pan and sprinkle with the chocolate chips (and nuts if desired). Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350°. Easy peasy and oh so good!

*I wonder if you could just make it with regular instant chocolate pudding or if the cooked pudding makes a difference. Maybe I'll try that sometime. It would save even more time.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


This is little sister, Jill's boring master bedroom BEFORE:

Bring in big sister Marilyn and she turns it into THIS:

Jill is renting so you know how that goes. No painting. Luckily the wall color was already a nice neutral tone so it went nicely with the new decor.

Jill fell in love with the color in the 2 side table lamps. As far as she knew that's all that was going into that room because it was all done in secret, a While You Were Out kind of thing.

Marilyn took some of Jill's existing thrift store finds and gave them some TLC.

Of course she made the bedskirt and all but 2 of those pillows on that bed. She made the window valances and the picture frame shelves.

Oh yeah, and she made the headboard too. Maybe someday she'll provide us with a tute on how she did it. I have a door headboard in my master bedroom too, but now I think I'm going to order me some tin and add to it.

Such talent our sister has.

I've been planning a While You Were Out for my girls' room for awhile. Helping put Jill's room together has lit a fire under me to get going faster on it.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Favorite

These homemade cookies are really easy to mix up in a hurry, and not made from a box.

Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
handful of oatmeal
chocolate chips (about half a bag)

Blend together the shortening and sugars, then add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add a mixture of the flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Mix til well blended. Stir in oatmeal and chocolate chips. Drop scoops on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes. It's closer to 10 for my oven. Don't overbake. They're perfect when their flaky and crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. The recipe makes about 3 1/2 dozen.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

In Love

I love this idea so much!
Wish I could claim it as mine but I can't.
Here is the link with the instructions.
I think it turned out so cute.
I {heart} it. ☺

There are also instructions on how to do a valentines topiary.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Chocolate Banana Bread

Found this recipe on Allrecipes, started making it yesterday, didn't have everything, finished it today. Worth the wait. ☺

Chocolate Banana Bread

1 cup margarine, softened (I used butter)
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
6 bananas, mashed (I used very ripe bananas)
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sour cream
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans. In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar and eggs. Stir in bananas and vanilla. Sift in flour, baking soda and cocoa; mix well. Blend in sour cream and chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of a loaf comes out clean.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Big One

This is a recipe from my husband's grandma who passed away about 2 1/2 years ago. A wonderful lady who lived a very full life. Much of her life was spent in the kitchen cooking up something delicious for her family. These cookies were always in her freezer, among other yummy treats.

I think they're called Monster Cookies for several reasons. Monster size, monster batch of dough, monster calories....

Morning sickness still plagues me to a degree but it's much better. I don't feel like I want to go pick out my casket anymore. I actually tasted a small bite of these and didn't feel the need to dry heave afterwards.

Here is the recipe in her own words (with my translations).

Monster Cookies

6 eggs
1 # brown sugar (2 1/4 cups)
2 cups white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp Karo syrup
4 tsp baking soda
1/2 # butter or oleo (2 sticks, softened)
1 1/2 # peanut butter (3 cups)
9 cups oatmeal (quick rolled oats)
1/2 # chocolate chips (about 3/4 of a bag)
1/2 # M&M's
coconut (if desired - this would make the cookie more chewy)

Blend everything together, but stir in the the oatmeal, chips and m&m's. Scoop large amount onto baking sheets, leaving room for them to spread. Smash the dough down a little before baking at 350° for about 15 to 20 minutes. Depends on how soft you want them.
What's interesting is this is a half batch recipe. Using a 1/2 cup of dough for each cookie will yield about 20 cookies this big: