Thursday, August 30, 2012

On My Mind: Small Space Mudrooms and Family Launch Pads

Since school started almost two weeks ago, I have been feeling inundated by school papers, notices, backpacks, homework, band instruments, lunch boxes and all of the other stuff that comes home from school each day.

I've been considering ways to corral the clutter, and of course, I dream of having a huge mudroom with everything perfectly organized.  Since this isn't happening in my home, I've been looking at ways to turn a small, unused hallway into a mudroom/family launch pad area.

I've rounded up some of my favorites from Pinterest. 

I originally thought about building a bench with storage underneath.  I had never considered putting bins on a low shelf.  I like it!!!  And, so much less work than figuring out how to build a storage bench.

With the amount of paperwork that comes home from school, file folders are essential.  I'm thinking one per child that can hold their homework for the week and other important notices.

Each child will need a place to hang her backpack and coat.  Rather than bulletin boards above each hook, this is where I will put the file folders.
Source: via Suzanne on Pinterest

I'm picturing an Ikea Billy shelf for the wall as well.  The girls can stash their gloves, library books, instruments, etc.
Source: via Amy on Pinterest

Other elements I want are:
  • A calendar.
  • A chalk board (I already have one I can use) - this can be for meal planning, grocery lists,  and important reminders.

Here are a couple of other nicely organized spaces.

Source: via Suzanne on Pinterest

Source: via Suzanne on Pinterest

I'm sure you've seen these Ikea hacks, but I still love them and think they are so smart and stylish.

Source: via Suzanne on Pinterest

I think a trip to Ikea is in my future!  Unfortunately, the closest Ikeas are both 5 hours away.  Luckily, I have a trip planned to Denver (but not until the end of September).  My oldest daughter, the gymnast, and I are going to see the Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions - a performance by this year's gold-medal gymnastics team as well as former Olympians.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ragnar Relay

In just over a week from now I'm going to be doing my first Ragnar Relay race.  My teammates and I will be running almost 200 miles (OMG!!!) from Breckenridge to Aspen, Colorado.  The scenery is going to be gorgeous but very hilly.

If you've never heard of Ragnar, each team consists of 12 people who each run three legs of the race.  Our race starts Friday morning and we'll probably get done sometime Saturday afternoon.  This means that we'll be running around the clock!

I've never done anything like this and wasn't planning on doing it, but my friends had a teammate drop out at the last minute, so they asked me to fill in.   I'm super-excited, but nervous and a tiny bit scared too...especially since I haven't been training for this!

Oh yeah, did I mention that we are going to be running in costume?!?!?!?  I'll be sure to post a full report on the race with pictures of my fabulous team once we're done...and I can move again, maybe after sleeping for 48 hours.

Has anyone out there run one of these?  Is this totally crazy?  Wait, don't answer that.  I think I already know the answer.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Plaster of Paris Emergency!!!

Help!  I returned from picking the girls up from school to find Plaster of Paris all over my living room.  The dogs found a box of it in the gararge, dragged it through the doggy door and went crazy ripping the box open.

My vacuum will pick up some of it, but most of it is ground into the rug.  The wood floors are all covered in a fine powder too.  Anyone know how to get rid of this???

Anyone want a goldendoodle and/or golden retriever?

House Tour: Master Bedroom in Progress

A few weeks ago, I asked you if I should buy this bedding from West Elm.

While many of you cautioned me against purchasing it, I had to buy it on ebay because it was such a good deal.  I have a hard time passing up a deal!

Can you see why I can't go with all white bedding?  That dog is like a mud magnet who thinks our bed belongs to her.

As you can see, the room is definitely "IN PROGRESS."  The mirror needs to be moved.  I also need soe fun throw pillows or I might pull out my embroidery machine and monogram the pillowcases.

My coral desk is also not quite the right color with the bedding...nothing a coat of paint can't fix.  But, that's the risk you run when buying things online.  I'm never quite sure what the color will look like in person.  I also want to paint the file cabinet to match the desk.

That window needs some kind of covering besides the shade.

I have plans for this blank wall that I will share with you tomorrow.

While it's definitely not finished, this room has come a long way from being the most neglected room in the house.

To Do
  • Throw pillows for bed.
  • Window covering.
  • Wall art.
  • Repaint desk and file cabinet.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What Happened to My Fiddle Leaf Fig?

Before you launch into reading this post, I should let you know that my husband advised me not to post these photos for fear of disgusting you poor readers.  Not being one who likes to be told what to do, I'm going to go ahead and post these gross pictures.

Here's what I found growing in my fiddle leaf fig when I went to water it today.
These pictures don't do it justice, but this fungus is flourescent yellow.  I pulled back the Spanish moss to investigate further.

I'm so surprised to have fungus growing in the pot.  I only water about once per week and we live in a super-dry climate.
I've never been a fan of houseplants because they seem dirty to me.  The plants I've had always seem to attract bugs and now THIS!  What would you do?  I've taken the moss off and I'm tempted to maybe just let the plant die : (

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Blue Ombre Dresser with Homemade Chalk Paint

Remember way back when I asked what I should do with this dresser?

Just to refresh your memory, it's for my daughter Kayla's room.  She is dead set on having her room be blue and green and wanted the dresser painted both colors.  I'm not a huge fan of multicolored pieces of furniture, so we came up with a compromise.

I painted it an ombre blue and added some cute blue and green knobs.

I didn't want to buy a bunch of paint for this project, so I just used what I had in the garage and mixed, mixed, and mixed some more.  Achieving the right shades and differentiation in color definitely took some experimentation!

Here's just a little sample of some of the colors we tried.  To make chalk paint, I just add Plaster of Paris and a little water to the paint.  The benefit of using chalk paint is no sanding and priming and a short dry time.  It also distresses really well, but we didn't want to distress this piece.

I would love to add Kayla's room to our house tour, but it's definitely NOT in photo-worthy shape right now.  There's a huge bunk bed right in the middle of the room and sheets strung up to make a fort, not to mention all of the precious treasures she cannot bear to throw away.  Ahhh, the life of a preteen girl!  Here's just a teeny-tiny view into this blue and green room. 

I think this little brass owl is so cute.  He used to be in the living room, until Kayla adopted him as her own.

What do you think?  Are you still a fan of ombre?  I am!  And, if we get tired of it, all it takes is some paint to give it a new look.

Linked to some of my favorite DIY blogs:  Liz Marie, House of Hepworths, My Simple Home Life, Happy Hour Projects,
Elizabeth & Co, DIY Dreamer, Today's Creative Blog, Sugar Bee Crafts, Not Just a Housewife, Reasons to Skip the HouseworkPrimitive and Proper, Home Stories of A to Z, Savvy Southern Style, DIY by Design, Tip Junkie, Type A Decorating, , The Thrifty Home, Domestically Speaking, Primp,
A Diamond in the Stuff, Restore Interiors, The Shabby Chic CottageBeyond the Picket Fence, My Simple Home Life,
Addicted 2 Decorating, Just a Girl, Remodelaholic, Miss Mustard Seed, Finding Fabulous, Tatertots and Jello, Under the Table and Dreaming, Thrifty Decor Chick, Coastal CharmSerenity Now, Get Outta My Head Please, You are Talking Too Much, The Southern Institute  My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Fox Hollow Cottage Pinterest PartyBeneath My Heart

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sneak Peak

I had a busy, yet fun, weekend.  How about you?

I spent Saturday canning tomatoes.  The home-canned version tastes so much better than store bought cans of tomatoes.  We use these all winter long in chili, soups, sauce and all kinds of things.

Check out all of the fruit and vegetables that I got from Bountiful Baskets this week.  This should help start my fast-track detox diet!

Sunday was spent rearranging Kayla's room and painting a dresser for her. Here's a little sneak peak. 

All I need is some new hardware and then this dresser will be complete.  Hopefully, I will have a picture to share tomorrow.

Then, it was get ready for back-to-school!

School started for my three girls on Monday.  I always send them back to school with mixed emotions.  On one hand, I will miss our relaxed summer schedule.  On the other hand, I need to get some things done and I only seem to accomplish anything when they are at school.  This is the first year that Mary will be in school 3 full days.  I think she will enjoy it.  The house is kind of boring for her without her big sisters around.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy & Healthy Link Party

Thank you for stopping by my first Happy & Healthy Link Party.  I'm hoping to do these about once/month so that we can inspire each other to be, you guessed it!, happy and healthy.

If you are here hoping to see some before and after projects or home decor ideas, don't worry.  With the kids starting school next week, I will have more time for projects and blogging.

I thought I would kick-off the party with a couple of recipes.  My doctor recommended that we try to eat at least 5 vegan meals per week, not a popular concept in my meat, seafood and potato loving family!  She also suggested we eat more quinoa.  Quinoa is a grain (really a seed) that is filled with protein and low in carbs.  It is so easy to prepare.  Just boil it with 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa for about 15-20 minutes, or until the quinoa is light and fluffy.  If you've cooked rice, you can cook quinoa...and it's so much healthier than rice.

Once your quinoa is cooked, you can eat it plain or add things to it.  It can be eaten either warm or cold.  Being a quinoa newbie, I was wary of just adding things willy-nilly, so I followed this recipe for Tomato Basil Quinoa from A Couple Cooks.

The recipe blends the familiar flavors of tomato, basil and mozzarella cheese.  I also added some sauteed mushrooms.  My husband and I loved the recipe.  My oldest daughter surprisingly liked it, but the younger two only tried a bite or two.  I served it warm for dinner and then ate the left-overs cold for lunch the next few days.  It was delicious either way.  I'm hooked and will be trying lots of new quinoa recipes in the near future!

While not vegetarian, another favorite healthy recipe is for Asian Lettuce Wraps from Our Best Bites.

Do you like to eat salads?  I like to eat them if somebody else prepares them, but I don't really like them if I have to make the salad myself.  Kind of weird, I know.  I came across this little cheat sheet from Food Your Way on how to build a good salad.  I know I will be referring to this to get out of my salad rut!

OK...that's enough from me.  Now, I would love to hear from you.  Feel free to link up a post or make a comment on how you stay healthy, favorite healthy recipes, healthy tips, or any secrets of happiness you have discovered.   Thanks for playing!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Healthy and Happy and Link Party Announcement

It seems like I've been thinking a lot about my health lately.  This summer I've been feeling super-fatigued (that might explain the lack of projects lately).  I've been so tired that several times I've been afraid that I might fall asleep at the wheel in the middle of the day as I drive the girls around.  I've also gained a big amount of weight in a little amount of time.  I made an appointment with my doctor to get checked out.  I was kind of hoping something minor was wrong.  Nothing life-threatening, just something simple that could be fixed with popping a pill. 

Thankfully, all of the tests came back normal.  This led to my doctor (who I trust and highly respect) and I having a serious conversation about diet and lifestyle.  I'm at the point where I know I need to make changes to feel better.  She recommends eating at least 5 vegan meals per week and dramatically cutting back on sugars and gluten.  She recommended the books "The Blood Sugar Solution" by Mark Hyman and "Fast Track Detox" by Ann Louise Gittleman.   I've started both of the books and they are full of great information that I'm going to try to put into practice. 

 In order to keep myself accountable, share some healthy recipes, and so I can get great advice from all of YOU, I thought I would start a monthly link party called "Healthy and Happy."  The first party will be this Thursday.  I hope you will stop by and share some healthy tips with me!

In other health-related news....On Saturday, I had a BUSY day.  I started off the morning with a trail run with the dogs.  In the blazing 100 degree sun, we took a family hike.  I got to carry Mary for most of it.  Fun!!!

At least we got to see this cool lizard.  But then I started thinking about snakes and got freaked out.  I'm happy to report that no snakes were spotted.

To cap off the day, I played 2+ hours of tennis.  That night, I didn't feel so well.  I spent most of the night on the tile floor of the bathroom.  In the morning, I started mumbling nonsense about living in Cape Cod, fighting in World War II, and being killed by hitchhikers.  I couldn't keep down the tiniest ice chip or sip of water.  My husband decided it was time to take me to the hospital.

I got a few bags of IV fluid and antinausea medication and was sent home to recover.  Three days later and I'm FINALLY feeling better.  I was hoping some good might come from all of this misery.  Maybe I would at least lose a few pounds?  No such luck.  However, I did gain a true appreciation for my health. 

As women, we can be pretty critical of ourselves and especially our appearance.  I'm no stranger to complaining about being "too fat," "too lazy," "too short," etc.  Instead of focusing on these things, wouldn't it be wiser to focus on being grateful for what I have?  I am so thankful for my healthy body that has served me well for 37 years and hopefully for many more!

Thanks for making it through all of my rambling and I hope to see you back here on Thursday!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Dog Birthday Cake

Wow!  That was a long and unexpected break from blogging.  My girls are going back to school in just over a week and it really hit me how fast summer has been flying by.  So, I've put projects on the back burner and have been trying to spend some fun times with my family before school starts again.

Speaking of fun times, Kayla wanted to make a cake for the dogs.  If you know anything about me, you know that I'm almost as obsessed with my dogs as I am with my kids.  So, I quickly agreed that it sounded like a fun idea!

I helped her find a recipe that didn't sound too disgusting online.  Many of the recipes involved cooking canned dog food.  Can you imagine how awful your house would smell after that?!?!?  We used this one found on e-how that looked almost as appetizing to the humans as it did to the dogs.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 cup rice flour - we used regular flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • Large mixing bowls
  • 1/2 cup organic peanut butter
  • Shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 9-inch round pie tin - we used a cute bone-shaped tin
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Toothpick or uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 cup non-fat cream cheese - we used plain Greek yogurt
 1.  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2.  Mix together 1 cup flour and 2 tsp. baking soda in a large mixing bowl.
3.  Pour 1/2 cup organic peanut butter, 1/2 cup shredded carrots and 1/2 cup honey in a separate bowl.
4.  Mix the peanut butter, carrots and honey together well and add 1 egg, 1/4 cup canola oil and 2 tsp. vanilla extract.
5.  Pour the peanut butter and honey mixture into the large bowl that contains the flour and baking soda.
6.  Mix together all of the ingredients until they are well blended.
7.  Cover the inside of a 9-inch round pie tin with a coating of non-sticking cooking oil and pour the mixture inside.
8.  Set the cake onto the center oven rack and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top of the cake has slightly browned. Place a toothpick or an uncooked piece of spaghetti into the center of the cake. Pull it out and if there is batter on the toothpick of spaghetti, the cake is not done.
9.  Allow the cake to cool completely. While the cake is cooling, combine 1 cup non-fat cream cheese (or plain Greek yogurt) and 1/2 cup shredded carrots.
10.  Cover the completely cooled cake with a layer of the cream cheese and carrot frosting.
11.  Remove the cake from the pie tin and serve it to your four-legged guest of honor.

We made the cake to celebrate the anniversary of Tyler's adoption.  Tyler was adopted from Golden Retriever Freedom Rescue two years ago.  He was a stray dog from a shelter in Joplin, Missouri were he was about to be put to sleep.  He is a beautiful purebred Golden Retriever and it amazes me that nobody would want him.  He remains my best "save" to date.  If you want to read more about his story, go here

If you are considering getting a dog, I would suggest checking out dog rescue groups.   Almost every breed has its own group.   I was surprised at the huge number of great dogs out there looking for homes.

Ty graciously shared his cake with his "little" sister Emma, the goldendoodle.  Needless to say, the dogs LOVED the cake.