Thursday, January 28, 2016


Until this past week when I dropped a little bomb on the hubs, I had been living with a secret. A regret. I hate the color I chose for our dining room walls. I knew almost instantly when it went up that it wasn't the color I was hoping for. The deep, warm, glowing, tomato soup ember that I was hoping for, looked much more like a freshly sliced tangerine. It made me cringe. It made me want to wear sunglasses. But if you know my hubs, you know I could never admit it was the wrong color. Oh, you don't know my hubs and "it's just paint", so why, you ask? For a couple reasons which I'm happy to outline below:
  1. It took me forever to convince him to paint the dining room orange in the first place
  2. he hates to paint and wasn't going to be a party to any do overs
  3. he's never uttered the words "it's just paint, it can easily be changed"
  4. and he really hates to paint. Wait, did I already say that?
So yes, I kept that regret all to myself. For years. YEARS! But I think years is suffering enough, don't you? IT'S JUST PAINT, RIGHT?!? And now I am just dying to re-do the walls, and everything else, about our dining room. We've had a lot of disagreements about this room: we used to have a rectangular table and wicker chairs that I swapped out for the round table and cane back chairs which he hates. In his defense, at the time of their purchase I had promised to re-paint the table & the chairs. I DID reupholster the chairs though! I'm blaming it on my spark. It had gone out. I had no motivation to do any decorating. But now it's back, and I want to start with paint.

Initially I wanted black walls. Of course hubs immediate reaction was NO! But I've thought about it some more, and I'd actually love to use the navy I used on the nursery ceiling on the walls in the dining room. It's one of the few colors I feel like I got exactly right, and I just know it would look amazing in there. The room gets tons of light, and doesn't have a lot of wall surface space because of door casings & windows, so I feel like it's the perfect place to try out a dark moody navy. Yes??

In an attempt to convince the hubs, I tried a little color visualizing on Sherwin Williams. Obviously my online painting skills have room for improvement, but nice, right? Who's with me? Who has a paint brush?

And just so you get a feel for the room from every angle, here you go. Now really, who has a paintbrush?! Can you come over tomorrow?!

Monday, January 25, 2016

My Spark

Something amazing happened today. I read this piece on Facebook early as I laid in bed. I saved it to read again later, because it resonated so strongly with me. We went about our morning- homemade waffles and relaxed family time, and the hubs & I watched a little HGTV while the kid(s!!) played & napped. A new show came on that seemed kinda cool. I recorded it as it began, thinking I might not be able to get through the whole thing and would want to watch it later (life with kids!). At first I really liked it. Then I kinda liked it, but wasn't sure about the hosts (Too hipster, I told D). Midway through as Erin was sewing drop cloth curtains, I looked at D and said "drop cloth curtains. DROP CLOTH CURTAINS!!" while giving myself a chest bump. I certainly didn't invent using drop cloths for curtains, but I made some for our home a few years ago. That moment caused a little stirring in me. I watched as Erin shopped a junk store for cool finds and asked D if he remembered how much I loved doing the same. He said let's go. Really? REALLY?! You don't have to tell me twice.

We packed up the kiddos and headed to My Favorite Place. R kept asking where we were going, and I said, "mama's favorite place". "But what's it called", she pleaded. My Favorite Place! (so confusing!) It had been ages since I'd been- certainly not since having both kids- and the last time I was there it was sorely disappointing. But I was excited. D was into it. It was awesome. R found every darn animal object in there, and when things started to get boring and she declared she was ready to go home, we made a scavenger hunt out of the store. "Find a snowman. A lion. A clown" Might seem like an impossible task, but not at My Favorite Place. We were finding multiples! A fellow customer in the store who had overheard us for some time laughed as she passed us in an aisle and said, "I've been able to find every one of your items except the whale" (Yeah, I mistook a shark for a whale- we didn't find one either, but I bet there's one in there. Somewhere.)

It was fun. It was different with two kids. But it was a good different. And it was invigorating. My spark! I feel like it's back. I know me- I have to be careful. Guard it, and make sure the ember doesn't die out again. But goodness, it feels amazing to have that spark warming my soul again.

Oh and this. Because, Yes!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dolla' Dolla' Tree, Y'all

Am I the only nut that runs into the Dollar Tree for a couple things and ends up spending $75 bucks? That's seventy-five items!! Well, probably more like seventy with tax, but still!! I find myself grabbing multiples of items because they are such a great deal- that's where I get myself into trouble. 6 Halloween chair covers? Yes please! Cute turkey crafts for Thanksgiving? Yep 1 for each kid! Supplies for treat bags? I better stock up! Oh, goodness... In my defense, with that $75 I got fall decorations for babygirl's preschool and our house, supplies for Halloween treat bags, a sweet round-up of goodies for a baby gift, and more toiletries than we'll know what to do with.

Sounds like money well spent, right?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

We were on a break; Oh, you didn't know?

I forgot to mention we'd be taking a break. For a month. Or eight. Sorry about that. Not quite sure what happened- I got busy, and then I got bored, and then eight months had gone by. But this past weekend something really cool happened. I got an email Saturday morning from a total stranger thousands of miles away who went to a concert in Vegas more than seven years ago, and who happened to be reminiscing and decided to Google the concert, and up popped a blog post I wrote about that very concert, because I was also there! He emailed to thank me for the memories, and to share his own. I hadn't thought about that old blog or that concert in ages, but it was such a fun trip down memory lane to read my words and remember that time. Blogs are online diaries for sure, and as a person that doesn't keep a personal diary, it feels good that my words and thoughts and memories are immortalized somewhere and can be accessed by me, or anyone else who may stumble upon them, at any time. Very cool (and maybe a tiny bit vain?). So, even if it's only a pic & a couple sentences, I'm going to make more of an effort to contribute to my little corner of the internet on a regular basis. And if you're interested, here's the link to that blog post about one amazing concert seven years ago- my how life has changed since then!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Weekend Update

Happy Monday everyone!!  I feel so sluggish starting out this week because we had such a great weekend!! One of those that you didn't want to end.  My sister & nephew came to town, and we had SO MUCH FUN!!  Having my sis & nephew here always makes me wish they lived closer, we didn't even need to be doing anything to just have fun.  Maybe one day...

Friday afternoon we were eagerly awaiting their arrival and someone got a little wrapped up in mama's tiny yarn collection.  Literally.  It was too cute!

Saturday we had a leisurely morning, and then sis & I were off to do a little shopping (& research) at a couple local baby boutiques.  We'd never been to either one, and they were filled with so much great stuff!!  I fell in love with a few things...

These over-sized cards are so cute, and I think they'd be great for teaching babgirl.  At $25 they're a bit steep, but I did find them online at Amazon for cheaper, so I may go that route.

This zebra head was adorable!!  They also had a horse and ...hmm, one other one I can't recall.  They were super cute, but nearly $200!!

I definitely want to get one of these for the bathtub.  I'm always worried that babygirl is going to crack her head on the spout because she loves to play with it, and the whale is just way too cute!

These bird cards are beyond awesome.  The art was beautiful, and I have a soft spot for bird art.  I can't remember the price, but it was very reasonable, and with some cheap Ikea 8x10 frames, I think these would look awesome in babygirl's room!

I didn't take any pics at the other baby store, and honestly felt like I had to sneak the ones above.  They were the types of places that look at you sideways when you whip out your phone camera.  Eeek!

There was a super cool home store next to the second baby boutique, so we breezed through as quickly as I could manage since my sis was starving.  It was also not a phone camera-friendly zone, but I snuck a few:

These little canisters were so cute!!  I just wish they were bigger.  I'm totally not a canisters-on-the-counters gal, but for these I'd make an exception.  The ones pictured above were about the right size for teabags, or a sugar jar.

I don't care how many times I see chandeliers like this, I'm still going to love them.  I just think they're AWESOME!

I saw this leather strap contraption and cracked up.  I can just see the hubs using this to carry our firewood in from the back.  NOT.  He would laugh me out of house & home if I suggested it.  Looks cute though.

And then my phone went on the fritz.  There were so many more goodies I wanted to show y'all.  Oh well, guess I am going to need to go back!  :)

After a quick lunch at one of my favorite places- Whole Foods Salad & Hot Bars, we were up for just a tiny bit more shopping, so we headed to Goodwill, where else?!  I spotted some great stuff at pretty good prices...

Hard to see, but this pale pink lamp shade was a great oval shape and really nice!

Not sure what this roll was intended for, I was thinking it would make a sweet dresser drawer liner for a little girl's room.

At first I gawked at the price of these candles- almost $7 at Goodwill.  But then I smelled them, and they were divine.  Probably worth the $7 bucks!

These woven trays were really cool.  I'm not sure how functional they'd be, But I could see them stacked on a leather or cloth ottoman/coffee table.

These porcelain ornaments reminded me of something my grandma would like.

I love fall decorating.  They don't look like anything special, but both of these pumpkins were cute.

I'll probably regret not picking up those three shelves, they were a great price, I just couldn't think of where to use them.

I liked both the laptop case and those plastic heart plates.  They'd be fun to use for kiddos just on Valentines day!

These embroidered cocktail napkins were great, and brand new, but I'm just not a martini drinker and I think that's the only way they'd make sense.  I don't know any martini drinkers either.  Oh well.

I liked the shape of this lamp, and the color wasn't bad either.

Not sure what this is, I saw it on the way out and we were both kind of pooped, so I just grabbed a quick pic.  Maybe a duvet cover?  I thought the print was super fun though!

Sis & I both made out with some great deals.  I'll show you one of them later this week!  We headed home, had some dinner, and then the whole gang went to our new favorite place, Barnes & Noble.  The cousins had a great time playing at the train table together.

After playing we stopped for a scoop of icecream on the way home.  The local shop is known for interesting flavor combos, but tonight we totally struck out.  For whatever reason, I decided I had to taste the Peanut Sriracha- DEEEE-SGUSTING.  I mean really bad.  I asked the girl scooping how hot it was, and she was all, ehh, I dunno, a little.  So I tasted it.  Apart from instantly scorching my throat, it was just the grossest combo.  I usually trust their "weird sounding combos", but I instantly regretted it.  (I ended up having to grab a bottle of water b/c I couldn't even speak from the heat of the sriracha, no jokes.)  So sis & I both ended up with Salted Caramel, which should have been a no-brainer.  But it was so S.A.L.T.Y.  Like, it was hard to enjoy it was so salty.  Sis ended up dumping her scoop and eating the cone; I had a cup so I suffered through.  Oh well!

Sunday morning we headed to church, where we snapped snapped a few pics after service.

Afterwards we headed to our neighborhood coffee shop for a light breakfast in the sunshine.  Then home for naps and relaxing the rest of the day.

All in all, the best kind of weekend- not hectic, no work, just lots of fun family time!!

Hope y'all have a great week.  This one should be interesting around here- we hired a nanny who starts on Tuesday!!  Hoping it goes well...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Recipe: Strawberry Shortcake

I'm about to share a super secret family recipe.  It's my go-to, no-fail dessert that I pull out when I need something quick that everyone will enjoy.  So, are you ready...

Strawberry Shortcakes made with BISQUICK!!  I know, it's not original at all, but it's such a yummy treat, and nearly impossible to screw up.  I grew up eating this dessert at my grandma's house, and if my grandma isn't too good for Bisquick shortcakes, than neither am I!!

Start by slicing up some strawberries.  Of course it tastes best when strawberries are in season and sweet, but the grocery had them on sale this week, and I just couldn't resist.  Sprinkle a little sugar on if you like, then stir and keep them in the fridge while you make the shortcakes.

The recipe is on the side of the box, but it's 2 cups Bisquick, a couple tbsp of sugar, a couple tbsp melted butter and 1/3 cup milk.  I barely measure things out though, I mostly eyeball.  The recipe is very forgiving as long as it's not too wet or too dry.

Don't over-mix, just stir until it comes together and isn't powdery anymore.  It won't be smooth, that's okay. The less you mix, the more tender your shortcakes will be.  Trust me.

I just drop them by spoonful on a baking stone.  I like the rustic look.  :)

And out of the oven.  Don't over-bake these!  They'll dry out and taste awful.  Bake til golden brown.  The middles may look a bit wet, but just let them sit a few minutes and they'll be perfect.

In my family we split the shortcakes while they're still pretty hot and butter them, then add strawberries & milk.  If you've never had shortcake this way, you HAVE to try it. My hubs used to turn his nose up at the milk, but it honestly makes the dish.  The shortcake soaks it up and becomes this delicious buttery, milky, hot and cold wonderment.  It's insanely good!!

PS, I know Bisquick contradicts my previous statement about buying things that I can easily make myself.  Don't worry, I'm going to make my own Bisquick mix once this box runs out!!  ;)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

DIY: Beauty Secrets

Don't worry, you're in the right place!  I've never done a beauty post before, and I'm definitely not a fashion or beauty expert, but I thought I'd share two awesome beauty secrets I've discovered this year.  Remember my post about Taco Seasoning?  I mentioned one of my unofficial resolutions for this year was to try and MAKE more things I could easily make instead of BUY.  This was partially motivated by saving money, and partially motivated by being more healthy and reducing the harmful ingredients we ingest every day. 

My first order of business was homemade deodorant.  I'm not going to get all preachy about how bad deodorants & antiperspirants are for you, if you're interested, just do a little research and see for yourself.  I decided a long time ago I wanted to try and limit their usage.  That's not easy for me because I both 1) hate to be sweaty and 2) have a tendency to be sweaty!  But I've been giving it a try during the days when I'm home with babygirl and we don't go anywhere- I just don't wear anything.  And most days I don't sweat or stink- hurrah!  But, it's the dead of winter and I'm not doing anything crazy active around the house, so I knew it wasn't foolproof.  I started looking around and found lots of recipes for deodorants, most with similar ingredients- coconut oil, baking soda, essential oils, and sometimes arrowroot or other natural things.  I was up for trying it, but then I came across the most simple recipe of all (really wish I remembered where so I could give them credit!!).  It wasn't even a recipe, actually, just one ingredient:

You're probably rolling your eyes just like my sister did when I told her, but here's the thing: baking soda is so dang cheap, and I'm sure you probably have a box in your pantry like I did, so what's to lose?  Try it & see.  I grabbed a small plastic container and poured some baking soda in it.  Then I went through my makeup and found a large powder brush I wasn't using anymore.  Dusted a little baking soda under the pits and went about my day.  By the end of the day, no smells.  Tried it again, same result.  Amazing!!  Now I have to clarify I haven't tried this in the heat of summer or during a workout or any otherwise stressful/sweaty situation, but even if I have to use my old antiperspirant/deodorant for those occasions, I'm okay with that.  I'm saving a ton of money, and being much healthier in the process!!

Now if you thought baking soda was crazy, you're going to think I'm certifiably insane on this next one, but I promise it works!!  Dry shampoo.  I'm a big fan of the idea, not a big fan of the products out there.  I don't wash my hair everyday, I usually strive for every other day, or every third day.  It's better for your hair, and I just don't have time to wash, dry & style my hair everyday with babygirl!  (I'm working on some DIY shampoo & conditioner too, stay tuned!).  So in the past I've tried several dry shampoos with really disappointing results.  The Bumble & Bumble Hair Powder, apart from being expensive, was way too dark for even my dark brown hair.  It also rubbed off on anything that touched my hair, including my fingers, and just looked generally unnatural. 

So then I went to the other end of the spectrum and tried a drugstore brand: TRESemme Fresh Start Dry Shampoo.  The price was great (around $5), but the result was not.  It cast almost a grey look on my hair.  And trust me, I don't need any help in that department!!  It was also sticky & stiff, almost like hairspray, so my hair just felt really yucky when I used it.

And I think we've all tried the Baby Powder trick once in our lives- talk about making your hair look grey!!  I think this only works if you have blonde hair.  It smells nice, but looks crazy!!

Enter my new trick: 
Now, this will be best for folks with brown hair, or dark roots, and I know it sounds crazy, BUT IT WORKS!!!  I also can't recall where I read this trick first, but I filed it away thinking it was a little nuts.  Then, I had an appointment, and no time to do my hair, and decided to give it a try.  I pulled my hair back into a ponytail and then dabbed my fingers into a little of the powder and ran it across my hair in sections, starting near the hairline and running back toward my ponytail.  I was AMAZED at how well it instantly worked.  Not to mention, it gave me a look of subtle highlights- very pretty!!  After I went all around my hairline, I took my ponytail out and brushed through my hair a couple times to really integrate any areas I might have been heavy-handed with the powder, and then pulled it back into a ponytail.  My hair looked fresh & clean and had a very, VERY subtle chocolate smell.  :)

What do you think, will you try these?  Or have you already?  Any other great secrets I should know about?