Thursday, February 24, 2011

Blogs I Love: Design-Loving Moms

Hey everybody! I have to say, I honestly was a little shocked that after 10 days of not posting, I haven’t lost any followers.  lol  Thanks for sticking with me!  We have had a crazy couple of weeks over here – we found out that our short sale did not go through, and then we put in a bid on a foreclosure that we LOVED only to find out last Friday that we were out-bid.  We spent the long weekend in PA, and then Luke got a nasty stomach bug so I have been busy and just not in the right frame of mind to blog.

I still don’t have a lot to say right now (actually the opposite is true; I have a lot to say but can’t really formulate it all into words right now).  So, to tide you over until my next post (because clearly you’re all on the edge of your seats, haha), I thought I’d share some of my most favorite “everyday” design-loving mom blogs with you all.  I mean “everyday” in a nice way – as in, these are moms who are just doing the regular mom thing but I find them extremely fascinating, creative, and talented.  Home design is such a fun hobby for me, and a lot of the blogs I read are design-related in some respect.  When I find a mom blogger who also posts great pictures of her house, I consider it a win-win. ;) I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do – who knows, maybe you’ll find a new favorite blog today! :)

{All pictures are taken from the respective blogs.}

320 Sycamore

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Melissa has incredible home design taste.  She has a superb eye for taking inexpensive or worn-out items and making them look like a million bucks.  She did a great series on motherhood last May that really encouraged me.  One of my most favorite bloggers ever. 

Bless Our Nest

Shannon has a bit different design taste than I do, but I still love looking at her beautiful home and getting ideas.  Her baby boy has one of the cutest smiles I’ve ever seen and she posts pictures of him often. ;)

Cowboy Phraseology

Katie is relatively new to blogging but I love when she posts pictures of her home’s soothing palate.  Her home is uncluttered and I find that refreshing. 

Buzzings of a Queen Bee

I could go on and on and on and on about how talented I think Carrie is.  She is currently busy making their new rental home look ridiculously, utterly fabulous.  I am constantly wowed by her home design taste.  Also one of my most favorite bloggers. 


Do you already read any of these lovely ladies’ blogs?  I am always open to blog suggestions, as well – so feel free to share!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Clean Eating: Homemade Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes used to be one of my go-to meals for when I was working full-time. You can’t get much easier than sautéing some beef, opening a can of sauce, mixing it together, and slapping it on a bun! haha

Over the last year or so I stopped buying it pre-made (and thus, stopped making it at all) because of all the high-fructose corn syrup in it. (As a side note, I have to say that I haven’t checked the ingredients in a while, so they may have replaced HFCS with something else.) Regardless, this is a FABULOUS and easy Rachel Ray recipe that uses real ingredients and is sure to please your whole family! I tweaked it just a little, but it got great reviews from everyone I served it to. Don’t be scared by the seemingly long list of ingredients! These are all basic pantry staples (except for maybe the red pepper).

Sloppy Maple-BBQ Turkey Joes
Adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray – March 2011

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Sauce ingredients:
1 C tomato sauce
1/4 C real maple syrup
3 T soy sauce
2 T cider vinegar
2 T brown sugar
1 rounded T dijon mustard

1 1/2 lb ground turkey or beef
1 T Paula Deen’s House Seasoning
{obviously a lot of you might not have this;
it’s simply garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper}
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Burger rolls, shredded cheddar cheese, other toppings if desired

Combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside. In a large skillet, heat the EVOO over med-high heat. Add the meat and season with spice(s). Cook until browned, and drain. Return to pan and then stir in the bell pepper, onion, and garlic, and cook until the veggies are tender (5-6 minutes). Pour tomato sauce mixture over meat. Simmer over med-low heat for a few minutes to combine the flavors. Serve the meat on rolls and top with cheese and other toppings.

Enjoy! This is REALLY tasty. I served mine with oven fries (also Rachael Ray’s recipe) and olives – just because I felt like something super-salty would be a good contrast to the sweetness of the sloppy joes. It was sooooo good. :)

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And keeping it real: this is what the kitchen counter looks like when I’m trying a new recipe and trying to feed my toddler dinner and trying to make a sauce and trying to chop the veggies before the meat burns. So professional, right?! haha (This is why I’m telling you to mix the sauce first!)

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As a side note, I reallllly like Rachael Ray and her recipes, but I have NEVER – not ONCE - actually cooked a 30-minute meal in 30 minutes from start to finish. Anyone else relate?!

Oh, and as another aside, and just because I’m curious: when we lived in PA everyone there either called Sloppy Joes “barbeque” or “wimpies” (that word really creeps me out, btw). Nobody seemed to call them “Sloppy Joes” but me. What do YOU call them?

Linked to these food parties:

Tasty Tuesday @ Beauty and Bedlam
Tuesdays at the Table @ All the Small Stuff
Tempt my Tummy Tuesday @ Blessed With Grace
Tasty Tuesdays @ 33 Shades of Green

Monday, February 7, 2011

Super-Cheap Valentine’s Day Crafts {Part 2 of 2}

If you missed part one, just click here!

For my first two crafts, I used pre-made chipboard stickers from Target’s Dollar Spot.  For these next two projects, I downloaded the fabulous “Traveling Typewriter” font from  I loooove the look of this font – and you can’t beat free!  I used it to make two different framed items. 

Framed Typewriter Quotes

Supplies needed:
- typewriter font
- two frames (mine were a quarter from a yard sale and a dollar from Goodwill)
- pink transparency paper (4/$1 last week at Michaels)

Total: $2.50 (with lots of paper left over)

Version 1:

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For the first version, I simply typed the “all you need is love” phrase and just enlarged the word “love” so that it would stand out.  I covered it with pink transparent scrapbooking paper.  You can see in the picture below how faint the pink paper really is – so it gave it just enough color to make it look antiqued/old when put on top.  I cut it to fit the glass, and voila - super easy.

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I added a 99-cent frame from Goodwill that had just the patina I was looking for:

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Version 2:

For the second frame, I took a few lines from the song “Come What May” from Moulin Rouge.  Chris and I absolutely, positively love this soundtrack (we’re not huge fans of the movie itself, but the music rocks).  I knew for years that I wanted it sung at my wedding, so we had two close friends sing it for us.  (Major perk of being music majors – you get a lot of talent to choose from! lol)

So, this framed piece has a lot of meaning behind it – and you could easily make it personal by printing out some or all the lyrics of a song from your wedding or something that means a lot to you in your relationship.  (As a side note, Ewan MacGregor’s character in the movie types on a typewriter throughout, so I like how it ties it all in together.) 

I purposely wanted it to be left-aligned.  And I just covered it with the pink transparent paper again and trimmed it to fit. 

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I added a yard sale frame that I had stashed away (a quarter), and there you have it:

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Here they are together (the pink doesn’t show up very well in photos because it’s so faint, but it’s obvious when you see it in person). 

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And here are all four projects together!  Since God hasn’t allowed the short sale we’re waiting on to go through yet, we’re still here with my parents.  Soooo I have no mantel to put them on. :( If you had told me last August when we moved in here that I wouldn’t be in my own house by Valentine’s Day, I would have said you were crazy….but, here we are, playing the waiting game.  I’m trying to see the bigger picture – that I have somewhere warm and safe to live, and I know that’s more than a lot of people in the world can say.  I know God has a plan for us. 

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Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the projects – maybe you can replicate them on your own! :)


Linked to:

Frugalicious Friday @ Finding Fabulous
Frugal Friday @ The Shabby Nest
Show and Share Day @ Just a Girl
Sunday Showcase @ Under the Table and Dreaming
Weekend Wrap-Up Party @ Tatertots and Jello
Valentine’s Linky Party @ Peace of Home

Super-Cheap Valentine’s Day Crafts {1 of 2}

I have two ridiculously easy V-Day crafts to share with you all today, and for the ease of linking later, I’ve decided to split them into 2 separate posts.  For the second post, click here

Sometimes it drives me a little crazy when I read about bloggers who make “super-cheap” (aka $30-$50 crafts) every week.  I’m not saying that you can’t splurge to do something nice for your home, but I think most of us just don’t have that kind of money!  So I thought and I thought, and I blew that house down came up with some easy Valentine’s Day crafts that you could literally pay for with spare change. 

Framed Chipboard Letters

Supplies needed: 

- Chipboard sticker letters (3 packs for $1 in the Target Dollar Spot)
- 3 pieces of scrapbook paper (I got mine 4/$1 this week at Michaels)
- Dollar Store frame
- Goodwill frame ($.49)
- Scotch tape

Total: $3.50 for both! (Plus plenty of extra stickers and paper to use later)

Version 1:

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This sparkly frame came with a picture hanger screwed to the top – easy to take off!  I just cut out computer paper to put behind the stickers.  Also, I’m sure you won’t be able to see unless you enlarge the picture on the right, but I put a teeny pencil mark under each letter when I had it the way I wanted it.  That way, when I peeled the sticker backing off each one, I knew exactly where I wanted it to go in advance. 

Version 2:

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Cut your scrapbooking paper/cardstock to desired lengths, and place your letters however you’d like.  I decided to raise the “O” to make it a little bit more interesting.  I purposely affixed the papers with Scotch tape and not glue so that it would be more 3-dimensional, which is also why I didn’t put the glass back in.

And here are my pretty little girls together. ;) 

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SO easy, right?  You could totally do this with kids of all ages!

Check out the second part of this post for more cheap Valentine’s ideas!

Linked to:

Frugalicious Friday @ Finding Fabulous
Frugal Friday @ The Shabby Nest
Show and Share Day @ Just a Girl
Sunday Showcase @ Under the Table and Dreaming
Weekend Wrap-Up Party @ Tatertots and Jello
Valentine’s Linky Party @ Peace of Home

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Newlywed Game

Hey guys!  The Valentine’s craft I promised has taken a bit of a detour (which is actually a good thing, since I like my new idea better), but it won’t be ready until probably Monday.  In the meantime,  I found this fun “Newlywed Game” on another blog recently (no author was listed) and decided to replicate it here.  It was so funny to see Chris typing and looking at me to try to figure out if he was answering the questions right.  I wouldn’t tell him anything until the end, but he did a really good job!  It made us both laugh. :)

Feel free to copy and paste the questions and ask your own husband or significant other! 

1. She’s sitting in front of the TV, what is on the screen?

DH: Selling New York, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Say Yes to the Dress, or Four Weddings

Me: Hahaha, well, he nailed this one!  My mom and I are into wedding shows since my sister’s getting married in September and we have a shower to plan.  I’ll pretty much watch anything on HGTV (or any real-estate show, period), and RHBH is my (very guilty, no-men-allowed-in-the-room pleasure! haha)

2. You’re out to eat, what kind of dressing does she get on her salad?

DH: Balsamic Vinaigrette

Me: That used to be true, then I started using EVOO and red wine vinegar while Somersizing, and now I just like the vinegar! 

3. What’s one food she doesn’t like?

DH: Whole milk

Me: Yup, and cottage cheese.  Blech.

4. You go out to eat and have a drink, what does she order?

DH: A fruity margarita

Me: True, or some kind of sangria.  If I’m not ordering a real drink (which is 99% of the time), I like seltzer with a splash of cranberry and a lime. Also, I’m salivating at the above picture.

5. What shirt size does she have?

DH: Small

Me: Yup, I am an x-small or small depending on the brand (I’m only 5’2”).  I’m not the world’s skinniest girl but I’m pretty sure I do claim the title of World’s Most Ridiculously Short Torso.  Which was also why my stomach was HUGE with Luke because there was literally just NO place for him to go.  Ah, but I digress…….

6. What shoe size does she have?

DH: 6 or 7, depending on the brand

Me: Yup.  Wouldn’t it be earth-shattering for all designers to use a uniform size for shoes, so that you always knew what size you were?!

7. What’s her favorite type of sandwich?

DH: A Philly cheese steak from Philly

Me: Oh yes, without a question.  Definitely one of those life-circumstances where the moans were coming and the husband was totally embarrassed.  hahaha!  But I mean seriously?! Have you ever eaten one of those things?!  Worth all 4,987 calories. 

8. What would she eat everyday if she could?

DH: Dark chocolate

Me: Mmmmmm so true. 

9. What is her favorite cereal?

DH: Kix

Me: I don’t eat processed cereal anymore, but if I was, you know, stranded on a desert island and just happened to have a array of cereals to choose from, those would definitely be what I ate first.  ;)

10. What would she never wear?

DH: A sweater with animals on it

Me: Hahahaha! This answer makes me laugh.  Very true.  Animal print, yes, actual pictures of animals, definitely not. 

11. What is her favorite sports team?

DH: She doesn’t have one

Me: Yup, and I couldn’t care less about sports! 

12. What is something she does that you wish she wouldn’t do?

DH: She picks her fingernails

Me: In my defense, I don’t do this very often anymore.  Unless I’m really nervous or stressed.  Totally gross and bad habit, I admit it! (Also, I thought it was probably better not to attempt to Google Image this. You’re welcome.) 

13. What is her heritage?

DH: Italian, Irish

Me: Pretty much!  My great-grandparents came over “on the boat” from Italy. 

 14. You bake her a cake, what kind of cake?

DH: Triple chocolate (homemade chocolate cake, chocolate icing, chocolate chips on top)

Me: Oooh, honey, can you make it right now?!  lol (This is the only thing my husband bakes, and I have to say, he does an incredible job at it!)

15. Did she play sports in high school?

DH: No, she was a band geek

Me: Band was the best experience of my high-school career, babe! But yes, for the sake of all who know me, it’s much better if I never attempt any kind of athletic feat. 

16. What could she spend hours doing?

DH: Looking at blogs online

Me. Ummmmm…yes. 

17. What is the unique talent that she has?

DH: She sings

Me: I do like to sing me some tunes. :)

18. What is her type of coffee?

DH: Cafe mocha from Starbucks

Me:  Yup, that’s probably my most usual!  Tall, decaf, non-fat, no whip.  170 calories of blisssssssssssssssssssssssss. :)

Feel free to copy and paste!  (Except delete my answers, of course, because…well, that would just be creepy. :)