Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Menu

Another week has flown by - and I've earned another "dollar".  (Do you remember the old saying 'another day, another dollar'?  - No?  Well, my dad used to say it all the time - am I telling how old I am?)  The work week really is playing havoc on my life.  It is amazing how used you get to a certain schedule and then when something comes along that throws a wrench in it, well it just messes everything up.  (I know, I know, another old saying - "throwing a wrench in something" when things get messed up - I'm just full of them today!).

Anyway, what I am trying to say is, I'm still having problems getting it together with the dinner menu and me working again.  I just don't know what it is (yes, I do but I refuse to say it!).   I'm so tired when I get home that I don't want to do anything but "vegetate" in my chair.  I keep thinking that things will get better, but it hasn't so far - and with my luck about the time I get used to this working thing again, the school year will be over.  I mean, I only have six more weeks to go.   Sometimes that seems like such a LONG time - but I'm sure it will just fly by.

I will say that Friday night, after I got home from work and after we had dinner Mountain Man and I went out and got in the pool - awwwww!  It was heaven on earth -the pool temperature was a balmy 98 degrees!  It felt soooo good - I just floated on my back and let the warm water soothe the savage beast.  (You gotta love solar heat panels and  a solar blanket!)  I haven't been back in the pool the rest of the weekend - it has been raining off and on - but I am NOT complaining about the rain - we need it desperately!

Now on to the menu plan.  Let me let you know right up front that I have switched up some things on the menu plan for next week - I'm going to try and do some Crock pot meals - getting them ready the night before and seeing if that doesn't help with getting a real supper on the table at night.  So,  I will give you the original plan first and then give you the "new" plan.  Okay?
Here we go -

The Original Plan:

Monday, April 30 - Jambayala, Cornbread
Tuesday, May 1 - Chicken Salad
Wednesday, May 2 - Hamburger Casserole, Salad, French Bread
Thursday, May 3 - Slow Cooker Fajitas
Friday, May 4 - Homemade Pizza Night
Saturday, May 5 - Chef's Choice
Sunday, May 6 - Hot Dogs w/Cheese, French Fries

The New Plan:

Monday, April 30 - Jambalaya, Cornbread 
Tuesday, May 1 - Asian Chicken, Noodles, Stir Fry Vegetables
Wednesday, May 2 - Magic Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Thursday, May 3 - Slow Cooker Fajitas
Friday, May 4 - Pizza (Movie Night)
Saturday, May 5 - Chef's Choice (Dinner out if we stick to the plan all week!)
Sunday, May 6 - Country Ribs, Potato Salad, Baked Beans

You will notice that Monday and Thursday have not changed.  We will have what I planned on having because both of these meals are quick and easy and don't take a lot of preparation (and Thursday meal is a Crock pot meal anyway!).  Friday we will probably have pizza, I just don't think it will be homemade - it might be Pizza Hut or it might be out of the freezer section at WalMart.)  We won't have the hot dogs on Sunday because we had hot dogs one night this past week (one of the nights I didn't stick with "the plan" but at least we ate at home).

I'm going to be honest here - I haven't made homemade pizza in over a month!   Don't ask me why - there just seems to be something that comes up and I don't get it made.  No, that isn't exactly true - partly but not completely.  I think part of the problem is, I really haven't found a reliable homemade pizza crust - I have tried several and even thought I had found one (remember an earlier post?), but the next week when I fixed the same recipe it was HORRIBLE!  So, we have had WAY more bad pizza (so bad Mountain Man wouldn't eat it, and he eats anything) than good that I am almost afraid to try and fix it homemade anymore.  And let's get honest - when you can buy a pizza from Pizza Hut for $10 and you know that it is going to be good - why fix your own???  So, I am probably gonna drop the "Homemade" part off the menu plan and just put "Pizza" - and just forget the headache of trying to make that "perfect" thin and crispy pizza crust - Pizza Hut you are my "go to" recipe.

Well, that is what I have planned for this next week - we will see if this change up in the "plan" works better than it has for the last two weeks.  How have you handled a change in your schedule?  Has it thrown you for a loop and how long did it take you to "get back with the plan"?  (I certainly hope I am not the only one that is struggling to get it together!)

Have a great week ya'll and I'll see you Wednesday with another "room redo"!

Hugs -


Friday, April 27, 2012

Ribbon Toparies

Hello everyone!  Today I thought I would share with you how I made the ribbon topiary that we used on the gift table at the shower.

I'm sure you have seen these all over the web and pinterest.  However, I did mine a little differently.  Every topiary that I saw on the Internet used straight pins that you just pinned them onto the Styrofoam ball. I didn't like that idea - so instead I decided to use my trusty hot glue gun.

First I cut the ribbon that I found at WalMart into pieces that were approximately 1 inch wide.   Then I glued them into a circle.

The next thing I did was create my little holder - a good ole' Folgers can with a piece of Styrofoam in the bottom.

Using my trusty hot glue gun I just starting gluing the ribbons on the Styrofoam ball in random order.

The example shown below is the small ball.  I actually made two sizes.

While I was working on the ball, Mountain Man painted the terra cota pots for me.  We decided to go with white so they wouldn't take away from the topiary.

The one above is the larger one after I had completely covered the Styrofoam.

A close up.

I just love the colors of the ribbons.

The final step was to wrap the stick (which was a small dowel rod) with ribbon and make a bow - which was hot glued on.
Then to finish everything up I just added shredded paper.

Very simple and I just love the way they look.

What do you think???  
Don't these just make you want to make some of your own??  Well, don't just sit there - go get some ribbon, Styrofoam balls, and let me see what you make!



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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Foyer/Great Room Reveal

The next entry in our whole house remodel is the living room/foyer.  Once again there is going to be an overload of pictures and some are not of the best quality, so I apologize in advance.

As we all know, Mountain Man and I bought a foreclosure about two years ago.  I don't have any pictures of this area of the house when it was in the real "before" state.

However, this is what the room looked like after Mountain Man decided to take the wall down in the now dining room and we moved some furniture back into the Living room.

You can see where Mountain Man closed up the extra door going into the guest bedroom in the picture above and below.

Why would anyone have TWO doors going into one room????

Looking from dining room into the living room.
Don't you just love the angles???

First week of the remodel project - 

Wow, you can really see where the angles were!

Weird, huh?

About three weeks in and the foyer has changed - all the angles are gone.  
In the picture above the kitchen in on the left and the new dining room is on the right side of the foyer.

Six weeks into the project.
This is looking into the living room from the foyer.

The After shot


 One of the things you will notice in our home is - we don't have a couch!  With the way our living room is situated there is no where to put a couch, and  since it's just Mountain Man and I here most of the time, we wanted to be comfortable.  So, we decided to get two recliners.  The other two chairs in the living room we call the Melissa chair and the Justin chair (for my dd and sil).

 View from the Guest Bedroom doorway.

Once again, you can see the kitchen on the left.
The doorway on the far left of this picture is going into the Master Bedroom.
Mine and Mountain Man's recliners on the left and the Melissa chair.

I think you can tell from these pictures that our home is not huge, it's not even large - but it's big enough for me, Mountain Man, and the two pups!

View from the dining room.

See the Master bedroom in the background?

Here is the Justin chair.

I'll leave you with a picture of the small table in the living room by Justin's chair.
The picture is one that I took at Highland Hammock State Park, where we worked one winter.  We love this shot.

So, what do you think?  

See you on Friday with a little craft project.

Hugs -


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Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday Menu

Good morning everyone!  I explained earlier why my posts have not been as consistent as they had been, but I'm going to try and get better.  Let's start by getting back on track with the menu post!

I will readily admit that I did NOT do well on the menu this week - with it being my first week back at work (and Mountain Man didn't help this week) we did not eat off the menu much at all.  I think we ate out three days - had hot dogs one night and a frozen dinner the other.  There were a couple of days that we had to go into town to get things for the shower and Friday afternoon I was at the Town Hall (where we had the shower) until after eight getting everything decorated - so, no dinner at home.  Saturday night we ate left overs from the shower and Sunday was more left overs (after the birthday lunch).  Let's see IF I can get back on track this week, with planning a little better, and knowing that I'm tired when I get home from work.  

So, what's on the menu for this week?

Monday, April 23 - Ham Steak, Mac & Cheese, Green Beans, Biscuits
Tuesday, April 24 - Chicken Italiano, Pasta, Salad
Wednesday, April 25 - Southwest Taco Pie
Thursday, April 26 - Steak & Rice
Friday, April 27 - Movie Night - Pizza (don't know about homemade)
Saturday, April 28 - Chef's Choice
Sunday, April 29 - Country Ribs, Potato Salad, Baked Beans

I'll be honest right off the bat - I'm not sure about two meals here.  I guess I'll have to see how things go - but I may be changing things up on Tuesday and Wednesday - but we shall see.

So, how have you done on your family menu plan?  I know that many of you work full time and have families, so you don't know why I should be complaining when it is just MM and I - and I will get better as the weeks go by.  Stick with me and see how well I do.

I hope you guys have a fabulous week!

Hugs -


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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Update on our Life

Hello everyone!  I guess that you noticed I did not do my usual posting last week.  In fact, I even missed my Friday post all together.  I hope that you will forgive me and keep coming back - I do have a really good reason.

I have gone back to work full time - at least through the end of May.  Actually, I took a 'long term substitute teaching' position at a local elementary school.  The position will last for the next six weeks.  I'm excited to be back in elementary school - I'm working with second graders and it has been great - really sweet little guys.  Of course, last week with the testing that the state of Florida gives I was pulled to give the FCAT to some fifth graders (and actually these were some great kids too!).  I'll be administering the rest of the FCAT to this group of students next week for two days - then I'll be back with my second graders for the rest of the school year.

Anyway, I forgot how much energy it takes to teach - I know, I know - I taught full time last year, but I've been out of it (again) for almost a year.  Anyway, it will take me awhile to get back in the swing of things - so please bear with me as I get my "sea legs" back under me - okay?  

This was a very busy weekend - Saturday was "the" baby shower.  I think it went very well and I know that Melissa received many lovely things.  I don't think there are that many things that she needs anymore - and Lorelai has some beautiful clothes.  I don't think we will have to buy her any new clothes for the first year of her life, if not longer.  I'll be doing some posts on the decorations (finally) and the actually shower later - I really can't wait to show you some of the pictures, so, I'll tease you with a few.


Finally, a picture of the proud parents to be. 

I'll show you more later.

Sunday we had my mother's birthday lunch here at the house.  Actually her birthday is not until Wednesday, but with me working now we just figured it would be better (and easier on me) to have the lunch on Sunday - and Chicken and Yellow Rice is good anytime!  Then it's time to get ready for going back to work.

I will do my best to post three times this week - the Monday Menu, the room remodel, and a post of one of the decorations from the shower.  If I had thought about it I would have taken pictures while fixing Mom's birthday luncheon - but I didn't - oh well, maybe next time.

Hope you have a great week and PLEASE stay with me!  I love it when you guys leave me comments!  Thanks and I'll see you Monday with the Monday Menu!

Hugs -


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dining Room Reveal

Sorry I'm late with my Wednesday post - but I'll explain it all Friday, and it will all make sense.

Today, I thought I would share the dining room - and I need to give you a little background information.

Mountain Man and I could not decide which room we wanted to use as the dining room and which was going to be the living room.  The room that we talked about being the dining room (and that we had used for our first Thanksgiving dinner) was across the foyer from the kitchen and the original owners had used the space as an office.  Mountain Man thought that it was too far away from the kitchen - however, I didn't want the dining room to be the first thing you saw when you walked into the house.

After days and days of discussion we decided to move the living room furniture into the front room to see how it would "feel".
  Mountain Man wanted to make sure that he would be able to look out at the pool area from the new living room.  Well, there was a big problem -  a wall that blocked the view.  We knew that no matter which way we decided to go with the remodeling project the view to the pool would be opened up. 

However, I don't think Mountain Man could see my vision.  How do I know?   Well, when I got home from work one day in April (almost exactly a year ago) this is what greeted me.

Mountain Man decided to knock down the wall that separated the front room from the pool area "to see what it would look like".

Now, we did have an open concept.  
(Oh, look at the picture above and you can see one of the angled walls that was in the kitchen!)

 This is when Mountain Man decided to drop the little bombshell that he did not feel like he was up to do all the work himself - For example, He did not want to climb up into the attic to do the electrical work, plus he isn't an electrician and we would be doing some major electrical work - like new pot lights - new electrical in the floor.  Well, let's just say that I was somewhat very surprised at what he had done and what he wanted to do, but.......

 how can you be mad at someone who looks like this????

Just a little boy in a big boy body!

I just heart this man!

Good shot to show the angle that was in this room.  (Told you there were angles EVERYWHERE!)

See the additional drywall work on the right - that goes into the guest bedroom suite.

              BTW, the foyer area (on the left) is going to change too!

Six weeks into the project the flooring was down and the blinds had been bought and installed.

Still no furniture, but things are starting to look up.

Our new dining room.

My Christmas present from Mountain Man about eight years ago.

An antique sugar mold.


Some of the decor

One of my prides and joy is the antique Hoosier cabinet that my mom and dad found in Canada back in 1969 (yep, over 40 years ago they brought it back to Florida).  

This baby is amazing!

Isn't it pretty??

Not only is it pretty - the interior is in amazing shape - all the interior charts are still there!

 This is actually a grocery list - all around the circle are different foods and you move the pointers to the food you need so you can make your grocery order.  Pretty amazing huh?  It also still has the original flour bin and bread safe - I have never seen a Hoosier that is in this good of shape.  It hasn't even been refinished!

 I just LOVE my Hoosier!

Okay, let's move on to the rest of the dining room.

The buffet came from IKEA (yep, we have other things from IKEA) and it has been fantastic - just the right size and so much storage!

Well, that is my dining room.  

I'm so glad that we decided to use the front room as the dining room.  Yes, it is a little further away from the kitchen, but it is not a problem thanks to the buffet and the hutch I have plenty of room.

(BTW, the wall hanging that you can see the corner of on the left side of the above picture - well, I made that guy - maybe I'll do a show and tell on that project in the future.

I'll see you on Friday!

Hugs -


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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Monday Menu

Happy Monday Everyone!

Here's our menu for this week -

Monday - April 16 - Caribbean Shrimp with Rice
Tuesday - April 17 - Chicken & Dumplings
Wednesday - April 18 - Meat Loaf, Mashed Potatoes, Carrots
Thursday - April 19 - Pepper Steak w/ Rice
Friday, April 20 - MOVIE NIGHT - PIZZA
Saturday - April 21 - Chef's Choice
Sunday - April 22 - Chicken and Yellow Rice, Biscuits (Mom's birthday dinner)

Have a great week!

Hugs -


Friday, April 13, 2012

DIY Tea Lights Holders

I've been talking about the baby shower that I am co-hosting for my daughter and all the decorations that I have been working on.  Well, the shower is next weekend, so I decided to show you one of the projects that I did.  I'll show all the other things later - but this is one easy project that I thought you might enjoy seeing.

Do It Yourself tea light holders made with dyed beans and baby food jars.
The dyed beans are Pinterest inspired.
Here is the link to the original idea for the dyed beans:

Now, let's see the way I used this idea for my Tea Light candle holders.

First step is to dye the beans.

You need a package of dried beans for each color you want to have 
(I used Great Northern, but the original idea used Navy Beans).

Food Coloring (I used gel)

Gallon Size Zip Lock Bags

Wax Paper

Place the beans in one of the zip lock bags.

Add the food coloring.  I used the whole tube.

Seal the bag.

Massage the beans until you are happy with the color.

Spread the beans onto the wax paper and allow them to dry.

It will take at least 24 hours for the beans to dry.  If it is humid it will take longer.  I left my beans to dry for 48 hours, but I live in South Florida where if the humidity is below 90 percent it's a miracle!

Okay, now that the beans are dry you are ready to start working on the candle holders

See my jar of ribbon?  This was a garage sale find about a month ago - the whole jar was $5.  There are 6 rolls of the ribbon that has the four colors on them (and then several that are all yellow and a couple that are all blue).   Yes, that is my hot glue gun - not a big baby, but she sure does work well.  This thing does not have a stand so I always use a paper plate to lay the glue gun down on- plus it helps to keep glue off my granite counter tops.  Yes, I work at the kitchen island - it's the most comfortable for me. 
(Can you tell I don't edit my photo's?  Yep, that is Mountain Man's book and my cell phone - keeping it real here folks, keeping it real.)

This is the price on each roll.  So I thought that $5 for the entire jar wasn't bad.

Now, you need baby food jars.

I don't have a baby (yet), but a friend of ours had these she was getting rid of about six months ago and asked if I wanted them.  I thought that I could use them in the craft room for storage, so of course, I took them.  Who knew that I would be making them into candle holders for a baby shower. (Sorta appropriate don't you think?)

Just make sure they are really clean and the labels have been removed.  Mountain Man used some "Goo Be Gone" to remove all the residue from the labels so the jars were sparkly clean.

Measure the opening of the jar and cut your ribbon.
 Mountain Man and I cut the ribbon in his work shop with a knife blade.  
Much faster.

Now, lets get gluing.

Grab your hot glue gun.

Put a small amount on one end of you ribbon.

Attach to the baby food jar where the top screws on.  We want to disguise this part of the jar.
(and no, all my nails are NOT this long!)

Wrap the ribbon around the top and then glue the end.

Fill jar with beans and insert a tea light.
Add additional beans to hide the side of the candle.

Light the candle.

And there you have it - a tea light holder made from a baby food jar.

There will be four of these on each table.

I can't wait to show you the rest of the decorations.

Have a great weekend and I'll "see" you Monday for the Monday Menu!

Hugs -


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Rainy, Dreary Days

Well, I don't know what the weather has been like where you live but here it has been warm, overcast, and rainy.  We are having temperat...