Monday, November 14, 2011

Bow Tie Beef Skillet

 For this yummy dinner you will need:

1 lb. beef
2 cups bow tie noodles
1 can drained, diced tomatoes
8 oz tomato sauce
1 1/3 c. beef broth
Summer Squash (I usually use one, but you can do as much as you like)
1 green pepper
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
Parmesan Cheese

Cook the beef until no longer pink and drain. Season with salt and pepper. Add, tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, and noodles. Bring to a simmer and cover for 12 minutes or until the noodles are soft.

Add squash and green pepper and continue to simmer uncovered 5 minutes or until veggies are soft.

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and enjoy! 

Did I mention how easy this recipe is?!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Play Area

One of the most important things I am learning about our home. Is how to make it our home.

This is the little area to the right of our living room. Unfortunately, this is the best before picture I could find.

(You can read all about this cute little desk, here.)

As you can see, it's wasted space being used for absolutely nothing!

This all goes back to what I mentioned before:
One of the most important things I am learning about our home. Is how to make it our home. 

While most would probably turn it into a dining area, that just doesn't make sense for us. Don't get me wrong, I would love to have a dining room. I dream of what our dining room will look like in our next home. However, right now we just don't have the space. We have a toddler, baby (I don't care how old she is, I will never get used to the "t" word) and another baby on the way.

So, I transformed the wasted space to this!

Let's check out the play area!

First, we have our marker board. (Tutorial to follow.) The eraser and markers hang out in the blue bucket. I love this board. It is perfect for learning letters and just drawing on something other than paper! It gets used all the time!

Next, we have the cubbies and baskets which I purchased at Target. I looked everywhere, and preferred this style for an area that is out in the open. The baskets hold a ton of stuff which was great for making space in my little one's bedroom. 

This awesome art display was purchased at Ikea. I LOVE it! (It is possible to make it way bigger, I just didn't have the room.) I love having Little Lady's art on display. We're proud of her creations and it makes her proud to see Mommy and Daddy get so excited about them too!

The after one more time. 

The rug was purchased at Target. The fun colors are great for a play area.

Lastly, if you are wondering about the blue painters tape... It is a "balance beam"! It doubles as a road for play cars too. I just added some dash marks.

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Saturday, October 8, 2011


I'm sure I have mentioned it before, but we bought our home planning to make some changes, mainly cosmetic, nothing too crazy. I love making a place your own! It can be a lot of work depending on the project, but it's always worth the work in the end.

I thought I would share the progress of our latest project. This is the kitchen, BEFORE

It's fine, but we thought it could be much improved if we got rid of the smaller counter top above the bigger counter top, and removed the elbow around it to open up the area. You can't really tell from the picture, but the smaller counter top isn't wide enough to actually use the space for eating. It's also at a weird height. So, it ends up becoming the place where we throw the mail, keys and whatever other junk we could find to put there which equals ONE GIANT EYE SORE!

I was never a fan of these counter tops.  To me they looked pink, even though they are really some sort of beige. 

Ooops, I also burned the counter top a couple of months ago. I actually like the burnt color better than the pink, but I'm not too crazy about the ring. I used to hide it under a dishtowel.

Did I really just share that?

  One more before shot! It's not horrible, but it could be better!

See ya later elbow! This part was actually super easy. Super messy, but super easy! We have an awesome neighbor who came over with his Sawzall and cut it down for us.

Next, I picked out some granite, that was a pretty fun morning in a hard hat! I went with Giallo Santo. I liked the overall lightness and specs of black, brown and white that matches everything you see with the space now opened to the living room furniture too.

What do you think? So much better right? My absolute favorite part is our new seating area! Obviously, we don't have a ton of counter top space, so every little bit helps!

Old, out dated sink!

New under mounted sink & faucet. The old sink was 50/50 and this one is 60/40. So, one side is a little bigger and it's deeper, which I really love! Plus, with this faucet's neck I can fill a pot with water while resting it in the middle! Yay, to the simple things!

 A couple more before and after shots...



We still have lots to do to get the kitchen how we want it, but I wanted to share the progress!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cookie Cutter Pancakes

I had this super simple idea yesterday while I was making pancakes for my little lady. We have all made Mickey Mouse pancakes and other shapes I'm sure. Why not try cookie cutters?! I grabbed my Halloween cookie cutters and this is what I did.

Poured the mix into the cookie cutters.

Added some fresh blueberries. What breakfast is complete without fresh fruit?

A couple of tips:

-Spray your cookie cutters with cooking spray.
-Let your pancake bubble a little, then remove your cookie cutter. If needed, use a knife to go around the sides to remove.
-I hope this is obvious, but don't use a plastic cookie cutter on a hot pan!

Now, we have some pumpkins and ghosts!  (Boo! as my little one would say!)

Of course, your ghost's will need some blueberries for eyes too!

The eyes probably won't last long! Pancakes are so much more fun to eat this way!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Color, Color, Color!

Why is it everytime we work on the house we go right past our own bedroom? Oh yeah, that's right because no one else sees it. Well, that plan works for a while, but eventually, you get tired of seeing the same boring thing everyday. Even if no one else sees your bedroom, YOU still see it!!

Below is the BRUTAL Before. Plain, plain, plain! The grey and yellow stays though... I LOVE grey & yellow!

I'm not an interior designer, I wish! I would have to say one of my favorite designers is David Bromstad. I just love him and his designs! So, like David, I found my inspiration and went from there.   

My inspiration, this painting. It was a wedding present. The sunrise on our wedding day! How cool is that?

I found this fabric at Home Fabrics. It's perfect! Greys, yellows, browns, blacks... The lady at the store was trying to help me find another color to add to my curtains. She kept showing me neutral browns and greys. No, no, no! When I finally checked out with the fabric I picked, I got an, "I didn't expect that!" I knew I was on the right track then. If you know me, you know I hate to be predictable!

So, why did I need another color and what color did I pick?!
 A great navy-ish blue to add as a band to my curtains!

This is what I did:

New bay window curtain rod: This unfortunately, was my most expensive item.
4 new curtain panels: Made by me, cheap - cost of 2 fabrics only.
2 New lamps: Found at Target.
3 additional pillows for the bed: Yellow and grey from Target, blue pillow made by me from my left over fabric. (Obviously, to tie in the blue bands in the curtains.)

 And... we can't forget new puppy beds that match! Also, made by me!

The BRUTAL Before again... just incase you forgot how BRUTAL it was! Did you even notice the great bay window? Probably not!

Check it out now! Such an improvement!! Yay for color and a sewing machine!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cavatappi Pomodoro

I'm always looking for super easy meals. I hate when my meal list gets redundant! So, I got on the Kraft Recipe website and found this yummy dish!

Below are the ingredients you will need. I altered the recipe a little... check out the original here.

3 cups cavatappi, uncooked
1/4 cup - 1/2 cup real bacon bits
1/4 cup - 1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves  garlic, minced
2 cans (14.5 oz. each) Italian-style diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup  tomato paste
1 cup  KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Italian* Three Cheese Blend
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Then, saute the onions in 2 T. of butter for about 5 minutes, add the garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.

Add tomatoes and tomato paste; simmer 5 to 6 min. or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Drain the pasta, combine it with the bacon and sauce; toss to coat. 

Now, top with cheese and basil. I LOVE the smell of fresh basil! I served mine with French bread. I told you it was easy! Enjoy!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The "Doors" Are Up!

The "doors" are up in Little Lady's room! I haven't completely finished organizing the inside, but I had to share the "doors"! Especially because this is only my second sewing project! I can finally thread a sewing machine without looking at the manual! I'm really happy with the change. It opens up the space and the fabric is so much more fun than white doors!

I was going to buy metal curtain holdbacks with a bejeweled pink piece on the end, but I figured if my little one is going to be playing in this area I will wait until she gets a little bigger so it isn't something she can hit her head on. For now, a simple curtain tie made out of the valance fabric will work. Obviously, the ties are beyond easy to remove if you want to close the curtains so you can't see in the closet.

Here's a closer look at my fabrics. I wish I had a better picture of the pink. It has sparkles all over it!!!

Super simple project! All I did was connect my fabics to the ring clips on a shower bar! The curtains are still cute if this part shows. I just added the valance for more color! Of course, if you don't want this part to show the valance is a perfect choice!

The "Before & After"! I can't wait for all the imaginative play this thing will bring! When Little Lady closes the curtains the inside can be her little house... or it can be a stage... or a little princess tower... "Let your hair down, Rapunzel!"


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