Wednesday, December 12

HOLIDAY CRAZE AND DESK MAKEOVER

Everyone seems to get caught up in the hype of holiday shopping...buy this gadget, get this jewelry, buy that plastic toy!  Well, not me.  I prefer practical, special, and meaningful. 
For example, I gave an antique desk a makeover for my little one. 
This is what the sad little thing looked like before I gave it some TLC.  Damaged top, broken hardware...


Lots of sanding, staining, priming, painting, waxing, new hardware, and voila!
  

 



 
Some sweet treats for my sweetie!
Now she has her own lovely space to create art or whatever her heart desires. 
I will be in the kitchen. :)
 

Monday, November 12

Time To Give Thanks

I am thankful for many blessings this year.  A healthy family, food in our bellies, and a roof over our heads are on the top of my list.  Today was a little bit different.  I was thankful for a gorgeous fall day, shared with family, that involved drinking lots of warm coffee, raking leaves of many colors, and soaking up the sun after weeks of cool air that chilled us to the bones.

 

Last year, Santa brought my little one a shiny, new, red sled and a snow castle/snowball making kit
(I love the fact that the big guy must have an account with L.L. Bean.)
Although we didn't get to break in these toys last year, I have a feeling that we will be giving them a whirl this winter.  We've been waiting all year to play in the snow.

Warmest Blessings













 

Sunday, October 21

Remember my love of lemons?  I am not talking about making lemonade, but rather, my cousin's yummy lemon poppy bread, and using a fabulous, lemon cream lotion that smells scrumptious and it makes my hands feel AMAZING.  I am constantly washing my hands (since having a child with severe food allergies makes me paranoid about germs and any cross contamination.)  My hands feel like they have been through winter, even in the summer time.  J.R. Watkins hand & body lotions to the rescue!  They are pure heaven to my hands:  Lemon Cream, Mango, Vanilla, Lavender, Grapefruit and more.
 
Well, I like I said before, I must be living under a rock.  I am thrilled to have discovered these lotions and you can buy them directly from J.R. Watkins online.  They are on the OCTOBER SPECIALs for $8.99 USD each.  Just click on the J.R. Watkins button on the right and use my id#397395 when ordering.  These products are wonderfully yummy folks. The natural body care smells divine and the natural extracts & gourmet spices are fantastic.  My ultimate favorite: Organic Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract.   I use it in just about everything I bake...including my pancakes :) 
Be sure to click on the Monthly Specials to take advantage of the other goodies before Halloween! 
Sale ends October 31st.  NO TRICKS!  JUST TREATS!

Wednesday, October 10

It's Fall and Gluten-Free Soup's On!

We just returned from a much needed, sunny, warm vacation by the sea and came home to cooler weather that reminded me of how much I love Fall.  The chilly air urged me to dust off my huge IKEA kettle (actually, it's not that dusty because I love it and use it alot) to get rockin' and cookin'!

Since mini-me has picked up yet another bug from kindergarten, I chose to whip up a batch of my chunky-chicken-noodle soup from scratch.   I don't have soup recipes, I always just wing it and it they always come out to be the most delicious soups (so I'm told.) There is NO skimping going on here with my ingredients.
 
I first start by baking skinless chicken breast tenders in a bath of organic milk (soy or cow cream, whatever you fancy) and Earth Balance (or regular butter) to keep them from drying out.  It only takes about 30 minutes at 350 degrees F, so while they are in the oven, my kettle heats just enough olive oil to cover the bottom on medium/high heat.  Add a chopped onion, some chopped carrots (a small bag of large ones or baby ones), and a bunch of celery with leaves (or celery seeds if you don't have any).  Once these veggies soften a bit, I add a bag of frozen cut green beans (and sometimes 1/2 a bag of frozen peas & carrots).  Then I like to sprinkle on dried basil, parsley, salt, and sometimes oregano.  Again, no measuring...I just eyeball it and it looks to be about a tablespoon...I just sprinkle enough to dust everything in the pot.  After a few minutes I add 1 quart of chicken stock (be sure it is gluten-free.)  I let it bubble, and then add another quart, bring to bubble, and then add another.  So, I use about 3.  Once it bubbles again, the chicken may be almost done, so take it out of the oven.  Keep a large cutting board nearby with a fork and a nice large chopping knife.  So, when the broth is most likely bubbling, I add a 1/2 box of GLUTEN FREE pasta and cook per directions.  I LOVE Trader Joe's corn spiral pasta.  It is awesome, and tastes like regular wheat pasta.  Now, if you don't need to go Gluten-Free, just stick to whatever you have in your pantry then.  While the noodles cook, time to chop up the chicken into small chunks on the cutting board (I like small bite size for little ones.) When the noodles are done, add the chicken.  Finally, I like to add 2-4 cups of cold filtered water to help cool down the soup.  Before serving anyone bowls of my soup, I always have to add a few ice cubes to the bowls, and then fill with soup before serving, so it cools nicely.  


My kettle is HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY!
 
I make such a big batch, that I always have enough to freeze in small containers to have on hand for quick and easy kid-size meals.
 
See?  NO SKIMPING!  Yummy, chunky, chicken noodle soup!
 
I like top my soup with fresh Romano or Parmasean cheese. 
Whatever you fancy.  Enjoy!

Sunday, September 30

I've Been Going Nut-Free Nutty!

The summer has come and gone, and I deeply apologize for not updating my blog the past few months.  I do not have enough words to accurately describe the stressful feeling inside me as I have been preparing the love of my life to experience the joys of kindergarten.  I thank heaven that I discovered the The Nut-Free Mom Blog, which, to me, has been holding my hand on this journey.  She has been my go-to source of information, as she truly understands the fear of having a child with a life-threatening food allergy.  I have had no experience as far as what to expect from a public school regarding the safety issue in this matter.  I have been homeschooling for the past 5 years, in a dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free bubble and stepping out of our safety/comfort zone has been sheer terror.  Sure, there is a nut-free table in the cafeteria/dining room, but that doesn't sugar coat the fact that some parents send their kids whatever they want for lunch---PB & J.  It seems like to be a staple in every kids diet.  How about splurging on some sunflower seed butter?  It looks like peanut butter, it's delicious, and it's healthy.  I would not recommend soy nut butter or almond butter.  As a peanut-butter thing lover, I am proud to report that I have been very pleased to eat a whopping spoon of this fine substitute right out of the jar.  I even made AWESOME peanut-free peanut butter cups a long time ago, but since I ate them all (my child must be insane not to like them) I thought it was in the best interest of my rear end that I didn't immediately make another batch knowing full well that I would be the only nut to devour them all.  It seems to me that I am way over due to make more.   So, I will just save the cheap, nasty-tasting soy nut butter for the following traditional project that every kid should be able to make:


PEANUT-FREE, BIRDSEED, PINE CONE BIRD FEEDERS
(What a tongue twister.  Say that 10 times!)
 
With a big sigh, I can honestly say that I now feel comfortable, as my mini-me is in a school that provides excellent care.  So far, there is a never ending stress of safety being the first priority for children, and curriculum is second.  (Whew! Take a deep breath, Mama.) I have been impressed with the school so far, but my child is disappointed.  She complains (in so many words) that she is not being mentally challenged enough.  Perhaps homeschooling should be my top priority?  We'll see.  I have been extremely busy focusing on so many other family and business issues in life that the idea of having to add homeschooling to my never ending to-do list has a good chance of sending me to a loonie bin, which I never would have expected.  I LOVE my child and I deeply miss her, everyday as I leave her walking the intimidating, long and endless halls of elementary school, as if from a horror film.  The entire staff is wonderful, so as I drive away, sobbing and wiping my eyes so I don't veer off the road, I remind myself that she is smart and I prefer that she continue her education in the Homeschool of Mama, but I must let her experience fun in kindergarten, at least for a little while.

As I close this post, I will say that it has been relatively easy to go nutty with so many issues on my plate, but I have remained amazingly strong...just the way I like my coffee. 
 

Saturday, June 2

Roaring 20's Chair Makeover

I picked up this little chair from the Gdub last summer and it looked cute, but just so sad.
It has the original manufacturer's tag still attached underneath dated 1926. 


Strangely enough, this Aztec looking cover was the second cover.  I don't dare show you the one underneath-it was scary.  I happily removed all of it (yuk!)  I gave her a gentle sanding, a coat of primer, and finished with a coat of enamel.  Then I used a new foam cushion, cut it to fit, and covered it with a nice toile fabric using a staple gun.  Voila.


Isn't she pretty?  I am sure she will find a good home.
I proudly donated her yesterday to my local habitat for humanity.  :) 

Thursday, May 17

Table Makeovers

I painted furniture for family over the years and thought of starting a business last year.
I honestly do not have enough assistance, resources, or time for that just yet.  So, I decided to first start with small pieces to finish by hand for fun!

This was my first table makeover that I donated last year.

 
It went from yukky brown to shabby chic lavender.



These two tables screamed for help.  They looked horrendous.


After some major sanding, primer, and paint, they both look like new.



Double ooh la la!  They look like pretty French end tables.  I will be loading them in my car today to donate to my local Habitat for Humanity.  I hope they find a good home.  :)


Sunday, April 15

Four Oh Birthday Weekend

I celebrated my birthday at home this past weekend with my family.  It was heart warming to receive a gift from my 5 year old.  She picked these dainty flowers from our yard and wrapped them scotch tape.  They just make my heart giggle every time I look at them!  What is the fascination with roll after roll of this flat, translucent, sticky, paper-like ribbon that adheres to just about everything?
I love it!

We had a family brunch of my favorite artery clogging breakfast foods:  eggs, bacon, hash brown potatoes, and coffee.  I drank my gluten-free greens to cancel them out.  Later that evening, Grammy and Grampy babysat while my hubbie took me out to my favorite restaurant, "The Prickly Pear", which serves modern Mexican cuisine.  We started out with fresh guacamole, which was made at our table, served with fresh multi-colored corn chips.  It is my favorite!  I would have had it as my main meal, if it wasn't for the grilled salmon quesadilla that was topped with cilantro pesto.  Everything on the menu is fantastic.  I highly suggest a visit here if one ever visits Mooresville, NC. 
We celebrated with dessert at home with a decadent, chocolate, triple layer birthday cake from La Patisserie.
We had to share it with the entire family.   
I promise to run another 5K this month to wipe out that cake!

A few days ago, I finished reading my daughter her first chapter book.


It is my favorite book.  I still own my copy from childhood.  It has been 60 years since Elwyn Brooks White wrote this wonderful story.  I was so excited to read it to my little girl, and the fact that she liked made me shed a tear.  For the finale of my big day, we all watched the newer movie together.  It is not exactly like the classic movie I remember, but still it is a very beautiful story.  It gives me a new fondness for spiders.  
I had a blessed 40th birthday.

Cocoa Powder Room

We have our house up for sale and I figured perhaps that "TinkerBell Green" is not a safe color for a downstairs powder room.  This picture makes it look like a nice, soft and soothing green.


Do not be fooled by such trick lighting, as it really looks bright green.  It is almost flourescent and quite alarming when one's eyes get a glance at it while passing by the lu.
I figured neutral color would be safer.  So, it is now a softer shade of cocoa.  It seems rather pleasing to the eye now.


My daughter calls it, "boring brown".  The actual name is "Aviary Nest", from the Earth Collection by Freshairechoice paint that I am in love with since it has no VOCs.  I think a nice basket to house rolls of tissue add a nice touch.  Would a little round nest with some aqua, egg-shaped soaps be too much?

Monday, April 9

A Tie Dyed Easter!

We have been very busy spring cleaning for showings and I am sorry that I have neglected my blog.  We had a bit of fun on Easter Sunday.  We colored our eggs to look tie dyed!

It was very easy and quick!  The idea is from Family Fun magazine, refreshed by Pink and Green Mama.
Why not color eggs for any occasion?  How about a spring brunch?  The colors just pop so nicely on a white plate.  How about a milk glass cake plate?  I am very excited and hope to win one this week that I am bidding on ebay.  It's not just for for cakes.  I am thinking it will cradle gorgeous, colorful fruit to sketch and then house cupcakes for a day.  Who doesn't love an adorably decorated cupcake, or muffins and scones?  Oh goodness.  I am getting the munchies for breakfast goodies and a steaming cup of coffee to accompany a plate of freshly baked pastries.

I hope everyone had a wonderful and blessed Easter.
Happy Spring!

Wednesday, March 14

Top 'O The Morning To Ya!

I surprised my little one with a ST. Patrick's Day/Fairy Garden themed sensory box.  This cute idea comes from the lovely "Pink and Green Mama" that is just bursting with colorful ideas!  As a homeschool teacher, I simply love her blog. 

I raided my pantry for the lentils and beans.  The mardi gras coins are from a dollar store.  The colorful gems and polished stones are for fish aquariums that I found at somethingmart.


I just love the little roaming gnome and toadstool which are from the lawn and garden department of  somethingmart.  I can hardly wait to recycle these bits for the real fairy garden that we will make outside soon. 

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!
 

Monday, February 13

Rice Fun Sensory Box

We recently had indoor fun making some new projects with rice.  Sensory boxes!

This is our "Under the Sea" box.  White rice was turned aqua blue for some indoor agua fun!
For accessories, I simply added whatever I could find around the house:  tiny mermaid toys, pretty glass stones, shells, and a fake aquarium plant.

This Valentine box has some cute dollar Valentine items and some red gadgets from around the house:  measuring cups, mini Barbie puppies, and dollhouse chairs.

She said, "what a bunch of lovely things to play with!"
She gave me all her love in the mailbox most of the afternoon.   ;)
These wonderful ideas come from my new favorite blog that I am following, Pink and Green Mama.
I adore her and all the amazing ideas she has to share. 
(click here for the directions for the sensory box)

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!
SHARE THE LOVE! 
XOXO

Friday, February 3

Let's Go Fly a Kite!


It's a beautiful day!  Another amazingly perfect day to spend outside swinging on a hammock and listening to sweet tunes played on the harmonica by my sweet love.  She's pretty good! 



It was just breezy enough for her to fly a kite.

Wednesday, February 1

Pool Party in Winter Weather

This unpredictable weather has been awesome!  It felt like spring as we enjoyed some fun in the sun with a picnic and a pool party.

 This was a puppy pool party for this doggie loving gal because there were no Barbies in this Barbie pool.


I wonder if we will get any snow so that we can try out our new Christmas sled. 
For now, we are just going to enjoy this short-sleeve, capri-wearing weather.

Wednesday, January 11

GOOD EGG!


The results of my daughter's annual blood allergy test are in:  no more egg allergy.  We are thrilled! 
Our favorite thing to say about eggs has always been a quote from Max, "Bad Egg!" 
Now we are happy with what Ruby says, "Good Egg!" 
We can hardly wait to try all sorts of new dishes that contain eggs. 
Hooray!

Monday, January 2

Happy New Year!

Best Wishes to everyone in the world as we step into 2012.
Cheers to good health and many blessings!