Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pinterest Project Review

I really like the idea of sharing Pinterest project hits or misses, so I thought I would start doing that here when I have tried a project/recipe/idea etc that I got from Pinterest.  If you would like to pin this item, please click on through to the original post and pin it from there.

The other night for dinner I made Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon Syrup

Let me first say that these smelled absolutely divine as they were cooking. I could hardly wait to finish making them so I could finally try them.  I was not disappointed.  My kids ate them with regular syrup (I had a TON of leftover cinnamon syrup that today will become part of cinnamon rolls), but I think the cinnamon syrup is the only way to go with these.  And that is coming from someone who is very particular about only using pure maple syrup.  But with these pumpkiny delights, cinnamon syrup is perfect. I added some morsels in mine, to give them a bit more depth.  The kids loved the pancakes with chocolate chips, and I also did some with Craisins and some with dried pomegranate (very similar to the Craisins, but sweeter).  The only change I made to the batter was adding a bit more milk, simply because I prefer my pancakes a little flatter, not so puffy. 

So I count these as a big success.  My kids gobbled them up very quickly and I enjoyed them thoroughly! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fall Decor

I am finally beginning to feel settled in our new (rental) home.  Most boxes are unpacked and we have found a bit of a routine.  It has taken some time to adjust to Lincoln leaving early in the morning to catch the ferry, getting the kids off to school on my own, following a bus schedule, getting 5 kids through homework each night, eating dinner at 7:15, getting all three girls to gymnastics twice a week, getting 3 kids to the church most Wednesday nights, volunteering in three classrooms, and counseling my children through this move.  But we are starting to get it under control.  In all the craziness, I felt like Halloween really sneaked up on me.  I didn't go all out with my Halloween decor this year, just put a few things out to get us in the spirit of it.  I ended up really liking the simplicity of it.  It kind of came down to black and white.

After feeling like fall had caught me unawares, for the first time I seriously considered going straight to Christmas decorations after Halloween.  I just didn't want Christmas to sneak up on me too.  I managed to resist the urge, however, and went ahead and put up the Thanksgiving stuff.


I am still worried about Christmas coming too fast, but I am trying to plan well and be on top of things.  I am always excited to get in the Christmas spirit!

Friday, August 31, 2012

A New Chapter

What a crazy summer it has been.  Let me 'splain.  No.  It is too much.  Let me sum up.  (Guess what movie I just watched?)  We took a long trip across country in July.  We visited Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, Yellowstone, Mt Rainier, and the Redwoods, among other things.  We drove and camped and played on the Oregon coast and went to a rodeo and visited friends and family.  It was amazing.  Each time I take a big road trip I am in awe of this beautiful and diverse country we live in.  It was so fun to watch my children experience so many new things and new places.  Perhaps, as I try to get back into blogging, I will share a bit more about our vacation adventures. 

And speaking of adventures, our family is about to jump into another one.  In one week we will be picking up and moving to the Pacific Northwest as my better half begins a new job in Seattle, Washington.  We are so excited about the adventure, but leaving America's Dairyland is a little bittersweet.  Our time here has been truly wonderful.  We have thoroughly enjoyed small town  rural living.  We have made so many amazing friends here.  Wisconsin will always hold a special place in our hearts. The feelings I will always have about living here are summed up in this blog post from four years ago.  Click on over and read it.  Thank you to everyone and everything that has been a part of our lives here. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Persian Chickpea Salad

So I got this amazing recipe from my friend, Lourdes. It is so delicious I could eat it all day.  Luckily, it's not that bad for you either.  But here's the kicker:  The main ingredient is chickpeas and my husband seems to have developed an allergy to them.  I'm afraid most of the rest of my family will refuse to try it.  Here's the thing; there are lots of ingredients in this that most people wouldn't think go together.  Mint, cumin, cayenne, lemon juice, cinnamon.  But I tell you, if you're looking for a light, vegetarian, summer meal that comes together quickly, this is for you.

Persian Chickpea Salad

1 lemon
1 T olive oil (I substituted grapeseed oil, I thought the flavor might be better in it.)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1 Can (19 oz) chickpeas
1/2 small red onion
1 4-in. piece seedless cucumber
3 plum tomatoes
2 T thinly sliced fresh mint
2 oz queso fresco or feta cheese (I used feta.  I love feta.)

Toasted pita bread

1. For dressing, juice lemon to measure 3 T juice.  Whisk together lemon juice, oil, cinnamon, cumin,salt, and cayenne pepper in bowl.

2. For salad, drain and rinse chickpeas in colander.  Chop onion half and place in strainer, rinse under cold running water.  Drain onion and pat dry with paper towel.

3. Chop cucumber; seed and chop tomatoes.  Add chickpeas, onions, cucumber, and tomatoes to dressing; toss to coat.  Thinly slice mint and fold into salad.

4. Dice queso fresco.  Serve each salad in toasted pita bread, topped with queso fresco or feta.

Yield: 4 servings

I am going to try substituting a different kind of bean so my husband can have this.  It's so so good.  Any suggestions on what other bean I should try?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Progress, finally.

Oh boy, has this basement project taken forever!  The funny thing about it is that when we actually focus and just work on it, we can move along pretty quickly.  Unfortunately, we go for months at a time with no ambition for working on it.  We are currently at a point where we just are so sick of having this hanging over our heads and so ready to have the house on the market and so sick of drywall pieces all over the place and sick of not QUITE having a guest room, etc etc that we are just completely motivated to get. it. done.

So yesterday we devoted our entire day to it.  Since it is Memorial Day weekend the kids didn't have soccer games and there was nothing else scheduled to take our time.  It was just the kind of Saturday we needed.  We started at about 9:30 am and by 2:00, we were done hanging drywall.  We went out to lunch (and ice cream!) together to celebrate, then came home and started on the next stage: Cutting the metal corner beading, setting screws that didn't get set the first time around, and mudding and taping.  We are hoping to have the mudding and taping done by next Saturday. 

After that is done, we'll prime and paint, get carpet installed, and get the trim in.  We're also going to try our hand at staining concrete.  We really like the look of it so rather than put tile in the hallway, we thought we'd give that a try.  We will also be pulling out some of the carpet in the family room.  We want to remove the carpet from in front of the door and under the table .  That will get stain and an area rug. 

 In the picture below, the area to the right of the closet will be a utility closet.  It has the wiring for the cable and Dish (which we don't have hooked up) and other such stuff.

So basically, this month will be crazy busy.  But then, aren't they all? 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Every heart beats true...

I want to share a quick little project I did recently.  If you've been reading here for long, you know that the color scheme in my house has been gradually changing over to red, white, and blue.  Not the Americana burgandy, navy, and cream, but a much lighter and brighter version of the pallet.  My summer decor always leans toward the patriotic, so my house feels especially festive this year. 

Months ago I was given this cute little side table:

At first I thought it was going to be white.  I have been painting lots of furniture white lately, and I knew it would be OK, but I realized what I really wanted on this table was a pop of color.  Then it hit me:  It had to be shiny fire engine red. 

It is such a happy bright spot in the room.

Doesn't it look amazing next to my beeutiful couch?  The couch is a work in progress.  I promise it WILL look fabulous with the couch when all is said and done. 

I made a miniature rag rug to put under the lamp to keep it from scratching the table. 

And I placed some fun items on the shelves.
A patriotic childrens' book,

a basket of blocks I made for my oldest her first Christmas,

and this book from the early 1940s. 

Here, take a look inside.  It's so cool.

Our cat is an avid reader.

I can't wait to have my couch back together so you can get a look at the whole room.  I have company coming in a little over a month and my goal is to have it back together before then so we actually have a place to sit when they are here!  Of course, our other goal is to have the basement room finished as well.  Two huge projects.  It's nice to have a deadline, though, even if it is self-imposed.  Tomorrow we'll be working in the basement all day.  It's do or die time, folks.  It would give me great satisfaction to be able to post a picture of completed drywall tomorrow night.  'Til then...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Summer is upon us...

It's been about a month since I last posted here, but this time it was a conscious decision.  I just have so very much on my plate these days, that I decided I needed to let something go for a while.  I'm still very busy, but I actually missed blogging.  The funny thing is, I had decided I wanted to "grow my blog" this year, but in making that goal I put unnecessary pressure on myself and started to resent it.  So yeah, that kind of backfired. 

Today I thought I'd share what I've got going on with my gardens.  That's been kind of top priority of late, so that's what is on my mind.  I have two decent sized gardens: One here in my back yard, and one plot I rent from Lands End.  I also have a teeny tiny container herb garden.  More on that later. 

Here in my back yard I planted scallions, lettuce, beets, cabbage, carrots, onions, green beans, and peppers.  I need to have the green beans here because I need to be able to check them every day.  All of the cooler crops I planted here because there is a section of my garden that is a tad on the shady side later in the day. 

(Flower box I built.  Still need to build another.)
At my Lands End garden I have yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and tomatoes and potatoes still need to be planted.  I like to put the things that take up a lot of space there.  This is my first time growing my tomatoes at that location, and I'm hoping the all day sunshine will help them do better.  I have not had much luck with them here in the back yard garden.  Fingers crossed. 

A couple of days ago I built a planter box for my herb garden.  I've mentioned a time or two on this blog about some barn boards I, salvaged a couple years ago.  Little by little those boards are becoming useful things.  Some of them became the planter boxes for my deck.  They are just kind of thrown together, which is totally OK with me.  I love the rustic look of them.  The feet on the herb garden box are from an old couch we just threw away.  I knew I would find a project to reuse them on!

(I think the lemon thyme is beautiful.)

In the herb garden I have planted dill, lemon thyme, greek oregano, sweet basil, rosemary, and cilantro.  I absolutely LOVE the smell of the garden and I'm happy to have it right here on my deck where I can go out and sniff it whenever I want!

Meet Me Monday Party @ You're Talking Too Much

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mid-April? What?

Wondering where I've been lately? Haven't missed me at all? Wait, don't tell me. Life has been running on fast forward it seems. I have definitely been busy, just not blogging. Here are a few glimpses of what I've been doing:

Not to mention the things I don't have pictures of yet,like painting my kitchen island, putting up corbels by the tile backsplash, enjoying a visit from my parents and sister, and so on. Hopefully soon I'll get around to blogging some details about some of these projects.

'Til then...