Mmmm, lunch.

Wednesday, September 30

I'm often at a loss as to what to make for lunch. I don't like to put as much effort as I do in dinner. It just seems like I'm stretching myself too thin. But every once in a while I come across a recipe that inspires me to put forth the extra effort. My dear friend Cheila of What's Goin' Down Episode made a WONDERFUL lunch for me when I visited one afternoon. She acted as if it was nothing to whip up but it was one of the BEST lite lunches I've had in some time. It was so delicious I asked her for the recipe and made some for myself.

I love the peppery taste of the endive mixed with the sweet taste of the salad mix. It really hit my missing lunch spot!
If you are feeling kinda blah about lunch too, you must try her recipe!

Cut chicken breast into 1/3" cubes.
2 slices of red onion chopped into tiny cubes
celery 2 stalks chopped into tiny pieces
a handful of cherry flavored craisins
1/4th of an apple, cut into tiny matchsticks
plop some mayo in until it looks right and season the whole thing with salt and pepper.
scoop into endive
(I found my endive at Giant Foods here in PA) I went everywhere else even other Giant Stores and couldn't find this vegetable. So it could be difficult to procure. You could also try a Farmer's Market or whole foods store but I have to say it's just not the same without it!

Faux Beams make me BEAM!

Tuesday, September 29

Okay, this IS the coolest thing. These are STYROFOAM wood beams. They are light and easy to install so you can furnish your ceiling without any 'professional' help. And they look totally real! I saw them on an episode of My Big Amazing Renovation on HGTV.

Happy Monarch Day!

Thursday, September 24

I woke up this morning and sat in the living room with my laptop. Eventually, I noticed a scratching noise coming from the jar we were keeping the chrysalis in. Brian had said that he thought it would start to emerge at earliest by this morning. But sure enough, I looked inside and there was a full sized Monarch butterfly scratching at the walls of the jar to escape.

I ran into the bedroom and woke up Brian to tell him. He got up faster than I think I've ever seen him get up before and all four of us followed him out to the deck to set it free. Both babies (that's what I call them) watched from the door, very skeptical. Molly cried when we tried to get her close to the jar. Lily was brave enough to stand next to the table the jar sat upon but that's as far as either of them got.

Eventually, we gently flipped the jar upside down and the butterfly found its way into the outside world and flew away as fast as it could. We were a little disappointed that the big show happened while we were asleep but the excitement of setting it free gave us some consolation:)

Repro Depot Does it Again.

Wednesday, September 23

As if Repro Depot couldn't get any cooler, they are releasing two different surface pattern books with a CD containing patterns you can use to make your own stationery, crafts and anything you can think of. They have Folk and Flora. The collection also includes stationary, notecards and a journal. The price is $24.99, not too bad. Would make a GREAT gift for your fellow crafty friends:)

Rain Gutter Bookshelves/Wainscoting

Monday, September 21

This is just the BEST idea from The Stories of A to Z. Looks just like trim but also functions as a shelf! Beth writes about some pretty amazing ideas. Also check out her inexpensive 'wainscoting wallpaper' post. Not as cheap looking as you may think as they are textured AND paintable not to mention a lot easier to install!

Let Me Introduce....The Elusive Monarch Chrysalis

Thursday, September 17

Brian and Lily left early one morning before school in search of one of these. I wholly expected them to return empty handed but when they came through the door, Lily was excited to show me this.

Brian said they looked and looked for half an hour then found this in a bushel of milkweed. We have a birdcage that we are thinking of moving this little cocoon to. Then (assuming we don't kill it in the process) we plan on setting it free. Isn't it strange how they all have that thin gold line? So amazing!

Brian had his heart set on finding one this year with Lily. As a 6-year old boy, he had sought these one afternoon. He told me that he searched and searched and searched and became so frustrated and disappointed that he sat down and cried. Then prayed to God for help in finding one and literally as he looked up from his prayer he saw one dangling from a leaf above his head.

Isn't that sweet:) He was a little embarrassed about mentioning it on this blog but I told him I'd say he was 6 instead of 8;)

Oh my! Oh my! Apple Pie!

Wednesday, September 16

Oh my! I'm only a semi-fan of COLD apple pie but these look too cute and easy to be true! Maybe someone could get me one of these mini pie molds from William Sonoma for Christmas! Only $9.99. If you made these for your playgroup you'd be the envy of all the other soccer moms:) And check out their PUMPKIN MOLD!

Free stuff!

Tuesday, September 15

Check out these DIY Vintage Style Oil and Vinegar labels FREE for download! Speaking of vinegar, I could have used one of these today. I searched high and low in my haphazard pantry for vinegar and found none. That and paprika.

Christmas Idea #1 Custom Modern Oil Painting

Thursday, September 10

I'm going to try and post some DIY Christmas Ideas up until December. Because when you're doing a DIY Christmas, now is the time to start. NOT two weeks before. Trust me, I speak from experience.

Now, before you throw your hands up in the air and say I CAN'T PAINT! Just wait. You really can and I will tell you how. Okay, you might need some artistic ability to do this but, IMHO, only as much as any high school art student....and some knowledge of Photoshop or comparable program.

First create some vector art. Here's a great tutorial on how to easily make your own.

Then take your vector art saved as a jpeg file to an Office Max and have then blow it up to the size of your canvas. You might have to print this out in separate sheets and tape them together but if you can get it in one sheet, it will help you down the road. It is best to print out in color but if that's not an option you can always try it in black and white. But keep in mind, it might be harder for you down the road.

I like to say that the bigger the modern art....the better. Go out and buy the biggest and I mean THE BIGGEST canvas at Michaels. Be sure to bring a coupon with you. Here's a tip, Michaels takes JoAnn Fabric coupons which are a dime a dozen if you pick some up at the store. And they're always 40% off.

Now take your blow up paper and pin it to the back of your canvas. Shine a light on the back and trace your art onto the canvas with a light pencil. You will probably have to move the light as you move draw the canvas. And you might have to use more pins to in the area you are tracing. Remember to pin from back to front of the canvas.

Now just fill in the art like a paint by number with either oil or acrylic paint. Oil takes longer to dry but is best for appearance and correcting mistakes. This project is easy because there is no blending of shades or shadows. It's all very opaque and the lines are sharply defined.

Your recipient will be shocked and amazed by your gift. People will come over and admire your discussion piece. And don't feel bad about not telling them it was traced. A magician never reveals his secrets and neither should an artist:)

If I were rich....

Wednesday, September 9

I'd have a personal chef.

Sometimes I wish Brian cooked. Not just once in a while but everyday and in gourmet ways. Like this woman.

Is that so terrible?!

I fantasize of nights when I sit down to a plate of this (above) without having to dig through my cabinets for a single pan.

I'm definitely NOT one of those people who think their food tastes better when they put their blood, sweat and tears into it.

I watch Ina Garten cater to her husband who smiles at the camera in a 'life is good' way and I feel jealousy. He scours the fridge and finds homemade espresso bean coffee ice cream or leftover grilled herb shrimp. I scour my fridge and find expired yogurt and hardened loaves of bread.

I can kinda cook, but I don't have the fortitude to do it well everyday. Where's the time? Where's the excitement? For me, that sort of thing takes literally ALL DAY. To buy all the ingredients, to cook it, to clean up. Can someone share their little tips and tricks on how to be a great cook without having to devote your life to it?

If I had a playroom....

Tuesday, September 8

Sometimes I see the cutest toys that I think would look perfect in a playroom. Unfortunately, we don't have enough space for one in our home. But when I saw this in LMNOP it made me want to empty out our guest room/sewing room/exercise room and make one. I've seen rugs like this at IKEA but this danish company has the brilliant idea to leave the roads bare. So creative. But I also loved this because the little houses are from my childhood. I don't know where my mother had got them but I remember them quite well.

If I were more nomadic....

Friday, September 4

Check out these very chic airstream interiors!
Makes me want to pack up the kids for a month and hike on over to yellowstone.

My first chicken

Wednesday, September 2

This is the story of my first chicken. I've always been intimidated by whole birds. When we host Thanksgiving I have my mom come over and cook the turkey. But after watching Ina Garten I thought it was time to take the bull by the horns (or should I say the chicken by the legs) and just do it already. I thought a very small chicken would be the perfect size for our family and the perfect size to experiment with. So I read a few chicken tutorials on and watched a few videos on youtube. And in the end, we all gathered around the table and ate this....

I was really beyond pleased with the finished bird. I cooked it for a whole 2 hours! Buttered, brinned and basted. Brian said it was tender while crispy on the outside and I believe his compliments because he'll tell me if I cook something gross.

And no, I didn't leave in the gizzards:)

Molly's Morning Ritual

Tuesday, September 1

I was sitting on the sofa when in came Molly with a big, proud, smile and a lot of some strange clay colored smudge on her hands and face. No, it's not what you might first think. But for a second I too was panicked then....oh yes, of course, she got into my purse....again....and broke into my expensive clinic lipstick. You'd be surprise how difficult that stuff is to get off! It's thick and viscous. She cried and cried as I took the washcloth to her face. I couldn't help but feel sorry for her. She was just trying to do it like mommy.