Daily Life, DIY, House & Home, Parenting, Pictures

The Toddler Room (An Update)

It’s Friday! It’s Friday! It’s Friday and it’s a holiday weekend! Horray!

It seems like every time we have a long weekend, we try to fit in all of the items on our “to do” list (in addition to carving out some social activities and family time). This Memorial Day weekend is no exception. As you know, we’ve been working on a nursery to toddler room transformation and  I wanted to share some of our progress so far. In the next few days I’ll share all of the details on her fabulous new room and some of what I’m learning about transitioning from a crib to a toddler bed. In the meantime, enjoy!

Toddler Room Toddler Room Toddler Room Toddler Room Toddler Room

I can’t wait to share the finished product with all of you! Enjoy your Friday night!

Baking, DIY, Food, Pictures, Tutorials

Succulent Sundays: Homemade Stuffed Peppers (Recipe!)

I will never forget the day I was accused of being obsessed with green peppers. A friend of ours, who was also moving to the area, lived with us when my husband and I relocated to Kansas City after college. I took on the responsibility of cooking for the three of us and made a lot with green peppers. What can I say?! They’re delicious. Every time I make something with them, I think of this friend. So, G.L., this one is for you! A crunchy, munchy, melt in your mouth recipe for stuffed green peppers. From start to finish, this should only take you about 30 minutes. You’ll want to pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees before you begin. Don’t forget to compost your green pepper scraps when you’re done!

Homemade Stuffed Peppers

For this recipe you’ll need:

  • 3-4 Green Peppers
  • Shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese (~1 cup)
  • 8oz Tomato Sauce
  • Mexican or Spanish Rice (I used Uncle Bens)
  • 1 lb Ground Beef

Stuffed Peppers Recipe Under 30 Minutes

You’ll want to “gut” the green peppers (cut off the tops and use a spoon to take out their insides) before washing them. Set them aside for later.

Stuffed Peppers Recipe

In a large skillet, brown your beef (then drain before adding it back into the skillet).

Once drained, combine cooked rice (per the directions), beef, and tomato sauce. Stir.

Oven Baked Stuffed Peppers

Place your hollowed out peppers onto a baking sheet, stuff them (what kind of ‘stuffed peppers’ would these be otherwise?!), and top with cheese.

Stuffed Pepper Recipe In The Oven

(yummm! Cheese!)

Crunchy Stuffed Pepper Recipe

Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. The peppers will be softer than raw but still crisp (and delicious!).

Stuffed Pepper Recipe

Serve and enjoy!

Homemade Stuffed Pepper Recipe

 

 

 

Daily Life, DIY, House & Home, Pictures

The Little Change That Made A Huge Difference

Changing A Kitchen Faucet

 

Since moving into our home in 2009, my husband and I have put a lot of work into little projects that have transformed our house into a home. We completed a small, low-cost kitchen makeover, made changes to the guest bathroom, and most recently got around to decorating the entryway to our home. A few months ago when I turned the kitchen sink on to do dishes I was met with a nasty surprise…a shot of water right in the kisser. And then a leak. A leak that extended into the basement we’re working on. Awesome. Fantastic. (Not awesome or fantastic.)

To put it lightly, my husband and I are more on the creative/nerdy/not handy side of the spectrum so trying to figure out how to fix things is effing horrible a bit of a challenge. We’re learning. In the meantime, we’re so thankful to have some friends who enjoy taking things apart and putting them back together again. Once we figured out that the problem was with the sprayer, a friend of ours was able to help us work on it. We temporarily replaced it (knowing the goal was to eventually find a new faucet for a more permanent fix).

The problem was that I’m cheap and the kind of faucet I wanted wasn’t seeming to fall within the budget I was willing to set aside for the project. I knew I wanted a pull out faucet in brushed nickel with a dual spray/stream option and a soap dispenser (where the old sprayer used to be). I looked at Lowes. I looked at Home Depot. I looked online and I just couldn’t find the one. Replacing the faucet became somewhat of an empty idea in the back of my head. Until last weekend when we were at a birthday party for a friend of ours. I was in the kitchen and mentioned how much I liked their faucet (because, you know, I’m weird) when our friend told me about one he had seen at Costco on sale.

Costco?! Sale?! You can imagine my excitement when I saw my ideal kitchen faucet for only $59.99 (including the $20 instant rebate). SOLD! I couldn’t wait to put it in. We have never replaced a kitchen faucet before but the prospect of completing the project was thrilling. It took us a little over an hour from start to finish (don’t judge me, people who think it only should have taken a half hour) and completely transforms the look of the space. I love it. I looked online to see how much the retail value of the faucet we got was and it sells elsewhere for well over a hundred dollars. Needless to say, I’m feeling really good about the cost of this improvement. Here are some pictures of the process from start to finish:

Kitchen Faucet Before

Kitchen Faucet makeover

Mini kitchen transformation

replacing the kitchen faucet

kitchen faucet transformation

Kitchen Faucet

Mini Kitchen Transformation

Sometimes, it’s the little things that give a room a new look and feel.

 

DIY, Food, Pictures, Tutorials

Succulent Sundays: Pizza, Pizza! A Budget Friendly Recipe

If you love pizza as much as I do: This post is for you!

Farmer's Market Pizza

I love City Market. It’s a great way to find fresh, locally grown and seasonally appropriate produce and to connect with farmers in the area. Even though it’s not peak season yet, there are still a lot of great finds at the farmer’s market. I absolutely love Al Habashi Market. They’re my first choice when it comes to purchasing spices and my weekly indulgence of naan flat bread (which is what I used for the crust of the pizza). Last week I purchased some red bell peppers, spinach, cilantro, and cherry tomatoes from various vendors around the market all of which I incorporated into this delicious pizza. All in all this large, delicious pie came in at under $4.00.

To replicate this recipe you’ll need:

Farmer's Market Pizza

  • 1 1.5 c shredded cheese
  • Pasta sauce (to taste)
  • Handful of Spinach (chopped)
  • Cilantro (to taste)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 4 cherry tomatoes
  • Naan flatbread

Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees. Place the naan flatbread onto a baking sheet. If you’re using a thin piece of naan, I would suggest using two pieces with a little bit of cheese (which will act as glue) in between.

Spread the pasta sauce onto the crust.

Homemade Pizza Recipe

Chop cilantro and bell peppers and add them, along with a thin layer of cheese to pizza.

Homemade Pizza Recipe

Add another layer of cheese and then top with chopped spinach and sliced cherry tomatoes.

Homemade Pizza

Bake in oven for ~6 minutes or to your preference.

pizza

Serve & Enjoy with your favorite glass of red wine (or water, or milk, or your beverage of choice).

Homemade pizza recipe

Baking, DIY, Food, Pictures, Tutorials

Who Says You Can’t Have Cookies For Breakfast?!

If you’re a pearl clutcher who never (ever) eats sweets for breakfast, let me save you the five minutes and let you know right now that this post probably isn’t for you. A few years ago, when my dad was visiting, he ate an un-frosted cupcake for breakfast. My husband mentioned something to me in passing about it and it made me wonder…why do people seem to have such a stigma with what foods can be eaten during the day and when. You can’t have a cupcake for breakfast but somehow a muffin is fine. If you add an egg to it and serve it with hashbrowns and toast, suddenly a dinner steak turns into a breakfast steak. I wanted to take a couple of minutes to share a great breakfast cookie (gasp!) recipe with you. Calm down, it’s no different than having a slice of banana bread. I’m planning to eat one of these with some fruit and a cup of coffee in the morning. You can thank me once you’ve tried one. You’re welcome in advance.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1. Your favorite oatmeal cookie recipe (a mix would work just fine, too).

2. Frozen blueberries (I used about a cup and a half).

3. Dried 50% Less Sugar Cranberries (I used one cup).

It's An Ordinary Blog

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare your oatmeal cookie recipe like normal.

Add in frozen blueberries and dried cranberries into the mix.

Now you might be wondering what transforms this seemingly regular cookie (shhh!) into a “breakfast” cookie. It’s the….drum roll please…

Muffin Pan

Muffin pans (and the extra water from the frozen blueberries)!

Which you should coat with a non-stick cooking spray before adding in the mix. I used the Market Pantry brand from Target:

Oatmeal Breakfast Cookie Recipe

Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Let these bad boys bake in the oven for about twenty minutes (or until you can stick in a toothpick and have it come out clean). Here’s what they look like when they come out of the oven:

Berry Good Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

They come out so thick, soft, and delicious. Perfect with a steaming cup of cocoa or a nice coffee to start your day.

Berry Oatmeal Breakfast Cookie Recipe

Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies Recipe

DIY, Food, Pictures, Tutorials

Homemade French Fries (With Pictures!)

Happy Succulent Sunday, everyone! Today I want to show you how to make easy homemade french fries.

I served these with Jenny-O turkey burgers and, instead of using a bun, I put it between two pieces of lettuce and added a little bit of cheese.

Market Pantry Corn Oil

I usually use grape seed oil, because of it’s very high smoke point, but I recently discovered that corn oil has a smoke point of 400 degrees so it’s definitely a more budget friendly way to fry foods at home. For this recipe you’ll need potatoes, oil, and any seasoning that you prefer.

Homemade Fries Recipe

I happened to have gold potatoes on hand so that’s what I used for this recipe.

Homemade French Fry Recipe

The potatoes fry really well when they’re frying in oil between 250-325 degrees.

Homemade french fry recipe

Once you’ve peeled and cut your potatoes (and your oil is arm enough), place them in a single layer in your oil. Whenever you’re frying something, you’ll want to make sure that you’re watching it carefully (heat + oil = fire). When your potatoes start to turn into a nice golden brown, they’re ready.

French Fry Recipe

When you’re ready, carefully take the potatoes out of the oil and place them in a single layer on paper towels (to soak up the oil).

Homemade french fries

french fries recipe

Season immediately (if you’re going to). I used taco seasoning for mine.

french fry seasoning

homemade french fries recipe

Serve & Enjoy!

Homemade French Fries

Daily Life, DIY, Parenting, Pictures, Tutorials

A Minnie Mouse Themed Birthday Weekend

As you know, my sweet girl turned two years old  a week ago today and we celebrated all weekend Minnie Mouse style. I have been so excited to share this with all of you. We are so fortunate to be blessed with such an incredible group of family and friends. So much so that we decided it would be less overwhelming to break up the birthday celebrations into two days. On Friday evening, we had invited 21 people over for a hot doggity dog birthday dinner and did our family (along with a couple of our ‘basically family’ friends) on Saturday for a celebration at a place in a nearby town (closer to where my family is). The sad news is that it snowed so much on Thursday that many of our guests were stuck in their homes and unable to make it on Friday night so it ended up being a play date birthday celebration for C and her friend who lives just a few houses down. Having just gotten back into town from my friend’s baby shower, I found myself more pressed for time than I would have liked but, overall, I’m really happy with how everything turned out.

For both events I wanted to be sure to give guests a small takeaway as a thank you for spending time with us and so I hand dipped marshmallows and Oreo cookies in white chocolate, covered them with red sprinkles, and wrapped them in clear bags with a red Mouse head and white ribbon. I was really happy with them.

Chocolate Covered Oreos                 White Chocolate Covered Marshmellows

Mickey Mouse Party Favors

I dressed our dining room table with a red table-cloth, Mouse Head “placements”, white plates, and color coordinating decorations. On the light above the table I hung red, white, and black tissue paper pom-pom balls (which I posted a tutorial for on Tuesday).

Minnie Mouse Themed Dinner Party

Minnie Mouse Theme Table Top

Saturday presented a bit of a challenge. The location where C’s event was held required me to drop off the party decorations at least 24 hours in advance but, since it’s almost 45 minutes away and we had a massive snowstorm, I wasn’t able to meet that deadline. I called them and asked if there was any way I could get into the room earlier so that I would have some time to decorate. They told me it was no big deal if I wanted to show up at 1:45 (the party was at 2:30). What they meant by “no big deal” was “we’re not being honest”.

I showed up at 1:45 only to discover that they had booked our room back to back and the other party was not slated to be out of the room until 2:00. They really tested my resolve with this one. I got into the room around 2:10 or so and had just over 15 minutes to get it decorated, have the food out, and somehow manage to not look like I just threw it all together. “Challenge Accepted!” I’m not really sure how I got it all done but, somehow, it worked:

Minnie Mouse Theme Birthday Party Table

Minnie Mouse Theme Birthday Party

Red, Black, and White Table Top Decorations

Minnie Mouse Decorations

A few of the decorations I used for both parties:

Mickey Mouse Themed Party

Minnine Mouse Themed Party Decorations

Mickey Mouse Themed Party Invitations

The big Mouse ear (pictured above) was actually the invitation for the birthday party. What I did was slip a small white card with the party details between the red and black on the invitation. This was far better than anything I could have purchased from a store. Speaking of…I had made everything but the plates, cups, and napkins for this party. I wouldn’t consider myself the most crafty person so if I can do it, so can you! 🙂

DIY, Pictures, Tutorials

Tissue Paper Puff Tutorial (With Pictures!)

Tissue paper pom-pom balls are, by and far, one of the easiest ways to add some incredible decorations to your special event.

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to help you along the way…

Tissue Paper Pom Pom

Tissue Paper Puff Tutorial Needed Supplies

You will need:

-Ribbon (or clear fishing wire if you’re looking for that ‘floating in thin air’ look)

-Tissue Paper

-Scissors

-2″ Floral Wire

How to make a tissue paper pom pom ball

Begin by folding the tissue paper accordion style (back and forth, back and forth). The larger you make the folds, the bigger your puff will be.

Tissue Paper Pom Pom Ball Steps

Tissue Paper Puff Ball Steps

When you’re done, fold the tissue paper in half (and crease as much as you can).

Tissue paper pom pom tutorial

Cut enough floral wire to safely secure around the center of the tissue paper (where you made the crease when you folded it in half).

Tissue paper flower tutorial

tissue pom pom tutorial

Begin to pull the tissue paper apart, one layer at a time. Be gentle with it because it tends to rip fairly easily.

tissue paper puff flower tutorial

Continue pulling the tissue paper apart until it creates a flowery look on each side.

tissue paper puff ball

When you’re done, it should look a little something like what I’ve got pictured above.

It really is that easy!

DIY, Food, Pictures

Succulent Sundays: A Perfect Day With Pooh (Baby Shower Photos)

I am so excited to share some pictures from a very special baby shower that took place last weekend. The theme was Classic Pooh. Enjoy!

Classic Pooh Baby Shower

The mason jars were filled with honey and served both as a table top decoration and a take home favor for guests.

Classic Pooh Diaper Cake

Classic Pooh Diaper Cake

Non Traditional Guest Book

In lieu of a traditional guest book, attendees signed a “Pooh’s Party” hardcover board book.

Baby Shower Balloons

Baby Shower Decorations

Classic Pooh Scrapbook Materials

Amazon has the most adorable Classic Pooh scrapbook materials that doubled as decorations during the shower.

Honey Jar Baby Shower Favors

These were so easy to make. All you need is honey, 4oz Mason Jars, tissue paper, and ribbon.

Diaper Cake

The scrapbook materials on the diaper cake were tucked into the ribbon so that they can be used later after baby arrives.

Tissue Paper Pom Pom Balls

Classic Pooh Baby Shower

There’s a story behind this book, which doubled as a decoration. This book belonged to the nephew of the mommy-to-be. He insisted that his new cousin get the book (and that it be placed on the food table) as a gift at the shower. Absolutely sweet.

Baby Shower Decor

Baby Shower Banner

Classic Pooh Baby Shower

The food was incredible, take a look:

Pooh Baby Shower Cake

Baby Shower Food

Fruit and Cheese Platter

Veggie Platter

Chips and Salsa Platter

Bowl of Nuts

Baby Shower

Green Punch

Baking, DIY, Food, Pictures, Tutorials

Succulent Sundays: Pulled Barbeque Chicken Bake

Pulled BBQ Chicken Bake

As part of my goals for this blog, I want to take a time every once in a while to talk about food, share a recipe, or post mouth-watering pictures. I’m not going to promise a new post every week but, when I do post on a Sunday, it will be part of a series I want to call Succulent Sundays. Today I want to share a very easy recipe I came up with and made on New Year’s Eve for dinner. It’s a pulled BBQ chicken bake and it is delicious.

Pulled BBQ Crockpot Chicken RecipeYou will need:

18oz BBQ Sauce | Black Pepper (to taste) | Minced Garlic (~2tbsp) | ~2lb boneless, skinless chicken breast  | Nonstick cooking spray | 9oz water

Crockpot BBQ ChickenCoat the inside of the crock pot with non-stick baking spray.

Pulled BBQ Chicken RecipeRinse chicken and cut into strips (this is just a small portion of the chicken I used), set aside.

Crockpot Pulled BBQ ChickenAdd in minced garlic, pepper, water, and sauce into crock pot. Stir.

*I doubled this recipe…in case you’re wondering why my crock pot looks a little full

Barbeque chicken crock pot recipeCook on low, covered, for 5 hours and 30 minutes.

When the chicken is nearly done in the crock pot, you’ll want to start preparing to make the bake.

For this you will need:

8oz Pepper Jack Cheese | Refrigerated pizza dough/biscuit Dough/crescent roll Dough |  Crushed Red Pepper

BBQ Chicken Bake Recipe

I used crescent roll dough. I combined two pieces and then rolled them together into a ball in my hands and flattened them out on the baking sheet. This made enough to split between two people comfortably (with sides).

Baked BBQ Chicken Recipe

I prefer to shred my own cheese so I use the food processor to do the hard work for me…

Barbeque Chicken Bake

Baked Barbeque Chicken Roll Recipe

You’ll want to take the chicken out a little bit at a time to “pull it apart”. The wonderful thing about making it in the Crock Pot is that it is so tender it just falls apart when you touch it. To “pull” the chicken, simply take two knives and separate it into smaller pieces.

Pulled BBQ Chicken

Bulled BBQ Chicken Bake

Place a layer of Pepper Jack cheese onto the dough, top with pulled BBQ chicken and wrap the dough over itself to form a pouch.

Barbeque Chicken Bake

Top with crushed red pepper and a little bit of cheese and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes (or until the dough is done).

Pulled BBQ Chicken Bake

Serve with cole slaw, baked beans, chips, or the side dish of your choosing. Enjoy!