Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Need your suggestions please

Happy Monday Everyone!  It's so nice to see the weather forecast for this week with all the cooler temps.  I'm hoping that our mowers are going to be working by the end of this week so we can mow after all the rain we had recently, otherwise we'll be bailin' hay!  Well now that it's nice out, Carl and I are trying to get some outside projects finished.  Carl and the boys power washed the house, we stained the porch, and now we're painting the shutters.  I didn't realize how faded they were!  Only two more shutters to paint and the front door then I'm done.  I'm also working on some redo's that I'm excited about - a cute shelf that my MIL bought me, a small childs chair, and a hanger/post thingy (I don't know what it's called but it's cute). 

Here is a finished shutter - the color is more burgundy than red.

I'm also thinking about doing something different to my entry way.  We have doors that lead to a patio and there are porch posts on each side with a skinny board on top of them.  I did have some items displayed on the  board, but I didn't like the arrangements and thought about taking the entire thing down.  So, I'm soliciting ideas for this room.  One friend said I should paint the walls a dark blue because it would make the posts stand out.  I think the room can handle that dark color with the light that comes in through the doors and the more I think about it, the more I like that idea.  Maybe it will look like music room in Dan's house (see picture below).  By the way, have you seen his blog? * I love it. I stalk it. I seriously want him to decorate my house. * 

(photo courtesy of Yesterday Once More)

I've thought about setting some birdhouses on the shelf or some crocks.  I'm just not getting a decorating vibe when it comes to this room - I'm trying to give it a bit more of a prim look than the rest of my house.  So this is where you come in....what do you think about painting it a dark blue?  What should I put on the shelf above the doors.  Should I keep the shelf and the posts or take them down?

The posts have some chippy paint on them.

What do you think?  Any suggestions, thoughts, ideas? 

Have a wonderful day my friends.  Enjoy time spent with family and friends - and the cooler, less rainy weather. 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Have you seen the show "The Middle"?  It's on Wednesday night TV and Carl also found it on Hulu.  He told me that when he watched it, he thought of our family.  Well, I have to agree....I say some of the same things the mom says and our oldest son does some of the same things the oldest son in the show does (but don't tell him I said that), etc.  We laughed when we watched it - laughed because certain parts of this show sounded just like us.  

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Is it a flower or a pen?

I saw these at Staples a few weeks ago.  Aren't these just the cutest little pens? 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hooked on Houses!

I can't remember how I found this website, but I just have to share it with all of you.  It's Hooked on Houses and I love this site because it has some of the cutest houses from movies.  Have you ever loved how a movie house was decorated, or liked the landscape, or there was just something about a house that made you feel all warm and cozy?  Well, check this baby out and I'm sure your get the warm fuzzies all over again.  There is a section for celebrity houses, movie houses, and bad MLS photos (I don't know what some people were thinking??).  

One of my favorite movie houses is from Father of the Bride.

The other is from The Notebook.  Have you seen that movie?!  Loved it!

Another favorite movie house (or apartment) is from You've Got Mail.

Stepmom was a great house, great landscaping - the fall scene is beautiful.

There are sooo many I could list here.  Ok, I confess.....I'm Hooked on Houses!!

Maybe I should have been a realtor.....

If you want your house fix, check out Hooked on Houses! for some great decoration and landscaping inspiration, beautiful scenery, and what NOT to do when selling your house.

All pictures courtesy of Hooked on Houses!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Wonderful Fathers Day

I would like to wish a Happy Fathers Day to my wonderful husband, father of my children, my best friend.  Thank you for everything you do to take care of us.  We love you!

And also to my father-in-law John and my dad Hank.  John knows a little bit about everything and anytime we have a problem with something, he knows what to do.  And then there's my dad.  If you ever needed some words of wisdom or to just hear a story (true or slightly embellished), he was your man.   Seriously, he was always the calming voice of reason at our house.

Have a wonderful day with your special father.  I hope you create special memories that bring a smile to your face when you think of today.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Brussel Sprouts

I have a confession and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

I like brussel sprouts. 

But, I will only (and have only) eat them if they are cooked according to the following directions because they end up a little bit brown and crispy, slightly salty, and just plain yummy.  I was craving them so much this spring that I even ate them for breakfast. To make brussel sprouts my way, you need a cast iron pan - this is critical part of achieving the brown, crispy yumminess.  If I could cook all the time in cast iron, I think I would, and that would lead to another blog post :) 

Ok, let's start cooking!  Heat your pan first and then put the olive oil in it.  Make sure the pan is already heated before you put the oil in.  Add to the pan minced garlic, sprouts, then a sprinkling of sea salt.  And use sea salt if you can - it just makes things taste better.  I don't know why - it just does :)  Oh, and don't cover the sprouts - just let them cook and turn them over once in a while. 

Now you may ask why I'm confessing my fondness for brussel sprouts.  I think I've mentioned before that the ladies I work with (there's 4 of us) talk about recipes, exercises, etc.  We've been challenging each other to try new foods this year and my challenge to them was brussel sprouts.  Rochella already likes brussel sprouts, so this was not a big deal for her, but then there's Janna and Rachel.  Rachel said they were ok, but Janna has a strong aversion to this wonderful vegetable.  To read her traumatic, exciting adventure with brussel sprouts, click here.  And remember, I left my directions on cooking brussel sprouts above.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Good morning everyone!  The weatherman says it's going to be hot and rainy the next few days.  Really??  Haven't we had enough of that already?  I do have to say that we were very blessed yesterday when the storm came through - Carl told me that we had straight-line winds and hail, basically stuff was flying everywhere - and after it was all over, we only lost one tree.  Unfortunately, my neighbors lost 2 trees and part of another one.  One of their trees was approximately an 80 y.o. pine - a beautiful, tall tree in the front of their yard.  What comes after rain.....rainbows!!  I have pictures of both ends and one end was a double rainbow.

I have to share a story of what great friends can do.  My in-laws were in North Carolina last week visiting my sister-in-law and her husband, and when they pulled in the driveway yesterday, there were two signs on the front of their house.  One said "welcome home" and the other said "enjoy your new deck).  That's right - about 20 of their friends had a garage sale to raise money for a deck and all the furnishings.  It's absolutely beautiful and something that I know they will enjoy for many years to come.  Their generosity and compassion are amazing.  I know John and Peggy are definitely loved by their friends.

I have a few recipes to share with you.  Carl and the boys liked the salad which made me happy - salads are not often a big hit around my house - and one is for chicken.

Margarita Chicken
1 can baccardis frozen margarita mix
boneless chicken breasts (I used the ones in a bag)

Marinate chicken in margarita mix overnight and grill. 

Note:  I added 1 can of water to my mix and I think I'll just use the mix next time - maybe the chicken will have more of a lime flavor.  The chicken was good - just not a strong flavor.

Sunny Broccoli Salad
(recipe from bettycrocker.com)

1 box Suddenly Salad bacon & ranch flavor
4 cups chopped broccoli
1 cup mayo
2 tblsp. cider vinegar
2 tblsp. sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chopped red onion

Prepare pasta according to package directions.  Drain and rinse in cold water.  Mix together seasoning pouch, mayo, vinegar, and sugar.  In separate bowl, combine pasta, broccoli, raisins, sunflower seeds, and onions.  Toss with seasoning mixture and serve.

I'm running out of time today, so next time I'll share pictures of some items I bought at a flea market a few weeks ago plus pictures from a Harlem Wizards game.  Before I go, I want to leave you with a quote that I found on a friends page on Facebook: 

Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair......It gives you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere.

Have a wonderful day all :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Dirt bikes, Recipes, and Flowers

Good morning everyone!  How about a beautiful beach sunrise to wake you up?

photo courtesy of Flickr

I feel like I have so much on my mind.  So much I want to share with everyone.  Lets starts with the boys and their dirt bikes.  They really haven't been riding very much this year because of bikes that needed repairs and busy schedules, but they did manage to go riding earlier this spring and this is the picture Carl sent back to me.   

I love seeing my boys like this.  When they are sweaty and have dirt all over their faces, that means they've had F-U-N!! 

I also wanted to share some pictures of my hostas.  We have so many trees around our house and shade-loving plants have become a big part of my life.  Now finding the time to weed my flower gardens is another issue....

I also wanted to share two recipes with you.  I've made both this week, but didn't take pictures so what you'll see is what came with the recipe.  I thought both recipes were delicious, but my family like the beef green bean stuff the best.

Thai Peanut Turkey Burgers

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Ready In: 25-30 minutes
Serves/Makes: 2
Level of Difficulty: Easy

8oz ground turkey
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 large scallion, minced
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp chili garlic sauce
2 tbsp natural peanut butter
freshly ground salt & pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Mayo mix:
2 tbsp light mayonnaise
handful of cilantro, finely minced
1-2 tsp chili garlic sauce
hamburger buns of your choice
mixed greens


Combine burger ingredients a mixing bowl and combine thoroughly. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Form the turkey mixture into two patties. Cook for about 7-10 minutes per side, until cooked through. Serve on buns with cilantro-chili mayo and greens. 

Note:  I didn't have chili garlic sauce, so I only used freshed, minced garlic.  I also put spinach on my burger instead of greens. 

Healthified Sesame Beef and Green Beans

12 ounces frozen whole green beans, partially thawed and halved crosswise
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup bias-sliced green onions
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon canola oil
12 ounces boneless beef sirloin steak, trimmed of fat and thinly sliced
2 cups hot cooked brown rice
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted
2 oranges, peeled and sectioned or thinly sliced crosswise

1. In a covered medium saucepan, cook green beans in a small amount of boiling water for 5 to 7 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain; set aside.
2. For sauce: In a small bowl, combine orange juice, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, cornstarch, and orange peel; set aside.
3. Coat an unheated large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat over medium-high heat. Add green onions, ginger, and garlic to hot skillet; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add the precooked green beans; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove vegetables from skillet.
4. Carefully add canola oil to the hot skillet. Add beef; cook and stir about 3 minutes or until desired doneness. Remove from skillet.
5. Stir sauce; add to skillet. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly; cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Return meat and vegetables to skillet. Heat through, stirring to coat all ingredients with sauce. Serve over hot cooked brown rice. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Serve with orange sections.

Well, that's all folks.  I've got to get the boys up and get ready for church then I'm hoping to go to the pool later.  I'm going to try to finish the laundry that I started yesterday and get my menu planned for this week. I hope you have a wonderful day, stay cool, and share a smile with someone - it may be the only one they see today!


Saturday, June 12, 2010

A View of My Life


Outside my window...it's dark and rainy with rumbles of thunder in the sky.  During the day some of my hostas are starting to bloom and the dogs are chasing squirrels all over the yard.

I am thinking...that I should have exercised today.  I seem to have those thoughts quite often lately and exercise consists only of stretching and yoga.  I'm also thinking about couponing, menu planning, finishing some painting projects, my new Bible study, and church tomorrow. 

I am thankful for...my family, health, good friends (and new friends too), the changes I see in my oldest son, good vets, new recipes, and central air.

From the kitchen...it was pizza from Johnny Provolone's tonight.  However, I was cleaning out a cabinet in the kitchen today and found a bunch of recipes - good, healthy summer recipes that I can make for the family that won't heat up my kitchen. 

I am creating...a new blog (hopefully).  I've been trying to rearrange things and add some new stuff all of which has been very frustrating.  I have several ideas for new posts and I just need to make the time to get it all done.

I am going...to go to bed as soon as I'm finished with this post :)  Tomorrow we have church in the morning and if the rain holds off, we are going swimming.  YIPPEE!!  My chiropractor gave me the green light to start riding my bike again which is music to my ears!  So tomorrow I will try to squeeze in a very short ride - don't want to overdo it!

I am reading...The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace.  I had two to choose from and was so drawn to this one. 

I am hoping...to get all the unfinished projects in my house finished, improve on my coupon shopping and menu planning, and to start taking bettter care of my body. 

I am hearing...Toy Story and a fan running.  The house is quiet...Carl is sleeping, Ryan is watching Toy Story, and I'm pretty confident that Kyle is on the computer.

Around the house...laundry that needs to be folded, stuff that is going to be sold on ebay, walls that I want to add color to with paint.

One of my favorite things...praying with my husband.

A few plans for the rest of the week:  church, the pool (hopefully), bonfire for Kyle, basketball workouts and open gyms for Kyle, Bible study on Wednesday, playdates for Ryan, chiropractor appointments, catching up on my blog.

Good night all!

(photo courtesy of flickr.com)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I'm baaaaccccckkkkk

I'm back and ready to start posting!  I have a few post ideas so get ready to grab a snack, find a comfy seat, and read my thoughts over the next few days (projects, family, recipes, gardens).

Before I do anything else, I want to wish my niece KAY LOUISE a very happy 2nd birthday!!  I don't have a recent picture to post of her (hint hint Melissa), but click here to see pictures from her first birthday party.  We will be seeing her (and her new baby brother or sister) very soon so I'll have more pictures shortly.

I've been working on my bedroom and the painting should be finished tomorrow - pictures will be there.  The boys have been to basketball camps and practices for the last two weeks.  Ryan is in summer camp this week and loves it.  He even dissected a fish on Monday!  Today he learned about the constellations and Friday is a field trip to the Shedd Aquariam and Planetarium in Chicago. 

Good night all.  See you tomorrow.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

You make me smile!

Ok, time for some sappy mooshy gooshy lovey dovey stuff.  You've been warned.... I love this song!!!  It reminds me of my prince charming!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pardon my mess

While I rearrange some things and try to convert from a 2 column blog to a 3 column blog.  I'm running into a few problems with it.  Has anyone else tried this and run into problems with your layout? 
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