Monthly Archives: November 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello Everyone!  I know I’ve been MIA but my time has been spent elsewhere the last few weeks.  I had a wonderful time visiting Gage at LSU, and then a good friend in Houston.  I’ve also spent a ton of time writing lately.  Cold day, hot coffee and warm fires = excellent writing weather and I’ve made some amazing headway in a new novel I started 10 days ago.  Will share more on that soon.

In the meantime, I’ve enjoying down time and vacation days and having all of my littles in the home nest.  And turkey, yes, we’ve enjoyed turkey.  I’ll be back next week with more regular posts and a few project updates but until then I’ll be enjoying this sweet family and feeling “thankful” for all we have.

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Old Post: $10 Quilt Ladder

I thought I’d throw another old post into the mix this week.  With an “artic freeze” hitting Texas over the last couple of days, snuggling under a nice quilt sounds amazing, right?  Well, when you’re not under those quilts, they need a place to be stored/displayed.  This simple quilt ladder is STILL one of my favorite projects years later.

Ladder in our current house...

Ladder in our current house…

It is my most “pinned” pin out on Pinterest and some big DIY sites have linked back to my old blog.  The old post has pics from our old home if you’re wondering where in the heck I took them.  I still use mine in our new home (pic above) and we still get compliments on it.  Here ya are:


Thursday, November 8, 2012

$10 Quilt Ladder – DIY

One of my favorite projects that Matt has made for me lately is my quilt ladder.  I saw some similar ladders in catalogs and on the web and I knew it would look great in our living room.  And it’s functional too!
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You’ll need:

  • 2 2x2s – I think that’s the measurement.  We found ours at Lowe’s for $1.90 each. They don’t need to be pretty or perfect because the imperfections will give your ladder character.
  • 2 1″ dowel rods – also less than $2 each
  • saw
  • drill
  • screws
  • paint of your choice

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1. Buy/gather your materials
2. Cut both of your dowel rods into 3 equal pieces (giving you 6 rungs)

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3. Place your dowels (rungs) where you’d like them to go.  We put ours 14″ apart and only used 5 of the 6 pieces.  You could space them closer and use all 6 pieces but I thought it looked better this way.
4. Use your drill to screw them onto the main horizontal pieces.  Screw from the outside into the dowels.  Matt actually used a bit to drill holes first and then put the screws in.  I don’t know if this step is necessary but I don’t argue when it comes to the drill.

Paint it and put it in your home to have a place to display/store your quilts/blankets!  Super Easy!  It took us less than an afternoon (that includes paint drying) and cost less than 10 bucks!

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Easy (Reversible) Dresser update

We are in the process of updating Milo’s room to his official BIG BOY room. *tears*  So what that pretty much means is he got a big boy bed and the crib went into storage.  Most everything else is staying the same.  I’ll do a room tour of his room later because it’s still in progress, but here’s a sneak peek.

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I posted about the wall to the left yesterday – it’s where the stick antlers hang.  So far we’ve ordered his new bed (I just LOVE LOVE LOVE wrought iron twin beds…), his bedding and I’ve done a quick makeover on his dresser.  Matt will be working on a project for the area to the right over the next few days.  These are my room inspirations:

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We currently have a beginner box spring mattress  (it’s only about 5 inches tall) and both mattresses are set to the lowest setting on the head & footboard because he is still getting used to a regular bed (if you’re wondering why the bed is so low).  He hasn’t fallen out yet so we might move them up to a regular height sooner than later.  Anyway, I wanted to update his dresser but I wasn’t sure about committing to painting it or restaining it.  It was also Cady’s dresser in her nursery so it’s been around a while.  We are going for a more rustic/industrial look in Milo’s room tho so I changed it up a little.  BTW – I’m off to visit Gage at college this week and Matt is taking vacation so he’ll be working on a huge built in in Milo’s room – I can’t wait to share about it.  We’re going for something similar to this:

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I’ll let you know how that goes…

Here are just a few of my chest of drawer/dresser inspirations:

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Love the legs, the old hardware & the “rusticness” of these pieces!

And here is where we started:

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And here is where we are now:

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Everything I did is completely reversible.  I changed out the hardware with some inexpensive knobs from Home Depot.  The top drawer ones were a little more pricey at $3 but worth it.  I added parson’s legs to the bottom (can easily be unscrewed) and I purchased some file cabinet metal label holders from Staples (attached them with command strips).  I spray painted the label holders and parson legs with some oil rubbed bronze spray paint we already had to match the new dresser hardware.

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It really helps it tie into the rest of his room and I love the labels.  I’m still thinking about actually staining the top or perhaps distressing it and then applying a wax finish… I don’t know.  It’s a high quality piece of furniture from a high end store and was expensive even though it’s 15 years old.

sorry about the crappy phone pic on left - the bed had just been delivered and I snapped a pic.

sorry about the crappy phone pic on left – the bed had just been delivered and I snapped a pic.

That’s the quick & easy (and reversible) update on his dresser.

When did my baby turn into a little boy?

When did my baby turn into a little boy?

I’ll let you know if I get the guts to do something more permanent.  And hopefully I’ll have an update on Milo’s room progress next week!

Faux Animal Head

faux animal head

Remember the “Woodlands Deer” pumpkin I did for Halloween this year?  Well, once it was time to chunk the pumpkins I didn’t want to get rid of my fake antlers.  We had found them on a walk one day and I had a good 30 minutes of painting time invested in them (okay, so that includes dry time and snack breaks, but STILL…)  That’s when I got the idea to make a stick antler faux animal head.  Obviously animal heads are all the rage in decorating.  We don’t have any because, well, Matt does NOT like them and honestly I grew up with REAL ones hanging in our house.  My dad was a hunter so the antlers on the wall thing was happening at our house way before it was trendy.   Here’s how I made my Stick Antlers Animal Head.

I went to Hobby Lobby and bought this foam cube and a wooden plaque.  The cube was around $3 (I used my 40% off coupon tho) and the plaque was $2.50 but on sale for 50% off.  I already had all the other supplies I needed on hand.

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I retracted my antlers from my pumpkin and had to snip the very ends off that had been in the pumpkin.  nasty.  I then let them dry for a day or so.  Once they were nice and dry and got my craft paint out and added a few extra colors.  The original paint scheme was supposed to be sort of fallish/halloweeny so I added a few extra stripes that were a little more random.  I also got out our bread knife and a sand paper block to try and shape the foam into a shape that was reminiscent of an animal.  I did not want it to look like an animal face, I was really going for something quirky.

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By the way, normally the projects I do have been done before and there is some sort of example out there… not this one.  I just had to wing it and try different things until I got it the way I wanted it.  Once I liked the shape, I went into the front yard and grabbed our newspaper that had been sitting there for a few days (we like to store our weekly paper in our front yard).  I cut around 20 strips about an inch wide and then started modpodging it onto the foam block.  You could totally make your own paper mache mix but I had modpodge so I used it.

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Then I walked away for the day and let it dry.  A few days later I got my white craft paint out and painted the plaque and the head.  (I forgot to take pics…)  At this point you also need to add something to the back of the plaque so you can hang it.  I just used a picture hanger that I hammered into the back.  You could also just drill a shallow hole in the back so a nail head could fit in.  That was going to be my plan but I found a picture hanger in our supplies so I went for it.  Don’t forget this step – I almost did!

Then I used heavy duty adhesive to glue the head to the plaque.  I let that cure for another day or so.  I poked holes in the top of the head where I wanted the antlers to go with the end of a pair of scissors (making sure the hole wasn’t bigger than the antler’s diameter).  I filled the holes with more heavy duty adhesive and then wedged the antlers in.  I propped the whole thing up so it could dry (at least a day).  Once that was done I touched the whole thing up with my white paint and then wrapped a piece of ribbon around the head where it touches the plaque.  This was just something extra – you could skip it.  I used gold thumb tacks to secure it because I thought it sort of looked like an old school set of mounted antlers.   Here’s a shot from the top.

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I grabbed an old frame we had in storage (we have a ton of old wall art saved because I am constantly re-purposing the frames!).  I wish I had one that was more rectangle – I’m going to keep my eye out when we hit some thrift stores this weekend.  For now the square one works and plays well with the shape of the “head”.  If you remember, this was originally a project that I was going to hang in my craft corner.  Well, I was so slow about getting it done (I only worked on it a few minutes here and there over the last week) that in the meantime we have started to transition Milo’s room into a big boy room.  I thought it would look cute on his gallery wall – the colors that I randomly chose for the antlers match perfectly to the color scheme in his room!  So that’s where it has found it’s home.

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I love how it turned out!  I can’t really tell you how much time it would take because I worked on mine when I had a few minutes here and there over a week.  This worked out well because it gave the glue time to cure and the paint time to dry.  It cost me less than $5 but I already had things like craft paint, glue, etc on hand.  It would be an inexpensive project even if you had to purchase more supplies tho.

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Let me know if you decide to make one.  Maybe we can start a stick animal head trend?

Movie Review: Big Hero 6

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There is nothing new about Disney’s upcoming film Big Hero 6.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that every scene of the movie has been done in multiple superhero films (The Avengers, Iron Man) and I swear I even recognized a scene from Gravity.  However, I still walked out of the theater smiling – it’s worth a trip to the movies.

HIro is a 14 year old genius that initially spends all of his time building homemade robots and fighting them in illegal bouts around the city.  His older brother, who apparently is also highly intelligent, introduces him to his classmates at the robotics department at his university in an effort to motivate Hiro to use his gift for more positive projects.  As the truth unfolds about a tragedy in the university’s science department, Hiro finds himself fighting the classic “villain” and using his intelligence and technical skills to outfit himself and new friends as “super” crime fighters.  At the center of the group is a large inflated robot named Baymax – a robot built to act as an unassuming medical assistant, not to save the world.

Baymax is obviously the character that steals the show.  We all love an honest being that will do anything for his charge – human or not.  I give the film 4 out of 5 microbots – it would have been a higher mark if some of the scenes weren’t blatant copies of other films.  I found myself laughing out loud over and over again during this movie and I won’t lie, I got misty eyed during certain parts as well.  The villain in the film is a bit scary so keep that in mind if your child scares easily.  I think the story is geared more for the above 5 kiddos, but adults who like this genre will enjoy it as well.  In fact, I texted my 20 year old college son after the movie and told him about it because I knew he’d love it.    I’d definitely put this film in the “see it” column, however, see it in a NON 3D showing – it’ll save you a few bucks and you and your kids won’t have to wear the annoying glasses.

Recipe: Easy Taco Soup/Chili

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I’ve been making this taco soup for years… about 20 if I remember correctly.  Sometimes we call it taco soup, sometimes we call it chili.  It’s not actually chili but it makes a great substitution.  I still have the original recipe my mom wrote down for me so many years ago.  I’ve made a few changes but I still make it pretty much the same…

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Ha!  I had to dig thru my recipe book to find it but there it is!  I don’t even use a recipe anymore because it is SO easy.

First, gather your ingredients.

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2 cans Ranch Style Beans, 1 can stewed tomatoes, 1 can rotel tomatoes, 1 can of corn, 1 – 2 pounds of ground meat, 1 package of ranch dressing mix, 1 package of taco seasoning. Dried onion or fresh onion – your choice.

Sometimes we’ll use an actual real onion but most of the time I use our minced onion.  It’s just so easy.  Cutting onions makes me cry HARD and crying gives me a migraine so I avoid it at all costs.  But knock yourself out using real onion if you want.  I generally make it with turkey but it’s fantastic with beef as well.  My mom uses 2lbs of beef (or hamburger meat as she says in her recipe – lol).  I usually use a pound of lean turkey or lean beef.  If you use regular ground meat make sure you drain it after browning.

To start, brown your meat with your onion (1 tablespoon minced onion or a half of a small diced fresh onion).  Use more onion if you like in onion-y.  Yes, that’s a real word. Not really.

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After browning your meat (and draining if needed)… dump all the other ingredients in.

2 cans of Ranch Style Beans…tacosoup4

Next you would add in your can of stewed tomatoes and your can of rotel tomatoes.  Feel free to pour them right in, and usually this is what I do… However, recently the kids have decided they don’t like the chunks so I slightly blend both cans of tomatoes before adding them. If your kids are picky about chunks, this is a good workaround.  It’s also a great way to sneak veggies into recipes.

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Add your can of corn:

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and then a package of ranch dressing:

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And a package of taco seasoning:

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Stir everything up and bring to a boil.

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Cover and reduce heat.  Depending on the day sometimes mine will simmer for 45 minutes and sometimes a couple hours – just depends on what I have going on.  The flavors continue to develop as it cooks on low.  Make sure to stir it every now and then and serve when you’re ready!

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And that’s it.  So easy!  I haven’t had anyone NOT like this.  I serve it with crackers or on Fritos or with a grilled cheese sammy.  Every time I’ve brought it to a party I get asked for the recipe.  I’ve also made this for parties at our house. It’s easy and inexpensive to make a huge batch and then set up a “chili” bar so that people can decide on crakcers, Fritos or tortilla chips and toppings like onions, shredded cheese, avocados or sour cream.  OH, and as a bonus – it’s totally low-fat… even better!  Of course I personally fatten my bowl up by pouring it over Fritos and then topping it with cheese, avocados and sour cream!  Yum!

Pin!

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Book Review: Big Little Lies

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From Amazon:

Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal. . . .

A murder… . . . a tragic accident… . . . or just parents behaving badly?
What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.
But who did what?

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.


I started reading this book almost a month ago and I just finished it last week… which might be an indication for ya.  If I LOVE a novel, I will finish it in a couple of days.  If I hate a novel, I won’t finish it… This one fell somewhere in the middle.  I enjoyed it when I found the time to read, but not enough to read every free second I had.  I loved Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret so that’s why I gave this one a shot.

Here’s what I liked about the book.

1. It took place in Australia – I like reading books that take place in other countries/continents… it’s sorta like taking a vacation and exploring a new place.

2. This book was about being a mama and I’d say most types of moms were represented.  Professional, stay at home, single, divorced.  There are all sorts of us out there so it’s nice to see multiple types of moms with their own unique challenges.  I think we can all identify with parts of each character in the book… that being said…

Here’s what I didn’t like.

1. The book seemed so slow.  Every chapter was building up to the big trivia night which took place at the very end of the book.  It was a lot of build up for not much.

2.  Although I could identify with parts of the characters on some levels, I found myself not caring about any of them.  They seemed mostly shallow and not well developed.  And predictable… they were all so predictable.

Unfortunately I’d only give this book a 2.5 out of 5 stars.  I wanted to love it, but in the end I was just meh.  If you have free time (like a long plane ride and the book is free), it might be acceptable.  The book description starts out with “A murder… . . . a tragic accident… . . . or just parents behaving badly?   What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.   But who did what?”  The book is NOTHING like that.  If you are looking for an exciting page turner, this is NOT it.