Weekly Menu

Seriously…what is this, like 3 weeks in a row that I’m actually posting?  And, I’m following through with my goal to post my weekly menus…Whoa.  Impressed?  I am.

As usual, this week is busy so our menu is pretty lame.  But, as I always say–it’s better than takeout!

MondayThai curry chicken with vegetables and jasmine rice, spring rolls

Tuesday–Grilled pork chops, roasted vegetable pilaf (I’ll have to share that recipe another time–sorry)

Wednesday–Breakfast! (eggs, bacon, tomato slices, hashbrowns)

Thursday–snacks/leftovers

Friday/Saturday–???  Me and my girl are going out of town for a girls’ trip to visit my BFF near Austin, so I’m sure we girls will be eating something amazing.  The boys are on their own, so I’m guessing hot wings and Chinese food buffet.

I’m really hoping to get around to updating more here this week, including some new home tour updates.  We shall see…

Have a great week!

Peace,

C

Christmas 2014 Home Tour

Let me warn you: You may not get any great ideas here…I don’t really do all that much decorating for Christmas.  What you may learn is that a little bit of red goes a long way.  It’s not that I don’t love Christmas decorations, it’s just that I’ve found I don’t need much to make it feel like Christmas time around here.  I try to fill our home with things that have special memories, the sounds of Christmas (music or movies), and the smells of holiday baking.  To me a Christmas tree, some candles, and family traditions are what make it feel like Christmas.

Please look around.  I hope you find inspiration in your own home.

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This is our first year with a fake tree.  I have to say…I’m sold!  It was so easy, and finding a real one that fits as perfectly as this one would have been impossible.  I found ours at the new At Home store in Plano (used to be Garden Ridge).  Ours is decorated using family ornaments that we’ve collected since our own childhoods’, and in our 13 years of marriage.  We also tucked in some pinecones that we picked up out of my grandmother’s yard in East Texas several years ago.

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The piano holds some fresh greenery from Trader Joe’s, candles, and the nutcrackers that Avery and I have been collecting.

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My mom’s green crystal candle holder–I love it at night.  The book it’s sitting on holds our Christmas memories each year.  I’ll be honest, I’ve missed a year or two, but it’s wonderful looking back throughout the years to see how much has changed, and how much has stayed the same.

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Conner got in on the action this year using one of his vintage trucks and some old bottle brush trees.  I found the star at 540 Mercantile downtown.

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My dining room table is currently being used for sewing projects–Avery has been working on stockings for all of the animals.  She’s done it completely by herself and I can’t wait to show them off when she’s finished.  So for now, I’ve added some red and green to the buffet.  We will have dinner in here on Christmas Eve, but I have no idea how I’ll set the table.  I’m not that big into fancy table settings.  It’ll just happen.

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I keep thinking someday I’ll get new  Christmas decorations, but when you just stick with the classic red and green, you can’t go wrong.  Adding to it is easy, and you also have the flexibility of always being able to move things around.  I never know where I’ll use what I’ve got until I pull it out each year.

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Our living room has small touches throughout. Red throws and a new plaid pillow (that I made from $1.99 fabric) add just enough to make it look like Christmas.

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Conner also helped by decorating this little tree, using some of the kids’ favorite ornaments.

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I can remember cracking nuts out of this bowl at my grandmother’s house at Christmas.  My kids are making similar memories here.

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Christmas morning will be spent here.  It’s my favorite room in the house.

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I got the small wreaths at Trader Joe’s and attached them using ribbon and Command velcro strips.

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My kitchen is a workhorse this time of year, so I can’t do much decorating.  My Christmas cookie jar is about all I have room for.  The counters are usually piled up with baking supplies and gift tins.  The kids and I will start our annual gingerbread house this week, so right now the baking area is full of candies and pretzels.

As I said, I don’t do much, but I’m glad it’s done.  I’m ready for the kids to be out of school so we can spend time together enjoying the traditions our family has created.  Here’s to wishing you and yours a peaceful and joyous holiday.

Peace,

C

Christmas: My Home

I finally got through most of my Christmas decorating.  I use the word “finally”, but it’s only Dec. 10th.  That’s not that far behind, right?  We have a “thing” against decorating before Thanksgiving.  But, Thanksgiving was so early this year, that we decided we had to wait until Dec. 1st to start decorating.  I have been piddling around so far, but this weekend we got our tree(s) up and it’s now starting to feel like Christmas.

036This is our first year to have two trees.  It all sort of started when we were standing in our front yard trying to figure out our plans for the outside of the house.  We decided that a tree would look pretty from the outside of the house (it does!)  if we put one in the playroom window.  Once the kids got wind of that, they weren’t going to let us get away without one.  So, out we went to Lowe’s and a day later, it’s my favorite thing in our house.  They used all of our special ornaments, first ornaments and handmade ornaments.  They worked so hard on it together, and they even strung their own lights!

116I remember when I was a kid, my parents put up a “kid tree” in our playroom and we loved it.  I’m thinking we may get an artificial tree for the coming years so we can easily continue this tradition.

Downstairs, I went for simple decorating.  I wanted to use what we had, which includes old family pieces like this skating rink from my grandmother.  Avery and Finn got to work immediately setting it up only to find out it no longer works.  We all agreed it would stay out just as decoration, though.

008090Have you ever considered how much you spend on gift wrap?  I have, and it’s a LOT.  This year, I decided to go with classic brown paper ($1 for 5 yards at Dollar Tree) and just use leftover ribbons, and inexpensive trinkets and bows for decorations.  The end result is so simple that it’s beautiful.

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075Ted is sporting a bow, and he and sleeping Santa (another of my kids’ favorite hand-me-down Christmas goodies from Grandmother) are holding fort by the fireplace, where I spotted the first Christmas letter.

074Our fireplace is simple, with the nutcracker that Avery and I got from the show this year, and all of our stockings none of which match.  Who cares?  It doesn’t have to be perfect to be perfect.

098And things as simple as a bowl of red apples on the table.  Though year-round for us, they do take on a special Christmas-y feel with the backdrop of lights.

106086My kitchen doesn’t get overdone at the holidays, because I just don’t have the space due to all of the baking and candy-making that I like to do.  We are starting on our gingerbread house today which means my house is getting ready to smell like Christmas too.  I’m starting to get very jolly.  (I’ll post photos and recipes this week).

020Coming up:  I’m working on our gingerbread house/village, which will sit on the piano, beneath this urn-stick-tree thing (lovely term, huh?) that I’ve been working on.  And, I’ll be working on our place settings for Christmas dinner using these wonderful glasses that I scored for $3 (set of 6) at the ACO a couple of weeks ago.  Don’t they just scream Christmas?

111Until next time, stay merry and bright.  I’ll be back in a few days with some gingerbread baking photos and a (hopefully) completed place setting to share.

Peace,

C

Father’s Day Gift Idea: Painted Glasses

I was on Etsy a while back and came across these really cool glasses and I knew they’d be perfect for Gilby for Father’s Day.  After all, my man loves scotch and bikes.

Naturally, (the procrastinator that I am) I forgot to order them in time to get them here.  So, my DIY brain convinced me to pack up the kids and head out for some supplies…

I only ended up needing the glasses, which I purchased at Walmart for $5 and a bottle of enamel paint (made for glass) from Michael’s for $.99.  You’ll also need brushes and a stencil.

We started out by just taping the stencil to the glass.

Then, I took a paint brush and lightly brushed the paint on.  My stencil was homemade (in other words: imperfect) so I figured this would be better, then I could go back over it after I removed the stencil.  (I’m not necessarily recommending this method–read on to see why.)

This is before I went back over it.  Not looking good so far…

(I didn’t get any action shots of me going back over them.)

After you finish painting the glasses, let them air dry for 1 hour.  Then put them on a cookie sheet and put them in a cold oven.  Heat to 350.  Bake for 30 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave them in there to cool.  This will set the paint and make them washable (top rack dishwasher safe).

So, all in all they are totally imperfect.  The Etsy ones are way cooler, and I’ll probably end up ordering those anyways.  But, I’m totally going to try this again.  I’m thinking a bicycle isn’t the easiest thing… straight lines and perfect circles on a curved surface=tragedy.   At least I was only out $6.

So, while this may not be the best example of what to do, we can all learn from my failures.  Here’s some tips that I think would make your glasses turn out way better than mine…

1. Get a decent stencil.  Duh.  I did try, though believe it or not, neither Michael’s or Hobby Lobby had a bicycle stencil.  Get with the program people!

2.  I tried using one of those foamy stamper things, and it was even worse than the brush.  I think a foam brush + a good stencil would have yielded better results.

3.  Don’t be afraid to make minor mistakes.  I found it cleans up easy with a small brush dipped in rubbing alcohol.

I hope y’all try this and let me know what works better for you.  And send pics!  Like I said, I’ll totally try this again and will post pics when I do.

Peace,

C

(linking up here and here and here and here and here)

What I Woke Up To

I haven’t posted any photos of the personal nature (me, my family, etc), and I’m not quite sure why.  But, what I woke up to this morning was so sweet that I decided to share…While Gilby is traveling during the week, Ave and Zoe sneak down almost every night for a “sleepover”.  I woke up a bit earlier to enjoy my coffee in peace, and when I went back to wake her up for school, this is exactly how I found them…

Being a parent can be so hard sometimes.  And lately I’ve been having a bit of a hard time myself.  There have been a lot of moments lately that have left me feeling deflated as a mom, and I’ve actually found myself thinking “oh, I’m so ready for this stage to pass”.  Then, you get to walk into your bedroom and find your baby 7 year old looking so comfortable, peaceful…and loved.  And I realize, I must be doing something right.

Peace,

C

(linking up here)

ART LESSONS WITH THE KIDS

My grandmother loved art, specifically the Impressionists.  When I’d go to her house, we’d get dressed up and have tea parties on her fine China and look through her books on Impressionists.  She no doubt had some influence on my own interest in the arts.  I am not at all a great artist, myself.  But, I do love art and have an appreciation for it, as well as the artists themselves.  And, having been just 3 hours shy of a minor in Art History, I’ve had my share of art classes.  So, when the kids expressed an interest in an after-school art program, I got to thinking: I love art.  I love projects that include all of the kids. What if I spend less than half of the registration fee, and instead purchase a few good quality art supplies and teach them what I do know?  I found this book at the local library and used it as a guide.  I figured this way, the kids get a good quality introduction to art (at a fraction of the price), and we’d be having quality time together doing something we all enjoy.  We’re all excited about it.  Now, we’ll see how it all pans out in reality.

Here’s how I’m planning to break down the lessons.  I figure we’ll do one day a week for 30 minutes.  We’ll stay on each one for 2-3 sessions each, or until they get bored with it.  It’s not so much about mastery here as it is to expose them to some basic methods and new mediums.  I plan for them to start by a few minutes of sketching every time.

1.  Creating form using shadows and highlights.  Medium: chalk pastels, charcoal.  We will be looking for simple forms to model…vases, boxes, etc.  This will also reinforce how they look at things in their environment.

2. Foregrounds and backgrounds.  Medium: watercolor pencils. We will be working on basic landscapes, perhaps using photography as inspiration.

3. Faces.  Medium: TBD.  This is definitely the hardest for me, and probably for most.  We will work on faces with regards to proportion, shadows and highlights.

What We Can Learn From Dog Poop

 

I went to the local library today with Finn, and this book caught my eye.  I knew that my kids would listen to any story that had the word “poop” in the title.  As it turns out, it was a fun  read, but it also relayed an important message to our kids.  There are a lot of “pointers” in this world, but the true heroes are the ones that take the initiative and solve the problem.  In other words, you can be a part of the problem, or a part of the solution.

After school today, I think I’ll have the kids put this to practice in our backyard.  3 dogs=plenty of opportunities.

Fairies!

I don’t know where I first saw these miniature fairy gardens, but I wanted to share.  Apparently, it is becoming quite a trend.  I am thinking my daughter and I should start one of our own.  I could see us getting into not only planning and planting our fairy garden, but also collecting and making things to put in the garden.

fairy garden

There are the cutest little things to get for your new little garden.  Besides all of the tiny varieties of flowers and plants (which we will no doubt kill), check out these cute little doors…

fairy door

 and these little fairy pillows!  Imaginations can run wild.  I’m thinking of putting together a little get started gift package for my daughter’s April birthday.

fairy pillows

Getting outside is one of the best ways to make me feel good.  With spring around the corner and these fairies to inspire us, I can’t think of a better way for my daughter and I to get to enjoy the great outdoors together.

April fairy