Friday, March 30, 2012

Organizing - Laundry Room

I don't have a before picture to show you, but it was so embarrassing, I probably wouldn't have been able to bear to put it here anyway!
I am a pile-er. I have been a pile-er for as long as I can remember. I have piles of stuff everywhere. Seriously, I am only a few short years from qualifying for the tv show, Hoarders. But, I am determined to slowly, but surely, work on a more organized home.

I have been choosing small areas of my home to spend 15 to 30 minutes on, like this one shelf in the laundry room. And, with a manageable task, and a manageable amount of time, I am seeing some success.
I don't know about you, but when I look around my home, and I see the clutter, and so much of it everywhere, I just get overwhelmed. Not knowing where to start, I can't seem to get started at all.
I didn't choose the entire laundry room, that would have taken more time than I felt like I had, and would have been such a large job. So, I chose the shelf above the washer and dryer. I didn't do the cabinets above, I will save that for another day. I just did the shelf. It took about 20 minutes, and I threw away an entire bag full of trash. Hard to believe, huh? That one shelf could hold so much junk that the items on the shelf remain and I still had an entire bag to throw away!

I am so much happier now with my laundry room. I have a neatly organized shelf, a small pink bucket with my things in it. A small white bin for Shady's doggy items, and - shocking, I know - lots of room for actual laundry soaps and cleaning items!
I have done a couple more areas since then and I am really tickled with the results! I cleaned out a little catch-all basket that hangs in my kitchen, and I cleaned out our Croc basket. The biggest organizing activity so far? The hall coat and game closet - really impressive results!
Do you have a little area and 15 minutes to spare? You can work wonders!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Yeast Doughnuts

The other day, I was thinking about Krispy Kreme doughnuts and decided to give yeast doughnuts another try. I have tried making them before with moderate success, but it has been awhile since I have tried making any.
I got out my trusty Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. It was my Mother's copy and she gave it to me when I went away to college. I love that cookbook. It is a must-have in any kitchen! I really like the binder style of this older version. And, of course, all the good pages are a little food splattered and crusty!

I mixed up the dough and let it rise overnight, and then used a vintage doughnut cutter that I have to cut the doughnuts, and then let them rise again.
I think that they didn't get as light and fluffy as I hoped because my liquid ingredients were too hot when I added the yeast.

Here they are in the cooking oil.

The first batch or two got a little too brown as I adjusted my temperature and cooking time.

They weren't perfect, but they were pretty good anyway! We glazed them with a powdered sugar and milk icing. yummmmmm.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What's Cookin' Wednesday - Beer Bread

Have you ever made Beer Bread before? The first time I ever had it was from a mix that was sold by Tastefully Simple, the home party food company. The mix is fantastic, but I was determined there had to be a cheaper way to make it. So, I went on a hunt for a recipe and found one. I have been baking it for years.
It. Is. Wonderful. And easy. And although it bakes for 50 minutes, it only takes a few minutes to mix it up and prepare it for the oven. So, you have fresh baked bread, ready to eat in only about an hour.


3 cups self rising flour.

(I never seem to have any on hand, so I use the substitutions instead:
3 cups all purpose flour, 1 1/2 teasp salt, 3 T baking powder)

2 T sugar
12 ounce bottle beer
1/4 cup butter, melted

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease loaf pan.

3. Mix flour and sugar.

Gradually add beer.

4. Pour into loaf pan. Drizzle melted butter over top.

5. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes. Remove from pan at once.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Organic Bloom Picture Frames

Not too long ago, a photographer friend of mine introduced me to a line of gorgeous wood picture frames, called Organic Bloom. They come in terrific shapes and colors and really make great photographs look wonderful in your home. However, they are only available to purchase through photographers.

Here is a close up of one of the pictures we took this past Christmas when we were with my family in North Carolina. It was classic Sophia!

My picture isn't quite the right size for the frame, so as a temporary fix, I "matted" it with some striped scrapbooking paper.

I am embarrassed to say how long I have had these frames sitting in my dining room waiting to be hung.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Giveaway Time!

Once upon a time, many moons ago, I used to be a rep for Southern Living at Home. Southern Living at Home isn't around anymore, I believe they were reorganized under a new name after the parent company of Southern Living magazine sold off that division. But I digress...
During my time with Southern Living at Home, I picked up lots of really great things at great prices with my consultant discount. I was cleaning out my laundry room this morning, and ran across one of those items. Don't ask me why it was in the laundry room. There were lots of things in there that really didn't belong! I will post the after pictures later, the before pictures were just way too scary.
The item I ran across is a copy of Southern Living Ideas for Great Kids' Rooms, a soft cover book, that is still wrapped in shrink wrap.
A quick bit of research shows me that it doesn't appear to be generally available new anymore. You can pick up a used copy for $4 on amazon, or $7 on ebay. Or, you can comment here and I'll give you my new copy for free! :)
Just post a comment. Any comment. Say hi, talk about the weather, whatever, as long as it is nice!
We will collect comments over the next few days, and post the winner on Friday 3/30.
So, be sure and comment before midnight 3/29. Domestic shipping to the winner is included. So, if you are international, please be prepared to pay the difference in shipping if you win.

**** This Giveaway is now Closed *****

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Elephant Bar

I have a Kindergartener who has really discovered the joy of reading. I mean, she has loved books and reading since she was tiny. And she has been learning to read for a year or so, but recently everything has really "clicked" and she is successfully reading independently. One of the things she does in her classroom, is complete reading sheets. When she reads a book, she records the title on her reading sheet. Each sheet has a place to write down 15 book titles, and each time she completes a sheet and turns it in, she gets a sticker on a chart on the wall. When the chart on the wall is completely filled with stickers, it represents 300 books. She recently completed the wall chart, and as a reward, her teacher gave her a Junior Explorer certificate for the Elephant Bar - good for a free kids meal. God Bless her, Olivia's kindergarten teacher lives down the street from us and knows all of our girls (she was also Georgia's kindergarten teacher, and we are crossing our fingers that Sophia may have her next year too). Mrs. Marshall, also has three daughters, so she was kind enough to give us three certificates instead of just one!
Olivia was so excited about going out to a "fancy dinner" together. She and the sisters got dressed up and off we went!

We had never been to the Elephant Bar before, so even though it is a chain restaurant, it was kind of an adventure for us. Really, if you think about it, just about everything can be an adventure with three girls under the age of 9 whether you like it or not!

The girls ordered a hamburger and bbq ribs. I didn't take any pictures of their meals, they were pretty standard - what you would expect. Good sized portions and they enjoyed them a lot!

Chris and I started off with their lettuce wraps appetizer. We are big fans of the lettuce wraps at other restaurants, so we were looking forward to them. They had a different flavor, but were very good.

The girls really enjoyed the special time together as a family. It really made us want to do things like this more often.

We started with a garden salad. Chris was so hungry, he began eating and almost forgot we were sharing!

For our entree, we shared the Sechzuan garlic shrimp and chicken with vegetable fried rice.

It was absolutely delicious!

We also shared a side order of the four cheese and macaroni - it was very, very good!

Just before we left, the girls all posed in front a big Elephant in the foyer.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A quiet place

We all need a quiet place, don't we?

Lately, this is where my Georgia sneaks off to. It used to be a linen closet, but now it serves as overflow fabric storage. She brought in a pillow and a blanket, and a flashlight. She hides in here from her sisters and reads.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Organized Chaos

It is hard to believe that I can function with a desk this messy, isn't it?

I like to call it organized chaos. I know where things are. pretty much.


When I am sitting at my desk, trying to resist the urge to start cleaning it up a bit, I look over at my happy board.

These are the things that make me smile.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What's Cookin' Wednesday - Chicken Lambrusco

A few months ago, a friend of mine told me about a great cheap sparkling wine at Trader Joe's - Lambrusco for $4.99 a bottle. So, when I ran across this recipe, I thought it sounded good and I looked forward to trying it.

Chicken Lambrusco

1 1/3 c. Lambrusco
1/2 c. soy sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 onion, sliced
garlic powder
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. rosemary
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Marinate for 2-3 days. Cook over low coals.

So, I used a whole chicken, cut up, instead of chicken breasts, as I prefer dark to white meat. I did marinate it for 2 days, and grilled it on the gas grill.

It was delicious!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monogram it!

I do love monogrammed items. Love. Love. Love.

So, I ran across the idea to do this on Pinterest somewhere, and remembered it when I was strolling through Ikea, trying not to buy everything in sight!

I saw this frame and remembered the Pinterest idea, so I bought it and brought it home. Then, it sat in my garage for about 3 months!!

Then, I remembered it again when I was in Joann's fabrics, trying not to buy things I didn't need (see a pattern here?!)
So, I picked up some beige-y, linen-y looking fabric. Then, it sat on a shelf in my studio for a month or so. (again, see a pattern here?)
Finally, I talked Jessica into monogramming the fabric for me, and I mounted in the frame.

I have a big mirrored wall in my dining room. I'm not crazy about the wall, but I am also not crazy enough to try doing something about removing it. Besides, I think Chris would laugh if I suggested it! So, I bought some 3m picture hanging adhesive-y stuff and hung that frame up in the middle of the mirrored wall. And, I dig it!
What do you think?