Thursday, August 21, 2014

Gearing Up For Another Great Blog Season!

Summer is just about over and I wanted to write a quick update for all of you lovely readers!

I have had quite a busy summer and am honestly not ready for it to be over. I am trying to enjoy the last of these days before it turns cold again. I have been working on quite a few posts and have several new topics to add to my reader list for you all! I am excited about the future posts for this blog and hope you all will enjoy them as well!

Over the summer I have worked on yet another room makeover, two actually! My living room & hallway. Still haven't finished decorating ANY of the previously made-over rooms, but I have been slowly working on them as I find the things I'm looking for to complete the 'look' of each room. I will be sharing living room renovation pics when I come back from my summer break.

I have been back at making and canning homemade jelly this year! I already made two batches of Strawberry Vanilla, and a batch of Blueberry jelly. I have plans to make more strawberry, more blueberry, plus grape and blackberry jellies too! I probably wont have recipes there to share, but I might share some pics of all the canned goods! Our apple trees have not done well so I probably wont be doing much canning with them, but I did get a gallon of cherries off our trees and want to attempt homemade cherry pie filling! Homemade spaghetti sauce (canned) is another canned item I want to try and make soon too.

Our gardening experience has been less than good this year. Not only did I get started late, but I also ended up spending 2 weeks on a blueberry farm, and then two weeks on the living room/hallway makeover, and then some time on vacation to see my best friend & my sister. Needless to say, I am grateful for the green beans we have gotten out of it so far (3 quarts and counting!) and there are plenty of green tomatoes that are just needing to turn red so I can make some homemade spaghetti sauce! Our okra is not doing well at all. The plants are barely knee high and there are only a few pieces of okra all together. My corn looks terrible as well, but it might surprise me in the end. I really think we will get nothing there either. I planted sweet onions in the main garden...they have since been transplanted into the organic bed where the dirt is looser to hopefully help them grow.

Cloth Diapering is going really well! I have written an update post to share more details about that with you. We are pretty much full time cloth now. In the beginning we did cloth only at home. Now I am brave and do cloth on the go, and on all-day times away from home. Still not brave enough to do cloth while on vacation, but that's okay. :)

Breastfeeding is going well too! Little Man is a pro and is getting so big. I cant believe how fast he is growing, but it is exciting and I'm happy he is getting big. I recently discovered that I can donate breastmilk and have donated 206oz. so far! I'm working on getting together more to donate again. It is such a wonderful feeling! (I will also be sharing more details on this!)

I've been into healthier eating lately and have come up with a few yummy recipes which I plan to share with you all when I come back. Oatmeal is a main food for me right now with pumping to donate milk. I make oats for breakfast, muffins, cookies, put it in smoothies...its a huge part of my diet so I've had to come up with many ways to eat it in order to avoid burning out on it! I've also got a new Cajun recipe to share with you as well! Hubby has been cooking in the kitchen this summer!!

Our cat Demi is doing SO well with LM. They are good play mates and LM crawls after him all over the living room and hallway. Its quite entertaining to watch them play.

I have quite a bit more that I plan to share with you during the fall months!

See y'all soon!

-Helen

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Posts on Hold

I am having laptop issues again. I do believe that my hard drive is about to crash (it's caused problems in the past). I am really not happy that I've had to have it fixed so many times this past year. I'm really hoping that this next fix will be a final one as it is quite annoying to try and do stuff when it keeps breaking down.


I have been writing posts or starting post ideas and saving them on my external hard drive, but don't have anything really finished enough to post on the blog. I do have stuff to share, but its not ready yet and laptop issues make it next to impossible to get them finished.


I hope to resume posting at the end of June, but I might wait til August if things in life get too busy the next few weeks (I have a lot of stuff coming up that I have said I would help with) so just bare with me as I get through summer! :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wednesday Weekly Review #34


It has been awhile, but then it's difficult to put out weekly posts when you don't have internet at home! I wanted to put this post out today because I've lately taken an interest in new or recent mommy blogs. (Wonder why? lol.) Here are three blogs I've found recently and am currently enjoying reading! I hope you will enjoy looking through their posts as much as I have and do!!

http://www.craftychelsea.com/
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Crafty Chelsea. This is a blog I'm really excited about because she has a little boy, like me! She also does a lot of really fun ideas she's put together for Little J and I find them quite inspiring! Check out her Quiet Book she put together for him. I am totally going to use some of these ideas as I am putting together LM's quiet book!

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Domesticated Working Woman. Lins & I have been on almost the exact same pregnancy and baby journey for the past 6 months or so. I found her blog quite awhile ago and it has been encouraging to read her very real posts about the things she's going through or been through. Her mini-series: Things People Don't Tell You is wonderful! Check out the posts (from that series): PregnancyBreastfeeding, Back to Work After Baby, and Bringing Baby Home.

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Happily Ever After. Amanda's little girl has some of the cutest outfits! I love looking through her pics just to see what she is wearing! And of course it kind of makes me want to have a little girl next time around! :) Some of the latest outfits can be seen here. Not only does she have a cute baby girl, but she also shares really yummy recipes too! I really want to attempt making these Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Bites (with almond butter of course!).

Monday, May 19, 2014

Cajun Chex Mix

I want to start off by saying that I've made three different chex mix recipes and this one is by far my favorite one! It is totally worth taking the time to bake chex mix! It tastes amazing and is much better than the microwaved versions I've done in the past. This recipe can be made at mildly spicy or very spicy depending on your spicyness level. The ingredients below will make it spicy enough to give you a good zing, but if you want really spicy I'd double up on the hot sauce! Everyone who ate this chex mix LOVED it! Even guys who weren't crazy about spicy food! (We took it with us to a baseball game with Autry's work friends.) This was an amazing recipe and one I plan to make up again here in the next week or so!


Ingredients
2 sticks butter
1 teaspoon hot sauce*
3 Tablespoons worchestershier sauce
2 Tablespoons cajun seasoning
10 cups chex cereal (corn, wheat, rice)
4 cups crackers (oyster, cheese it, etc.)
3 cups pretzle pieces**
3 cups nuts (optional)
Garlic Salt
Cajun Seasoning

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

2. In a small saucepan melt the butter and add in hot sauce, worchestershire sauce, and 2 Tablespoons of cajun seasoning.


3. In a large bowl, mix together your collection of cereals, crackers, pretzels and nuts. You'll want 20 cups of chrunchies total.

4. When the butter mix is melted and ready to use, pour a little of it over your large bowl mix. Don't pour it all at once or it will fall to the bottom and the mix there will be extra coated while the rest is missing flavor. Pour butter mix over the chex mix and then stir it. Pour more, stir more until the butter is all gone. Make sure to get the bottom cereal moved around so it doesn't become soggy.


5. Grease 2 9x13 baking pans. Divide the mix into both pans. Sprinkle both pans with garlic salt. Stir the mix in each pan and add more garlic salt. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of cajun seasoning over each pan of mix (so 2 Tablespoons total). Stir.

6. Bake the mix in the oven for 1 hour, STIRRING EVERY 10 MINUTES!


7. Once the mix is baked, set it out to cool. When the mix is completely cooled, store in an airtight container or ziploc baggies.

Notes
*I use Tapatio Hot Sauce.
**I used pretzel sticks and broke them in half so they would be easier to grab and munch.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Master Bed & Bath Makeover, Part 2

Scraping off the popcorn texture on the ceiling in both bed & bathroom were a huge task!

In March I posted about redoing the master bed & bath. {Read Part 1 here.} The previous post shows all the before photos of the two rooms. Now I will show you the 'during' of the main part of the makeover: painting! The painting part really didn't take too long to do. I tore out the old wall paper, got the popcorn ceilings scraped off, re-textured the walls and ceilings, and finally edged & painted.

This is what the floor in the bathroom looked like after the ceiling texture was removed.
It took lots of vacuuming to get it all clean again!

I moved everything out of the bathroom and the only things left in the bedroom were our dresser (which I moved around the room so I could texture and paint the ceiling easier) and the headboard & frame to our bed. I'm really glad I took everything else out since scraping popcorn ceiling off really gets awful dust everywhere! Not only that, but it's just tons easier to move around in an empty room!

This is what my hallway looked like for 4 days.

The painting part really went pretty fast. It took almost all of four days to tear out the wall paper, texture the walls, and then paint. I was SO glad when this project was finished because my whole house was torn apart! Not only was there one foot width of space in my hallway, but all of our stuff from the master bathroom was relocated to the front bathroom during those days too. That stuff ended up staying the the bathroom for several weeks, but the hallway returned to normal as soon as the painted had dried.

BATHROOM
This is the during & after of scraping off the popcorn texture on the ceiling and painting the walls. I did add one photo of some of the decor I already have in place at the very end of this post. The rest of the decor is still coming together (and may take me a few months) so I thought I'd share a sneak peek of what I have going now.

Demi, our cat, wondering what is going on and where all the stuff went!

The bathroom before we painted.

Another 'before' shot of the bathroom.

I decided to take the tank off the toilet.
That made it much easier for painting the wall behind it.

Walls and ceiling are painted!
Paint stuff is everywhere!
{That camo bucket is the trash can in LM's room!}

Getting the room cleaned up.

Unfortunately when I peeled off the tape, some areas messed up.
This had to be redone with a fine art brush.

Even though I put a sheet down over the floor I still got paint all over it! :(
Fortunately I do plan to eventually replace the flooring in here so it's not a completely lost cause.

BEDROOM
The room seemed to take forever to texture and paint. I was nervous about doing the walls and ceiling all the same color but I was brave and went for it. Result: I LOVE IT! I'm SO glad I did it all the same color and it makes our wood trim/doors and dark wood furniture stand out really nice too!

Bedroom without most of the furniture and previous decor.

Wallpaper has been removed! Yay!!


Edges have been painted. This was quite a chore, especially around the window!

More shots of the edges being worked on. Do you like my brush stroke poka dots there on the left wall? Lol.

This is me being nervous about painting the ceiling the same color as the walls.
I ended up putting a sheet over the frame and headboard to keep paint from splattering as I used the roller brush.

Walls & Ceiling are painted, all the gear is cleaned up, and the floor is vaccumed! I was feeling quite accomplished.
Demi was enjoying the view out the window.

Demi chillin' in the chair while I clean everything up.

I decided to go ahead and paint over the light switches and electrical outlet covers.
I'm really glad I did this. It makes them not stand out from the wall.

SOME OF THE DECOR
With this being the second and third room in our Country Home Makeover I have come to a conclusion: it's much easier to retexture and paint than it is to decorate!! Decorating requires a) finding exactly what you are wanting/looking for and then b) being able to afford to buy it! Thrift stores & yard sales are still my favorite places to look, but some things (new curtains and a new comforter) don't always show up at those places. At least not usually in decent shape. I have bits of decor up in both the bathroom and bedroom, but much is still needed before I can reveal the finished rooms. In the mean time, here are two sneak peek photos of what I do have up!

Dried roses in three separate Kerr jars on the shelf over the toilet.

These yellow roses are very special to me. They are the first roses Autry ever gave me. I had them in a funky green vase I got at a yard sale back when we lived in the apartment. You can see the roses (and the vase) in all their glory in this post. I had them on the dresser in our bedroom at the apartment and one day I came home to find Emerald, our black cat, had knocked them over and 'played' with them. I was SO mad! I don't remember putting all the pieces in the vase, but last week when I went to attempt decorating I was delightfully surprised to find all the bits and pieces! I divided them up and now here they sit in fun jars!

Wedding photos are hung in antique gold frames on both sides of the dresser mirror.

As you can see, I am still working on the decor, but you already knew that from reading above. I did finally get photos for all the empty frames printed off and I have added candles to the dresser as well. I still have quite a bit left to do for the decor in the bedroom part since it involves more work and money than the small master bathroom. The photo arrangement on either side of the mirror was magazine inspired!

I will post 'after' pics as soon as I get everything pulled together. I might do those separately though since I have a feeling the bathroom will be finished long before I get the bedroom decor pulled together. We will see!

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