Thursday, January 24, 2013

Valentine's crafts for toddler's

Valentine's Day is going to be here before I know it and I'm researching some fun little crafts and treats to make with my two year old. Here are a few fun things I've seen:

Crayon Hearts

Grow to Love Tree

Valentine Button Heart

Chocolate Dipped Pretzels

Melon Kabobs

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A new salad {recipe}

I get in major salad ruts.We have a side salad almost every night for dinner, and it ends up being pretty much the same thing every night... romaine, carrots, tomatoes and if I feel like it I'll add parmesan cheese and avocado. I usually just switch up the dressing depending upon what the main course is. I switched things up this past weekend using kale and brussels sprouts...and it was delicious!!! I told my husband what I was making and he was convinced that he would hate it, and to his surprise he loved it and even asked when I was going to make it again!

Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad (Bon Appetit Nov 2011)


1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large bunches of Tuscan kale (about 1 1/2 pounds total), center stem discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated or shredded with a knife
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup almonds with skins, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup finely grated Pecorino


Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper in a small bowl. Stir to blend; set aside to let flavors meld. Mix thinly sliced kale and shredded brussels sprouts in a large bowl.
Measure 1/2 cup oil into a cup. Spoon 1 tablespoon oil from cup into a small skillet; heat oil over medium-high heat. Add almonds to skillet and stir frequently until golden brown in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer nuts to a paper towel–lined plate. Sprinkle almonds lightly with salt.
Slowly whisk remaining olive oil in cup into lemon-juice mixture. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. 
DO AHEAD: Dressing, kale mixture, and toasted almonds can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Cover dressing and kale mixture separately and chill. Cover almonds and let stand at room temperature.
Add dressing and cheese to kale mixture; toss to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Garnish with almonds.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A bunch of blank walls

Moving into our house has been great, but now I have feel I have so many blank walls that need filling. I don't want to throw up the first thing I see, but these blank walls are killing me. My dream would be to own an original Chagall. We were so lucky as to have gone to the Chagall museum in Niece, France a few years back and I've been in love ever since. I'd take any one of his paintings, but these are wonderful:

So a Chagall is out of my price range and I'm thinking a poster isn't going to do the trick. I digress. Here are a few other ideas I'm throwing around that are much more economical:

Cute table, lamp and some cubes:

{ok, this might be more expensive than buying a Chagall}

A lovely console table and a nice large mirror:

I'll probably start out with something like this {sans piano}:

And until I decide on exactly what I want I'm sure I'll spend hours upon hours searching Houzz and Pinterest for "blank walls". 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Painting Stripes {tutorial}

I love stripes. My closet is filled with them and my kids always seem to be wearing them too. Why not bring my love of stripes to my downstairs bath? I read a bunch of tutorials online and felt pretty confident that I could do it. Look at these beautiful bathrooms I used for inspiration:

I decided to do a light and dark shade of grey {light grey is Behr - Silver Screen, dark grey is Benjamin Moore - Platinum Grey. Here is a step by step of what I did. 

1. Tape off the room. I'm so glad I covered the entire floor, apparently I'm a messy painter. 

2. The room was painted Sherwin Williams Softer Tan so first step was painting the entire bathroom the lighter grey. 

3. I measured the entire circumference of the bathroom {mine measured 260''}.  You want an even number of stripes to insure you start with a light stripe and end with a dark stripe. Using my total of 260" I decided to make my stripes 10" wide for a total of 26 stripes. 

Note: my stripes are vertical but the same concept is true for horizontal stripes, just measure total height of your wall vs the circumference. 

4. Measure and mark your stripes. I used a long level which made things so much easier and it worked as a great straight edge for marking my lines. This process took a little while but it is crucial in getting even, level stripes. 

5. Tape off your stripes. This is easy but the stripes get kind of trippy to look at once you get going. To make sure I didn't  paint a light stripe dark or visa versa I but at "G" in pencil on all the stripes that were getting painted the dark grey. 

6. Paint away. I did two coats and it turned out great. 

7. Remove your tape and admire your beautiful stripes. 

Here's how it turned out:

Art print is from here in case you were curious. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Golden Globe Fashion

Last night I actually sat down and watched the Golden Globe Awards. The whole thing, and it was great. I thought Tina and Amy did a great job. I wish we saw them more!

There were definitely some red carpet trends; red, white and a plunging neckline!



And showing some cleavage:

And my favorite dress of the evening was Jessica Alba {although I think she looks good in anything}.

The clutch was a little much, but I loved the dress.

Great start to the award season and I'm so happy Argo won best picture and Ben Afleck won for best director. I don't get to see that many movies with two kiddos but I saw this one and the awards were well deserved.

Friday, January 11, 2013

House Tour {kitchen}

We moved into our house just about one month ago and the first {and only} room I can say is "complete" is the kitchen. I absolutely love how everything came together. The builder had set standards and we could upgrade different finishes. I had always wanted Carrera marble in my kitchen, and that's what we got. We went with the marble for the countertop against the long wall. With two little kiddos running around I opted for absolute black granite on the island. So far I love the decision and I think the black on the island gives the kitchen a warmth that I wouldn't have had if I went with all marble. My father in law used to work in the tile industry, and happily sealed the marble for us. So far, so good in terms of any etching and stains. I did a basic subway tile for the backsplash and dark hardwood floors the entire downstairs of the house.  
There are a LOT of cabinets. The fridge, stove and wine fridge break them up nicely. It is so nice to finally have space for all my kitchen things and it makes it a lot easier to find the motivation to cook. I added a few pops of color with the utensil holder {mom got at Albertson's grocery store of all places} and Le Creuset pot in lime green. The painting in the corner we picked up in San Tropez a few years ago. Bananas and oranges never hurt to add a little color either. 

Here are some pictures of how everything came together:

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tuscan Chicken Soup {recipe}

All four of us have been home sick for the past 7 days. Two trips to the ER, dr's visits, and endless boxes of kleenex.  I am SO ready to get this out of our house! Somehow I had energy to cook a great soup that I thought I would share.

Kale Vegetable Chicken Soup

2 large chicken breasts (cooked and shredded)
1 medium yellow onion (medium dice)
4  carrots (peeled, washed, and medium dice)
2 cups fresh kale (chopped, stems removed)
2 zucchini (washed and medium diced)
2 cloves fresh garlic (chopped finely)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
Kosher salt-to taste
Fresh ground black pepper -to taste
1/2 cup Couscous (large pearl)
Parmiggiano reggiano cheese

In a large pot add 2 tbsp olive oil and saute onions and carrots over medium high heat for 8-10 minutes. Add zucchini and garlic. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add chicken stock, tomatoes, basil, thyme, kale and chicken. Simmer soup for 30 minutes, vegetables should be tender. Add the couscous and cook right in the soup for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Top with grated parmiggiano reggiano and serve!

** The couscous will absorb a lot of the liquid. If you want your soup to be more brothy, just add a few more cups of chicken stock.


Monday, January 7, 2013

Favorite Things {cleaning products}

Last week I received an email from our home builder titled "Monthly Home Maintenance Notification". Basically, you need to clean your house. It listed everything from vacuuming to cleaning out the lint screen from the dryer. I guess some people have no idea???

Which got me thinking, what are your favorite cleaning products?I know it isn't a very fun topic, but seriously, some are way better than others. Here are a few of my favorites:


Granite & Marble:

Hardwood Floors:

Stainless Steel:

Window & Surface Cleaner:

Cleaning Wipes:

Toilet Bowl Cleaner:

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Month of Meals {January}

I've said it again and again, "this month I'm going to start planning my meals". And I have, just not as consistently as I would like. Since it's the start to a new year, why not say it again. I use a combination of websites, Pinterest, cook books and my own recipes when coming up with things to make. I plan for cooking Sunday-Friday, with Thursdays open for left-overs. We usually eat out Saturday night. 

Here's what I've come up with for January {links to recipe when available}:

Jan 1-5
Chimichuri Steak & Chicken

Jan 6-12
Lettuce Wraps
Chicken Tacos

Jan 13-19
Stir Fry

Jan 20-16
Taco Salad
BBQ Chicken with Polenta Potatoes

January 27-31
BBQ Pork
Chicken Noodle Soup
Pesto Chicken Pasta
Pepper Crockpot Chicken

Note: I try and cook as healthy as possible. If a recipe calls for cream or butter, you can guarantee I swap it out for milk and olive oil. I also make a grocery list at the beginning of each week so I can go through the pantry and mark off what I already have and get everything I need. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I'm Back

My last post was in March of last year, and oh so much has happened in my life since then. I guess I should start with why I stopped blogging. I felt like it was taking over my role as a mom. I felt I had to come up with the most original, beautiful, never-seen-on-Pinterest before thoughts and ideas. I was also pregnant at the time {happy to say we welcomed a little boy to our family in September} and it was one more thing weighing me down. Having an 18 month old and being pregnant was exhausting in and of itself.

We also were in between houses. We were renting a darling house in a great neighborhood when we decided to buy a new home in a city nearby and closer to my husband's job {his commute was a little over an hour each day}. The day we put an offer in on the house we received an email from our then landlords that they were going to put the house we were renting up for sale. Only confirmation that us purchasing was exactly what we were supposed to be doing. So with a two week old, a house that I had to move out of and a house I purchased still under construction, we did the only thing anyone else would do in my situation, moved in with my parents. It ended up being a great time for us all {I think}. My parents helped out so much with my two year old while I took care of the baby. I was excited to move into our new house but sad to leave my parents {having dinners made and laundry done was such a blessing}.

Jump forward to the second week in December and we closed escrow on our first house. We totally love it and can't wait to make it our own.

Now that my life seems a little more "permanent" I decided to get back into this thing called blogging. I can't promise a post everyday, maybe not even every week but I'll do my best to bring readers things I hope they'll enjoy!

Here's for more to come,

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