Thursday, September 27, 2012

Apple Cinnamon Granola Muffins

Ladies & Gents, I am about to share with you one of my mom secret weapons.  These muffins are the trifecta of mommy-ing...they are yummy, they are easy and they are healthy.  Ahhh the perfect combination!

To get started you will need:

1 box of Apple Cinnamon Muffin Mix
1 Kids Pack of Apple Sauce
1 or 2 Large Carrots

Start by shredding the carrots using a fine grader.  In a large bowl combine the Muffin Mix and however many eggs they tell you to use on the package (usually 2).  Now we are going to use the apple sauce instead of the oil, so no oil!  Add in the one kids packet of apple sauce - I prefer the unsweetened.  You know, this stuff....

Next add a little less water then the Muffin Mix calls for.  If it says 3/4 of a cup I add a little more then 1/2 of a cup.  Add the shredded carrots to the bowl and mix it on up.

Grab your muffin tin and muffin papers.  You can also skip the papers and grease the pan but I like less grease and the more colorful papers.  Evenly distribute the muffin mix then top each one with a sprinkle of granola.  Any kind you like!

Pop the tin in the oven following the Muffin Mix directions for temp and time.  (I often cook them a little less then the box says.)  Let them cool and eat, eat, eat!  

The apple sauce makes them very moist and the granola gives them some crunch.  YUMMO!

Monday, September 24, 2012


I know I often come across as perfect...OK stop laughing.  I have faults.  I long list of them actually but today lets talk about one in particular, procrastination.  Actually I take that back, I am not a procrastinator.  I am a get really excited about something, jump in with tons of enthusiasm, get pretty far along on the project and then nothing.  I step away and it takes me forever to step back to it.  So I don't procrastinate the start.  I procrastinate the finish.

Exhibit A, the dining room.  Do you remember the dining room?  See I have trouble remembering it myself because we never use it.  So it has been so easy to ignore.  After some trial and error I did select a paint color (more on that here).  And I even put a little up on the walls.

But it has looked exactly like this ever since.  And that ever since is about 4 months ago.  Eeeek.  You know how some things just slap you in the face.  Well I just wrote those last two sentences and then sat starring at the computer for 7 minutes.  Sheesh.

But the good news is I got a little kick in the pants yesterday.  See my ultimate plan is to stencil that space above the chair rail and yesterday the stencil I have had my eye on at went on sale.  Whoot whoot!

moroccan stencil design

So this baby is in the mail on its way to me.  Which means I need to get paint up on the walls NOW!  Come on motivation, I know you are in their somewhere.

The plan is to paint, paint, paint and in no time that stencil will turn into something like this...

moroccan stencil design

But in a dining room.  My dining room that we will then have to have an adult dinner party and actually use.

Update: I wrote this post Saturday and have already painted one half of one wall.  Wow, I am on a roll now.  At this rate it will only take me 4 more months to get it done!  

Friday, September 21, 2012

Flaunt It

How is your Fall decor shaping up?  I am focused on flaunting what I've got.  Nothing like re-using and re-inventing what you already have around the house!

I took last year's Fall wreath

and updated it with a Fall bunting.

The mantel got an update as well with a few real pumpkins and some fakies from last year.

I re-used one of my favorite decor items. Channeling a decor idea from last Christmas, these mason jars (mason jars = love) are filled with burlap and orange lights bringing a bit of Halloween to my front table.  But just a bit, there is plenty of time for more tricks & treats.

I filled this hurricane with items from the past mantel as well as little fabric pumpkins I pulled together with items around the house.  My husband says they look more like lollipops then pumpkins...OK he may be right.

And the final touch was a change in scent.  I updated all the bathrooms with salt water orchid bamboo diffusers.  Don't forget what a difference your nose can make!

Oh and if anyone is wondering what my dog, Ellie, is doing this Fall.  She is doing what she did last Fall and all Summer and probably most of the Winter.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My Tummy Is Growling

It's Fall, there is a chill in the air and I am hungry!  So let's get cookin'.  And because we aren't actually eating, yet, I think we should start with dessert.  I found these pumpkin snickerdoodles on Pinterest and I made them last week and all I can say is YUM.  And all my friends could say who I shared them with was "send me the recipe!"  So here you go friends, I'm sending you the recipe.  Just click here!

Pumpkin snickerdoodles

Now that we have gotten our sweet tooth out of the way it is time to pull out the crock pot for seriously yummy Chicken Tortilla Soup.  I have made this one a bunch of times both for guests and as an easy Tuesday night dinner.  Don't let the long ingredient list fool you, it is super simple.  Follow this link for the good stuff.  Oh and here is a hint - buy a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken at the grocery store, hand shred it and your chicken is ready to go.

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

So after dinner and before our second dessert I figure we may need a snack.  This snack is great to make with the kiddos as well as eat with the kiddos.  This basic granola recipe works well on it's own but is also so yummy mixed with nuts, craisins, chocolate chips or all of the above.  Just add in the goodies after everything is baked and cooled.  Check it out here.

peanut butter granola - simple and easy w/ only 5 ingredients: oats, pb, honey, cinnamon, vanilla, bake at 325, done..a healthy snack!

OK so I'm starting to feel a little full which means we definitely need more dessert.  This one only takes 3 ingredients which you may already have in the pantry.  I made them for a ladies night and they went like hotcakes (do hotcakes go really fast and who calls them hotcakes anyways?!?!?).  And added bonus...they are vegan.  So check out this pic and drool then follow this link for the source and more yummy vegan ideas.  


And don't forget this week is all about sharing.  So please go to the MD Facebook Page to share your yummy recipes and any other Fall inspirations!

Monday, September 17, 2012

All About Fall

This week is all about Fall.  Easy Fall decor, Fall crafts and Fall recipes.  And I would like nothing more then for you to join in on the fun!  So here is the deal - throughout this week I ask you to share all your favorite Fall ideas on the MD Facebook page.  Just click here, "like" the MD page and then start sharing.  Share a pin, link to a recipe or add a pic of your Fall decor.  Anything (well anything Fall related and appropriate) goes.

So I thought I would kick things off with some fun Fall pumpkin craft ideas.  For most of us pumpkins scream Halloween, but these crafty pumpkin crafts can be used throughout the season to spice up your space.

My first fav is a sparkly pumpkin craft.  And because you do not have to cut this pumpkin open it will last much longer then a carved one.

These glitter pumpkins are all over the place.  I have seen them done with painted on glue or spray adhesive as they did here on HGTV.  I have a hunch that the painted on glue is a more kid friendly project if you plan to include the kiddos.  Spray adhesive is nasty stuff, but since my daughter is probably to young for this and I have a can of spray adhesive in my garage I will probably go that route.  Just hoping I don't adhere my fingers to the pumpkin ;)

OK OK so this next pumpkin craft is so last year but I loved it last year and I love it again this year.  So please excuse my unfashionable idea but I think this one could be used year after year.

book page pumpkin 034

This pumpkin is made from a paperback book and could also be done as an apple, if you are on pumpkin overload.  An apple would be a great teacher gift too!

Here (from Country Living) is a super simple idea to decorate your table.  Oh and I like the tip that goes along with it..."Candles at the dinner table should never have a fragrance." 

As soon as I find adorably cute pumpkins like this I will do this craft for sure.  And you could change out the ribbon for something more Fall rather than the Halloween feel.


This last one isn't exactly a craft but just a thought.  White pumpkins are gorgeous so use them to brighten up your Fall decor.  Just look at what they can do...

white pumkins 12 Great Ways to Decorate With Pumpkins!

{Flickr: Herz-allerliebst}

So jump into Fall...the water is warm!  And don't forget to share your ideas here.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Where To Begin?

So many of us think we aren't creative.  We stifle our abilities to discover before we even get going because we just don't know where to begin.  Well, I am here to put an end to that because I really feel like allowing my creative mind to strive has changed my life and heck...I want to change yours!

There are endless books on creativity and I think many of them are worth checking out, but I am going to take an easier approach and help you to get started on creating something simple for your home.

My first recommendation is to borrow other people ideas.  Read blogs and magazines.  Visit Pinterest.  Find something you like and make it, but tweak it a little.  Put your own spin on it.  Even if that is just the paint color, make it your own.  Starting here will help you build confidence.  Once you get a few projects under your belt you will begin to make bigger changes and take bigger risks.

So here is an example.  Last Fall I saw this wreath on Pinterest

I had never made a wreath before in my life but I read the tutorial and it looked doable.  I stuck with the same concept and just used felt for my flowers to give it a softer look.  A small tweak that made me feel confident.

BTW,  here is how I did it.

Once you have gained some confidence allow your mind to get creative.  Have a project in mind.  Go to Michael's or JoAnn's or wherever you go and walk around.  Let your mind run wild.  Look at things you haven't looked at before until an idea comes to mind.  Then be bold and go for it.  Don't spend a ton of cash, just do something simple.  That will allow you to not worry to much if it doesn't work out.

For example, when I walked into Michael's last week I knew I needed bookends but I had no idea how or what I was going to use to make them.  So what did I do?  I wandered.  Yup, I just started walking around the store.  I went thru two or three alternate ideas before I stumbled upon the cardboard houses.  I had no idea they even sold cardboard houses or why I would want them to sell cardboard houses at Michael's but now I was thrilled they did.

Here is how these came together.

And my final piece of advice I already touched on above but it is worth restating...start cheap.  If a project you spent $10 on doesn't work out, oh well, chalk it up as a learning experience.  If a $200 project doesn't work out, plan on crying yourself to sleep for a couple of nights.  And within that don't think everything you create needs to be or will be perfect.  Perfect in your eyes is truly perfect - perfect to a guest walking thru your house is a little extra glue and a paint spot you missed.  No one will ever notice!  They will be to busy being jealous of your amazing home ;)

So take a deep breath and repeat the following ten times...I am daring, I am smart and damn it I AM CREATIVE!    

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bathroom ReDONE!

Let's flashback a couple of months ago to this post about the very messy process that was our bathroom redo.  At that time the space was looking something like this...

with a little bit of this

Well, it is finally time to say goodbye to the pealing paint and caution tape because this bathroom is done!  Take a looksey!  

Success - if I do say so myself!  

We began with the paint, Buxton Blue from Bejamin Moore.  And then added wainscoting to the back wall.

This small amount of wainscoting made all the difference!  It brightened up the room in an instant.

Then we changed out the vanity knobs.  I actually found these at Target - 2 packs of 4 for $14 each.  

Then we found this great Towel rack at an adorable Etsy shop called 2 Country Chics.  Here is the link!


We also found this great towel hook at 2 County Chics which I love!

But my proudest find was this antique basket from my very favorite old things spot, Odana Antiques.  Cause y'all know I always have to have my something old.   

So a couple months later - but let me say that this could have all very well been done is one weekend - our daughter's bathroom is bright, cheery and kid friendly without being a kid explosion.  Needless to say, we are very happy with it!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Heart & Soul

For the past year our friends have been building their dream home.  Their dream is made up of 40 beautiful acres of wooded and marsh land in a secluded area outside Madison.

And in the middle of those 40 acres rests this.

Their custom built log home.  A project they poured their heart & soul into - treasure hunting to fill it with the most amazing details.  And to my delight they allowed me to take you on a tour of their dream.

As you enter the home you stand in front of a tree.  Yup...a tree that spans from floor to ceiling of their two story entry.

(Don't mind my husband and daughter playing in the background.)

To the right is my dream kitchen - antiqued white cabinets, white farm sink, stainless appliances and hood and a kitchen island they found at an antique store that I am still dreaming about.

Just look at this beauty...

Not to mention those wide plank hard wood floors.  Ahhh.

On the far side of the expansive room rests their dining table and an exposed brick wall with this baby built right in.

 Yup, a real deal pizza oven.  I'll take pepperoni please!

As you make your way up the beautiful all wood staircase you encounter just one of the dozens of details I just loved (and wanted to pack up and put in my bag).

And don't think that they hired some fancy designer to bring in all these pieces.  No, they collected and hunted and searched out every single item in this home.  Including the refurbished wood beams that made my heart sing!

Just look at the ceiling in one of the bedrooms.  They found these beams and applied the crackle finish to the white themselves.  I seriously almost moved into this bedroom, but eventually they chased me out.

My favorite thing about their amazing creativity was in the bathrooms.  Each one had a re-purposed vanity and sink that should be in a magazine spread.  Take a look...

And the Master Bath also had this amazing tub in addition to a giant walk-in shower.  Party in the shower!

As I made my way down the stairs this view of the entry caught my eye

and as I said goodbye to this breathtaking home (and to my friends too) I couldn't help but hum a little heart & soul...I fell in love with you.