Friday, February 25, 2011

Flowers on Friday: Dining Room Deja Vu

I'm afraid you've already seen my flowers on friday, you saw it on Wednesday during our Dining Room Reveal. I asked Lee on Tuesday if maybe, just this once I could have my flowers early, he said NO WAY! But then came home with a beautiful Green and White bouquet (I might have mentioned a few times out loud on Monday how nice a green and white bouquet would look, who new husbands listened?)
It's 50% filler leaves (which I like! One day I'll make a bouquet out of just leaves, does that still count as a bouquet?) There are white lilies, white gerbers, white mums, daisies, white carnations, and some babies breath .
This one definitely goes down as one of my Favorite all time flowers on friday!

So here's a little deja vu, for you (I'm a poet).
Our dining room bouquet, all green and white!

Wish us luck this weekend, we are determined to cross off some TO DOs and some MUST DOs, still haven't decided whether or not to run the wires for the lamp in the hall. I'll let you know on Monday!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

$50 challenge update: Farsbo Lamp

Just an update on our $50 hallway challenge:
You might recognize the Mirror, it's from our original Manor. He previously lived in the Dining Room. 
I found the lamp at Ikea yesterday, it was the perfect diameter (I've been having trouble finding a lamp that will fit on our narrow console). It has a very nice silhouette to it, and the price was just right at $21.99 Canadian, I would tell you the American price but I can't find it on the website, then I checked the Canadian website and it's not there either. Apparently I just imagined the perfect lamp.
Maybe, it was all just a fantastic Ikea shopping dream (it wouldn't be the first).
I was told it just came in from the woman who worked there after she heard my little squeal when I found it :), true story.
So I hope it will make it's way on to the website soon, but if you live in BC it's there, trust me :)

I bought the Ekas Shade to go with it for $8.00, so for $30.00 I have a perfect lamp for the hallway console!

But one little, teeny, tiny problem, it's so tiny it's barely worth mentioning but . . . . 
When I put the lamp together, brought it up stairs, put it on top of the console, then tried to plug it in, I noticed there isn't an electrical outlet on that side of the hall :S eeeerrrrrrr .  . . . . oops.
I threw what could only be called a mild hissy fit :) and Lee did his detective work, and being the super handy, electrical engineer that he is, said it wouldn't be too much work for him to install an electrical outlet on that side, it would simply involve cramming stuffing smashing putting  his 6'8" body into the 4' tall attic crawling about 15 feet in insulation then running the wires. He said he could do it this weekend (husband of the year or what?). But I'm still debating whether or not we should just scrap the idea of a lamp.
I'll let you know how it goes on Monday :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dining Room Reveal!!

Finally somewhere to eat :)
We've finished the dining room! Our 5 year anniversary gift to ourselves is the perfect size and shape for the room (you can read more about our anniversary gift here)The artwork is up, if you missed it you can see that post here. The dining chair slipcovers are ironed (read more about the dining chairs here). The dining room light has been hung and the tableware has been purchased. It's done!
and officially ready for a dinner party for 4!

Here's the Before (errrr . . . Kind of):

I used our mercury glass vase to hold a little green and white bouquet. I used our new new to us plates, and matched them with our everyday white plates. The runners were made from a table cloth I found at Value Village for $2.99 I didn't sew the edges, but instead opted to fray them, I loved the look and I really liked the no sew aspect of them.

Every dinner party needs wine and wine glasses to drink it from, so I set some of our crystal wine glasses. I also provide a small water glass,  because if there's good wine around you don't want a lot of water :) 

And that's all she wrote. It's done, we're super happy with the way it turned out. Very neutral, very bright, not too formal, not too casual, just perfect. If goldilocks stopped by our house she'd definitely stay for dinner :)
I'm looking forward to many more table setting posts and holiday tables to share, but for now I think I'll cook dinner for some friends!
Here's another look at her all done up:

And here's the shot with just a peek of the Laundry Room/Mudroom:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dining Room accessories from Value Village

Honestly we don't set the table very often. We'll do it for company . . . . sometimes :)
I do like to have dishes and place mats and table runners for those special occasions. But I don't believe in having a full set of dishes just for special occasions so we keep a couple of side plates in a couple different patterns to jazz up our plain white, everyday plates.
So I went to Value Village in hopes of finding a couple of plates to match our new dining room.

It was a good day, I found:
  • 4 side plates with green rims, for $1.99
  • 4 small plates with green ferns on them $1.99
  • 4 green place mats with a little streak of blue through them $1.99
  • a beige table cloth that I've promptly made into two table runners $2.99
So I got all of that for less then $10. I'm hoping that it will all go together nicely. I'm hoping to set the table, take some photos for the dining room reveal, then promptly throwing a dinner party to get full use out of the finished dining room :)
Full Dining Room Reveal Tomorrow :) I also think there will be a sneek peek of the Laundry Room in the background. Eeeek, that's the next project to get started.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Meal Plan Monday: Budget!

I LOVE being a housewife (and a blogger-ess) and one of the many reason I'm able to be a housewife and stay at home  is by squeezing every penny, and saving the rest when I can.
Here's how I keep some pennies in my wallet and squeeze the rest to get all the food we need, plus a little we don't need and a little we shouldn't eat :)
  •  As you know I always do a Meal Plan Monday :) Our weekly food bill went down by almost half once I started planning our meals.
  • I always check the pantry, fridge and freezer before I go out, this saves money on many levels, first I can make sure I don't buy items we already have. Second I can use up anything that might soon expire (wasting food is the enemy :) and three you can have a pantry week! 
*Pantry Week is when you try to make the bulk of your meals from the pantry, fridge and freezer before you go the grocery store for the week. We allot a $20 spending cap on food for the week, just enough to add a little meat and a little fresh veggies into the mix. We can only manage to do this 6 or 7 times a year, but the savings are very welcomed in our savings account.*
  • I ALWAYS plan to use the leftovers. There are never enough for dinner the next night but there is enough for Lee's lunch the next day. I do plan on using the leftovers to make parts of the next nights dinner, like roast chicken for chicken pot pies the next day or leftover roast beef for beef dip. 
  • Planned Snacks, If we don't plan our snacks we run out for anything and everything we can find . . . mmmm. . . . Timbits (aka. donut holes to our American Friends :)
  • Plan Breakfast, on weekends I make a big double batch of pancakes and freeze the extras. It works Great, just pull them out of the freezer and pop into the toaster.
  • I use our Slow Cooker a lot. I can buy very cheap cuts of meat, and they turn out amazing!
  • Make meatless once or twice a week. This option has many benefits aside from the cost savings.
  • We make at least 90% of our meals from scratch. Pre-packaged while not being very good for you (in general) are also very Expensive. So we try to cook all of our meals ourselves. If you are going to buy pre-packaged food avoid buy single serving portions, more packaging means more money.
  • We buy no name brands whenever possible, if the quality is the same we go ahead an buy no-name. They are even coming out with no-name brand or store brand organic foods.
  • I only grocery shop once a week, it cuts down on the impulse purchases.
  • We don't buy pre mix's of things (except for Montreal Steak Spice, or Poultry Seasoning, I haven't been able to crack those codes yet :) but pancake mix, biscuit mix, taco seasoning,  chili seasoning we make ourselves. *Bulk section spices are usually cheaper then pre-packaged spices.
  • Try as hard as possible to not shop with kids or husbands for that matter.
-Waste Less
-Store foods correctly
-Plan to use leftovers
-Take your lunch to work
-Shop Locally
-Shop in Season
And the number one rule is an oldy but a goody: NEVER, EVER SHOP HUNGRY!

This week we are going to try FISH TACOS!!!! Tilapia is a very inexpensive fish, so it's the perfect meal for our Budget Conscious Meal Plan Monday :)

1/2 cup (125 mL) shredded carrot 
1/4 cup (50 mL) thinly sliced red onion
1 tsp (5 mL) lime juice
1/4 cup (50 mL) light sour cream or plain yogurt
1 tbsp (15 mL) minced fresh coriander
1 green onion, minced
8 small flour tortilla or corn tortillas
1 plum tomato, diced
1/2 avocado, peeled and diced

1 lb (454 g) tilapia fillets or catfish fillets
1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
1 tsp (5 mL) chili powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried oregano
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper

Fish: On plate, combine oil, chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper; add fish and turn to coat.
Place on greased grill over medium-high heat; close lid and grill, turning once, until fish flakes easily when tested, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine carrot, red onion and lime juice. In separate small bowl, combine sour cream, coriander and green onion.

Break fish into chunks; divide among tortillas. Top with sour cream mixture, carrot mixture, tomato and avocado.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Houseplant CHIC

I LOVE houseplants, my perfect house would have a HUGE sun room off the back of it.
There are so many reasons to use houseplants:
  • Plants make you happy - a Chicago cardiologist conducted a test, and the findings were that if a hospital patient faced a window with a garden view, they recovered quicker then patients who faced a wall.
  • Plants fight fatigue and colds - It was found the plants reduced fatigue, coughs, sore throats, and cold related illnesses by more then 30% partially by increasing humidity levels and decreasing dust.
My major reason for having plants:
  • Plants Clean the air -  NASA did a study that showed, houseplants can remove up to 87% of indoor air pollutants in 24 hours. 
  • Plants can remove a variety of toxic air emissions, such as: ammonia, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, benzene, xylene and trichloroethytene.
Here's the Plants we have around the Manor:

First is our DUMB CANE (Dieffenbachia): It is one of the most common houseplants, and one of the easiest to care for (which makes it perfect for me :)
He needs Moderate to Low light, Moderate to Heavy watering, a little bit of 'food' once a month, we've have NO problems with this green guy. They prefer to be within 8 feet of a window but can survive a bit farther away (ours is about 10 feet away). They like it humid so daily misting is a must!They hate Drafts so keep them away from registers and opening doors.
They are a 'poisenious' plant so if you have young kids or pet who have an interest in eating plant leaves this is NOT the plant for you, luckily Max has no interest in plants!
This plant basket is actually a waste paper basket!

Next is our: BURGUNDY RUBBER PLANT (Ficus Elastica) Also a very common houseplant, very easy to take care of. They require Moderate to Low levels of light so 5-8 feet from a window is ideal. A rubber plant requires heavy watering once or twice a week. Because you want to water it heavily but you don't want the roots sitting in water so a pebble tray is super handy under one of these guys. 
This is the plant and basket we bought as part of our $50 hallway challenge!

Then we have our BOSTON FERN - again one of the most common houseplants (I feel very ordinary thanks to this post hehe) They require Medium levels of light so 4-7 feet from a bright window is necessary, I've found that our Fern needs A LOT of light we have him in the library next to a south facing window, although I'm suspecting come summer he'll need to be moved a few more feet away from that window. Ferns like moist soil, however during the winter months water when the top soil feels dry (but don't let it dry completely, that will make him angry). Misting is also necessary!!!! They like it warm during the day, cool during the night, they hate drafts and like to 'eat' once a month :)

Our ORCHID is a favorite of mine. Some people say they are finicky, some say they are the easiest of houseplants, my view on them is somewhere in between. I've had one that required no work at all, and bloomed for 6 months straight (then we left it in the garage after the move and it died). I have one now, where the blooms are doing great but the buds that were about to bloom died and fell off. But in general they are not as difficult as I thought they would be. The most important part is the soil, the roots need to breathe so using bark for soil is the only way to go. The also like orchid fertilizer, other fertilizer just won't cut it. They require low levels of water once a week to once every two weeks should do it. They love a daily mist! And they LOVE bright light at least 10 hours a day of indirect light a day!
If the leaves turn yellow, your giving it too much water.
If the foliage turns brown you are giving it too much light, essentially burning the plant.

and last is POTHOS IVY (Devils Ivy) The number 1 most common houseplant (I feel super original now :)
It is the easiest plant to keep! It can handle a variety of indoor conditions. The Pothos does have one pet peeve, It hates wet feet, so a pebble tray or good drainage is a must. To ensure success with a pothos ivy of your own Pick a plant with a good root system (pop it out of the pot at the store and ensure all the roots are strong and active, not mushy), and avoid over watering :)
Pothos is also slightly toxic if you eat it, so if you have kids or pets who won't eat their dinner but somehow find a potted plant irresistible avoid this plant.

Nasa suggests that for an 1800 square foot home you'll need 15-18 "good sized" houseplants, in 6-8 inch containers. It looks like we'll be needing some more plants :)

Here's some I'm looking to add to the menagerie of plants:
  • Chinese Evergreen 
  • Asparagus Fern
  • A jade plant
  • I would LOVE to try my hand at a Lemon Tree again (I definitely won't be leaving the next one in the garage when we move :( 
  • Some herbs on the kitchen window sill
  • I want to add some ferns to the front porch during the spring and summer and those will need to come in over the winter so those count as future houseplants.
  • I always wanted a peace lily but heard the are VERY toxic so I always avoided them. 

So there's our "Collection" If anyone has any other suggestions I would LOVE to hear them, please keep in mind that my thumbs are NOT green ,they are Black :) So only the easiest of plants will do for me!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dining Room ART

Here's the situation:
Big Wall  to fill, very low budget to fill it, and no artistic skill of my own. I LOVE Ikea's Ribba Frames, and for two huge frames the Price was reasonable ($35 each). So next I just had to figure out what to put in them.

I wanted something very simple, something that didn't scream LOOK AT ME!!! But something that said "Here I am aren't I pretty" hehe Nothing with too much color, nothing that clashed with the rest of the team room. Also, because we're working with a "great room", totally open concept, it had to play nice with not only the dining room furniture, but the living room furniture, the kitchen and because you can see the dining room from the library it also needed to compliment the library. Not to mention the fact that each picture would have to match the other in some way. 
My first thought was to take a couple of photos, blow them up and frame them, but . . . our local photo lab wanted $60 a picture. Which would bring each piece up to $95 plus tax. That's over $200 for dining room art.
So I turned my attention to Wall Decals!
I found this one at Target it was $12.99 and it was the perfect size to fit in the frames with the mats.

I took the wall decal cut it into two parts one side is 2/3rds and the other is 1/3.
Then I bought two sheets of poster board, at 89cents each.
Peeled the decal off, stuck it to the poster board and for less the $8.50 each we have art for the dining room.

Here's the close up:

I'm hoping to find some accent dishes for our dining room reveal so assuming the shopping gods are smiling on me this weekend, we should have a dining room reveal next week :)

And tomorrow a twist on our Flowers on Friday, we're going to do House Plants from around The Manor. A reader asked which plants we have hanging around here and I can't wait to share :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dining Room Art: In progress!

Sorry for the quick post but I'm working on our new Dining Room Artwork. Since my sister got all of the artist skills out of the two of us, I am forced to be clever when creating my own artwork.
So I'll be using these frames, with a wall decal from target (sorry I couldn't find the link). And hopefully with a little luck I'll have dining room art to share with you tomorrow :)

*Ignore the wrinkly slipcovers and ignore Lee's laptop backpack :) Geez . . . so un-professional ;) He was just about to sit down and do some work at the dining room table, hence the backpack, and wrinkly chair, the slipcover usually sits nicer then that :) I'll make sure to do a full dining room reveal as soon as all the pieces are in place! Soon Hopefully, Soon!
Also I finally got a good picture of the dining room chairs together with the dining room table :) 
What do you think?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Present: Hall Console

I Told you yesterday about my very sweet Valentine's Present from Lee. This is what I woke up to find:

Here's the Whole Story:
On Saturday we were at Homesense when I spotted the Perfect Console table for our upstairs hallway. I begged, I pleaded but Lee just wouldn't agree, he cocked his head to the side and said, "I dunno I just don't like it". So we left, a little sad . . . okay a lot sad.
Then I woke up Valentine's Morning and there she was, just sitting pretty, right in her spot in the hallway with a little bow on her. Turns out Lee went back to the store when he was "renting a movie" and picked it up, hid it in the garage, made up a reason I couldn't go into the garage (apparently he had to park his car in the garage to do an oil change (an oil change that lasted all weekend), then carried the console up the stairs Monday Morning before work (while I was sleeping) and waited at work for my excited phone call.
I LOVE the rustic weathered wood, and I LOVE the numbered doors, I LOVE how narrow it is, it's only 8 inches deep, so perfect for our regular width hallway. But most of all I LOVE the hubs for surprising me :)

Here's the Catch: Because the console table for the hallway was a little more then I wanted to spend on a hall table I've given my self what I'm calling the $50 Challenge!
I'm going to try and spend no more then $50 on the rest of the hallway accessories.
That $50 needs to include:
  • A lamp
  • A Plant
  • A container for the plant
  • Artwork, maybe a mirror.
  • Any accessories
Now before you declare that impossible, we have a lot of Homeless picture frames, and artwork from The Old Manor. I'm going to try and reuse as much as possible, maybe paint some frames, make some artwork.

I'll keep you updated on my progress, fingers crossed it comes in on budget.
Here's the BEFORE:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Meal Plan Monday: Valentine's Day Dinner!

I hope everyone is having a very romantic day so far, although it's a Monday so don't feel bad if you're not :)
I had a very Romantic morning I can't wait to share with you my Valentine's Day gift. Lee out did himself this year. Although every year he seems to do something romantic, But this year I truly thought he had forgot.

With it being Meal Plan Monday I wanted to share with you our Meal Plan for Valentine's Day.

First last night I made cupcakes for Lee and some extras to take to work with him (he secretly buys work friends with cupcakes).
They are chocolate cupcakes, with pink vanilla icing. And just for Valentine's Day I bake a batch of brownies and use a small heart shaped cookie cutter, to cut out little brownie hearts for on top.

I am meeting Lee for lunch at the little sandwich shop near his work and then hitting the grocery store.
For dinner I am making something new. I typed in Valentine's Day Pasta (because Lee loves Pasta) and this recipe came up:
It's Rachael Ray's most romantic meal. They "You Won't be single for Long Vodka Cream Pasta" seeing as I haven't been single for a long time, I'm changing it to "I don't want to be single again Vodka Cream Pasta".
This recipe got rave reviews on the food network site, 472 rave reviews to be specific, I can't wait to try it.

Here's the recipe:
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, once around the pan in a slow stream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 16 ounces pasta, such as penne rigate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
  • Crusty bread, for passing


Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots. Gently saute shallots for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add vodka to the pan, 3 turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup. Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.
Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves. Pass pasta with crusty bread.

I'm planning on serving it with a Salad, the crusty bread and for desert, Leftover Brownies from the cupcake hearts with ice cream and whipped cream on top :) YUM
I'll also be taking pictures of my Valentine's Surprise to share with you tomorrow!
Wishing everyone A super HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! Filled with lots of Love and CHOCOLATE :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

We were featured on Style at Home Magazine's Blog!

I am so excited! I've had a subscription to Style at Home Magazine for years and so when I recieved an email from their web editor Lauren, I literally JUMPED at the chance to have the blog featured!
I had to anwser 10 questions, some were expected "if you had unlimited funds what one thing would you buy?" and some were very un-expected "What song, movie or soundtrack sums up your life?"
But it was really fun answering the questions and very exciting to see my name and the old blog on Style at Home's Website.

I hope you'll stop by and check it out!

p.s. Is it weird I was so excited that the shirt I wore in the picture matched their header :) Lee is shaking his head YES over my shoulder.

Flowers on Friday: Orchid

I LOVE orchids and in recent years they have become so much cheaper. You may remember our last orchid for the previous Manor. It seemed to make it's way into every photo of the living room. He was only $19.99 and lasted us almost 6 months in bloom. Sadly when we moved he was . . . murdered (we left him in the garage with the other house plants, completely by accident).
So after a period of mourning we've moved on. Our new orchid moved it's way not only into our hearts but also into the same green container. And best part was he only cost us $12.99 (that's cheaper then most grocery store bouquets). We've decided he'll live in the Library. An orchid just seems like a snooty plant and so the library seemed like the perfect spot for him. hehe

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pantry Organization Part II

I finally got around to organizing the Kitchen Pantry. I still cannot believe how long it takes to set up a house. I remember when I was little I could find the play husband, set up the play house, take care of the fake babies and have it all down by dinner.
But one thing at a time and yesterday was the kitchen pantry.
First I we Lee installed the pull down racks (thank goodness because standing on my tippy toes was starting to hurt). They were really simple to install (for Lee anyways). Although we had to install one twice because we didn't leave any clearance for the door hinges and the rack would hit them when you pulled it down.
I choose these exact ones, first because of their price ($10) and second because they could hold more then just little spice bottles. These racks can hold anything from soup cans, to jars of pasta sauce, to a box of jello. They were too narrow to fit the big double cans of tomatoes and chick peas :(

I was able to install the little wire basket by myself, as it involved no tools :) I thought it was a good place to store our coffee filters and coffee. Because we don't often drink coffee, we only have a small bag of it on hand (I Love coffee but I have to limit my intake to once a week). So the little basket works great for that.

Lee is a big tea drinker, and I enjoy a cup here and there so we do have a lot of tea on hand. On the middle shelf you'll see a clear container labeled Green Tea, we buy loose leaf green tea and store it in an air tight container. And on the lowest shelf on the right hand side you'll see some tea bags in a clear container (from Ikea) made for holding tea bags. I love this container, it has little dividers inside to separate all your different tea bags.

I like to bake, sometimes from scratch, sometimes from a mix. So I have a dedicated cupboard for just baking supplies. I found that when I kept all the baking ingredients in with the rest of our food, I would be moving the condensed milk I use twice a year to get to the tea I use twice a day. So I picked the small cupboard next to the pantry cupboard and designated that "The Baking Cupboard".
Inside the baking cupboard I keep the Brown Sugar, the chocolate chips, the vanilla extract, the raw sugar, the brownie mix (yum).

There wasn't enough room to keep all the flour and big bag of sugar, so I made space in the Lower part of the pantry.
Under the counter is our lower pantry.  I store things that I don't need to get to everyday here. It's also the COSTCO part of the kitchen (if you shop at costco you need a costco part of the kitchen, a place where you store all of the "extra" food, because nothing at costco comes in a one pack). Since these doors wouldn't be opened on a daily basis, I thought it would be a good cool, dark place to store our onions, potato's, yams and garlic.

You've seen it all open, here's what it looks like all closed:

Organizing the Pantry has completely gotten me in the mood to empty out the rest of the kitchen cabinets and get to work. Can't wait to share :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pantry Organization Part 1

Still trying to wrap up some loose ends around The Manor. One of those loose ends being organizing our pantry (I'm using the word pantry even though technically it's just a cupboard :). I bought these organizers at Walmart on my last trip to Bellingham, and they've been sitting on my kitchen counter for almost a week. So today I'll be attempting to install them myself but I would not at all be surprised if I end up baking chocolate chip cookies for Lee in exchange for him installing them for me :)

I purchased 2 of these pull down shelves. Our cupboards go right up to the 9 foot ceilings and sometimes a girl needs a little help reaching.
Rubbermaid makes these, and at only $10 each I thought they were a steal!

I also picked up a little basket I thought it would be useful for little packaged snacks or coffee filters.

So I've got my plan, now I've just got to put it into action. Oh . . . . .and bake some cookies :)
Meet me back here tomorrow to check out the finished product, our newly organized
kitchen cupboards pantry.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dining Room Light

Just a quickie today, I feel like I have a million and one things going on right now. I feel super overwhelmed, how you fantastic ladies with small kids do it I will never know, you are my hero :) My problem is, I have started too many projects. Although the problem isn't the starting it's the lack of finishing that's happening. I decided to re-do the FAMILY ROOM curtains, which I'm soooo not sure about, and it's causing a bit of a ripple effect. The Laundry Room is getting a bit of an up-do, and the bedroom is crying out for attention, much like the forgotten good child, who never causes a fuss then continually gets overlooked, poor bedroom.

I do have one completed project (maybe because it fell under the Lee category of projects). Our new dining room fixture. I know it seems very plain, but because I didn't want it to compete with the pendant lights we picked out for over the Peninsula, the chandelier above the staircase and the sconces in the Family Room, I really just wanted a light that would play nice with all of the rest of the lighting, and this one in definitely a team player.

See you back here tomorrow when I am determined to finish something and share!!!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Meal Plan Monday: Very Rainy Week!

Looks like we have a dreary rainy week ahead of us, except for Tuesday :) (woo hoo?)
So this week looks like comfort food at it's best.

Monday: This Monday we'll be practicing Meatless Monday! I usually find vegetarian meals to be a bit bland, so I've found the best way to make vegetarian meals is Indian Style. Curry could add flavor to a shoe, so it's bound to add some taste to meatless meals. :) (Please no hate mail from Vegetarians, I am in no way comparing vegetarian cuisine to a shoe :)

Lunch: Leftover Pierogis with kielbasa and sour cream
Dinner: Rachel Rays Curried Winter Vegetable Stoup (one of our Favorites)
Here's the Recipe: (I couldn't find "Fire Roasted Tomatos, so I just used canned Diced Tomatos)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium eggplant, peel half of each one and chop into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small head cauliflower, cored and cut into florets
  • 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced into about one-inch chunks
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 cups vegetable or chicken stock plus 1 cup, divided
  • 2 rounded tablespoons mild curry paste, more if desired
  • 1/2 cup mango chutney
  • 1 can chickpeas (15 ounces)
  • 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes (28 ounces)
  • 1 bag spinach (10 ounces), thinly sliced
  • 1 bag pita chips
Place a large pot over medium-high heat with three turns of the pan of vegetable oil, about three tablespoons. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring for about 2 minutes. 
Add the cauliflower and potatoes, turn the heat down to medium and cook for five minutes. Turn the heat back up to medium-high and add the red bell pepper, onion, garlic, salt and pepper, adding a little more oil if necessary if the mixture seems dry. 
Continue to cook for five more minutes, stirring every now and then. Add stock and bring up to a simmer.

While the stoup is coming up to a simmer, combine one cup of the stock with the curry paste and the mango chutney in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.

Add the curry mixture to the pot along with the chickpeas and tomatoes. Season with some salt and pepper, bring the mixture up to a bubble and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes and veggies are nice and tender and the flavors have melded together. Fold spinach in at the end.

To serve, ladle up a good amount of the stoup into a serving bowls and top with some pita chips.

Lunch: Leftover Curried Winter Vegetable Stoup
Dinner: Flattened Whole Chicken herb and garlic seasoning (on the BBQ, Today is suppose to be the only sunny day), Asparagus (on the BBQ), and Wild Rice

Lunch: Chicken Salad Sandwiches (made with the extra bbq'd chicken)
Dinner: Homemade macaroni and cheese (try making your own with a little bread crumb topping and you'll never go back to the boxed version), with a side of broccoli (and a little for Carson, he LOVES broccoli)

Lunch: Leftover Macaroni and Cheese, and a ham sandwich (with Swiss, assuming Lee doesn't eat it all by Thursday)
Dinner: Salmon and tofu stir fry

Lunch: Tuna Sandwich, Yogurt and Nuts, with Granola
Dinner: Ham, Scalloped Potatoes, Carrots and Peas, and Lee likes his with Dijon.

I recently found out that one of the highest markups in the grocery store is on Deli Meats. So we try to make Ham Sandwiches when we're having ham, Turkey Sandwiches when we've had Turkey, etc. . . . The quality of the meat is always way better, the sandwiches are way yummier and it tends to be way cheaper. We did make the decision to invest in a small, inexpensive deli slicer, but we found a cheap one at walmart and it works beautifully :)

So that's our Meal Plan Monday, anything you're planning on making this week??

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dining Room Chair Sneek Peek!

I was hoping to reveal the dining room chairs to you, but because they are striped I am having one
"H-E- double hockey sticks" of a time getting the lines not to jazz together in the picture, so I took a close up on the camera's macro setting for now and I have enlisted the help of a photographer girlfriend of mine to help me figure this out :)

Here's a little more info:
  • They're slipcovered in a beige ticking. 
  • They have a fantastic button detail on the back (that's what the picture is of :)
  • The fabric goes all the way to the floor.
  • and they are just a simple parsons style profile!
I hope that will shed some light and I hope that by early next week I'll have some great photos to share! I'm also working on a dining room art project for next week too :)
See you back here tomorrow for Flowers on Friday!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Getting Ready for Chinese New Year!

You may or may not know that Chinese New Year is tomorrow. I've been busy this week getting ready.

Even though I'm half Chinese we never really celebrated Chinese New Year in my house growing up. My Grandma would give us lucky money in a little red envelope, but that's really all I remember about it growing up.
Once I got older I looked into it, originally I thought it would be a good way to re-start already failed New Years resolutions :) hehe
 But the more I read, the more I became interested, the more I wanted to join in the fun. I'm going to share some of the things we do around here to ring in the New Year.
Now, I don't fully believe that organes are going to make the year run smoothly, or that wearing red means I'll make millions this year, but what's the harm in trying :)
So here's what we do:
  • Finish un-finished projects.
  • Clean the House, DEEP CLEAN the house. Think Spring Cleaning style, all the corners, under the beds, behind the fridge, the whole darn thing. If you don't have time to do the entire house, focus mainly on the kitchen.
  • Clean out your fridge and freezer. Throw away anything expired.
  • Go Grocery Shopping, start the New Year with a house full of food.
  • Pay all of your outstanding bills, and, if possible, pay off all debt. It's not good to drag debt into the New Year. 
  • Stop at the ATM and pull out a little extra cash (if there is any after paying off bills and debt) even if you pull out 20 one dollar bills, it's good luck to start the New Year with a "Fat" wallet.
  • Bowls full of Fruit and Nuts around the house symbolize abundance. 
  • Here's my Favorite Part: GO SHOPPING! Buy something New, Bonus points if it's RED.
  • On New Years Day wear RED. It doesn't have to be head to toe red, just something. A red shirt, or even just an accessory!
  • Buy 9 of the largest,  as close to flawless oranges you can find, display them on the kitchen counter. 

  • Cleaning the Floors before New Years Day is to be done in a particular way. Sweep the dirt into the middle of the room. Don't sweep towards the doors, it's like sweeping your luck out the doors.

  • On new years day don't forget to roll your perfect oranges across the front door threshold (think of it as rolling the luck in).
And Last:
  • My second favorite part of Chinese New Year is that it's bad luck to Clean on New Years Day, all day. If you clean you will be cleaning away your luck! 
  • It's also bad luck to use knives on New Years Day, so it's either prepare the food the night before or go out for dinner. So no cooking or cleaning that is reason enough for me to celebrate.
But the Most Important Part of Chinese New Year, is to spend it with Family and Friends! 

And if you're wondering what we bought new for Chinese New Year . . . . It's our DINING ROOM CHAIRS. We picked them up Yesterday! Can't wait to share.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Library Reveal Part II

If you caught our Library Reveal Part 1 you'd notice we had some very important parts missing. I finally found the missing parts, sewed them up and now we can do a Fully Finished Library Reveal.

I searched high, low and everything in between for fabric, I've been to every fabric store in the Greater Vancouver Region, I'd even been to a different country (USA) for fabric and I finally found it, although in an unlikely place.
I was shopping in Target, looking for place mats when I saw . . . TABLECLOTHS. Not being a person who uses tablecloths I walked by, but then I thought what is a tablecloth but fabric!!!
So I went back to see what the measurements were. 60" x 84" long (a ready made window panel is 84" long so I bought them). But I knew that our windows are taller then standard windows so I bought an extra tablecloth in a contrasting pattern to add to the bottom.

Also Did I mention they were on SALE!!!! $11.88 each. I bought Three tablecloths in total.

Lee mounted the bar wall to wall inside the little alcove. And I used these curtain rings to hold up the tablecloths :) I love these clips!
Because I bought ready made "Tablecloths" all the edges were beautifully hemmed, in fact if our windows were standard height I wouldn't have had any sewing to do at all. But alas, our windows aren't standard and I set off adding the contrasting fabric to the bottom. Because my contrasting fabric was also a table cloth with the exact same dimensions it meant that each side of the contrasting tablecloth had finished, nicely hemmed edges so it was just a matter of simply attaching the contrasting fabric to the main fabric by sewing one straight line! SUPER EASY!

So I picked out one of the colors from the pattern and chose that for my accent. Because we already had a green lamp it made perfect sense to pull the green out of the pattern.

Using the trusty Envelope Pillow Cover method I sewed up a couple of green velvet pillows.

And that's our Fully Finished LIBRARY! :)

Here's View Number 1:

View Number 2:
View Number 3:

View Number 4 (from the Dining Room):

So, what did you think of our tablecloths I mean Curtains :)?


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