Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Baby Dearest Pillow!

Anyone who know my husband, knows there is one thing in this world that he could not live without...

that one thing?


When the season begins in the fall, you cannot keep him out of the woods...he is totally smitten. If he could hunt for a living, he would be in heaven:)

When we first met, hunting and a love for the outdoors was something that attracted us to one another. The first few months of us getting to know one another, I don't think we spent more than 10 minutes inside, we were constantly going for walks, 4-wheeling, building campfires, and sitting under the stars talking.

When we found out we were expecting, we were so excited at the prospect of having a little one to love, nourish, and teach. So many of the qualities that Mike possesses were refined through his love for hunting, like patience, respect, caution, and care. I cannot wait for the day that he can pass on those lessons in character to our son or daughter, through teaching them one of his favorite pastimes.

All of this to say (hehe..sorry people, I'm a highly sentimental pregnant lady:) that when I saw this bedding set for the nursery, I knew it was fate...go ahead, take a close look at the print...see the details? little ducks, deer, sheep, and bunnies!! and it is gender neutral enough for if we have a boy or a girl!

Now that we have the set in the nursery, I absolutely love it! and although we still have board and batten to hang, walls to paint, furniture to refinish, and accessories to buy, I have begun to have a vision for the space, using the bedding set as my inspiration.

Since all the little woodland animals are so "us", I decided that that would be the common thread throughout the room.

Which brings me to this pillow, which I found on clearance at TJ Maxx for $10.00!!! The colors work perfectly with the bedding and it is so big and luxurious, great for keeping one's tush comfy while sitting on the floor playing:)

Although it was kinda cute already, I wanted to personalize it even more...
So I printed out baby and momma deer silluettes and cut them out, modifying them as I cut so that they looked just right. Then I went to Joanne's and found a brown suede fabric on clearance for 88 cents!!!

here are the silhouettes sitting on the suede:

Aren't they cute? hehe...

I also picked up some of this great fusible web for $3.99! This is quickly becoming one of my favorite things!!

Next, I traced the silhouettes onto the back of the webbing, peeled of the back, adhered it to the back of the fabric, and cut out the images:

Next, I simply removed the other backing from the webbing, and ironed them onto the pillow front...sorry for no pictures of this step, I was getting too excited for the end result. =)

here it is!!!!

What do you think??!!

I really do love it, and I know it is a unique look, but for us, its perfect!

I did a little photoshopping to see what I could do to make the pillow more feminine in the event that our little one is a girl, and here was what I came up with:

something along these lines...butterflies, flowers, etc...I love it:)

Can't wait to reveal more of the nursery makeover as we work on it in the coming months!!

I'm linked up to:
The Lettered Cottage

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Alas, I have succumb to the pressure...

There is a very good reason I deleted my facebook a few months ago...

a good reason I never joined twitter...

and a good reason I don't have "texting" on my phone...

Mike and I agreed that we would really prefer a more "unplugged" life...

and I was so happy about that...


I gave in to Pinterest.

and you know what?

Oh man, am I excited!!! =)

I figure that unlike all the other technology that I listed above, this truly is a very practical thing to be a part of...where else can you capture and save all your favorite things in one place, with only exerting the effort of a single mouse click?

and so it is official...

I'm going to start pinning...

Probably right after I finish this post, hehe.

For those of you who know me well, have no fear, I will still be scouring every Potterybarn, Ballard Designs, Country Living, and Martha Stewart magazine that appears in my mailbox each month.

And I will still frantically tear out the pages of those magazines that I love and add them to my unruly folder for whenever the mood strikes and I need inspiration.

Because really, I have been doing that since I was like 7, so the tradition must live on ;)

So now, I am going to do it both ways...want to join me in my insanity?

Come visit my pinterest page, by clicking on the link below:

Hope everyone is having a fabulous day!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cucumber Feta Salad!

We are so blessed.

We have a wonderful marriage, a home, a baby on the way...

and wonderful neighbors...

The kind of neighbors who come over when we aren't home and leave bags full of fresh produce from their garden at our back door...

See what I mean?


and the best part is that the cucumbers and lettuce above are 100% all natural, organically grown, right over the fence =)

Last night, we were headed to our friends house for a cookout, so I thought it would be a good time to use the yummy cucumbers to make Cucumber Feta Salad, a perfect accompaniment to a summer meal.

I started by rinsing off the cucumbers, and roughly peeling them, leaving a little skin for some texture:)

Then I chopped them all up into quarters like this:

Next I added the yumminess...feta cheese with garlic and herbs...mmmm!

At that point Mike came home from the grocery store with my cherry tomatoes (and, yes, my hubby loves to grocery shop...did I mention how blessed I am;)
We were in such a hurry to get out the door, that I barely took any pics of this step, but its pretty easy...

I just rinsed and cut the toms in half and added them to the bowl. Then for additional flavor, because you can never have too much, I added some minced garlic, onion powder, salt, and pepper to the mix...

and voilĂ , fresh Cucumber Feta Salad!

It was delicious! but not nearly as good as the time spent eating it with our dear friends:)

Sorry if the picture is a little blurry;( we really were in a hurry to get out the door and on our way!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

One of the best places on earth...

Over the weekend, my mom and I drove out to Lancaster, Pa for to meet my sister and her husband at Sight and Sound Theater. For anyone who loves a good show, with a great message, come to PA and go to a Sight and Sound is phenomonal.

We got to Lancaster a little early, which was a glorious thing because Lancaster is home to some of the best outlet shops around...

not that I really cared about any of the other stores, just one...

(sigh, with a slight smile of recollection)

Usually when I visit this place, my budget for home decor is blown for about 3-4 months..haha...but this weekend I did increadibly well...Mike was even suprised and proud when he saw the small bag I toted home:)

What was in that small bag? Oh I am so glad you asked!

See these lovely mason Jar mugs from

When Mike and I got married, one generous guest at our wedding, (who worked at Potterybarn and had awesome employee discounts:)  gave us the most amazing collection of entertaining items from the store, including a set of six of these glasses. It was truly like christmas morning (actually better...hehe) when we arrived back from our honeymoon and saw a big stack of PB boxes in our living room=)

Since then, we have come to love these mugs and use them constantly, but with only six, we were always running out...which left me pining away for more of them to complete my set...

They are usually $24 for a set of six in the store, which I think is fairly reasonable for Potterybarn, but still not reasonable enough for me to buy them...


We were just about to leave the outlet empty handed when I came across my mugs...for $2.99 each!!
I know, I know...that is only a $1 off, but it was just the savings I needed to convince myself to take the plunge and complete my set.

So I bought six=)

and I love them=)

And check out the total on my receipt...$19, woohoo!!

so I brought them home and added them to my kitchen cupboard...

ahhhh, I am so happy about the nice rows of mason jar mugs lining my shelves=) 

Bring on a big pitcher of lemonade and let summer begin!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

 Last night, my hubby was feeling pretty sick with an upset stomach an achy joints and muscles. So while he was taking a nap before dinner, I got a few items at the grocery store to make him a get-better-quick meal...

Here are my purchases:

Chicken broth, lemon juice, orzo, a rotisserie chicken, carrots, lemon pepper, strawberries, and Emetrol for nausea...

I decided to make one of our favorites: Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup!! It was a surefire way to get Mike smiling again=)

Since I was not in an overly ambitious mood last night, I went with as many pre-prepared ingredients that I an already cooked rotisserie chicken...mmmm.

First, I pulled all the meat off the chicken and shredded it so it looked like this:

Then, I diced up an onion that I had on hand (using my new favorite kitchen tool: my Santoku Knife from Ikea)

Then I dumped the whole container of chicken broth into the pot...

And mixed in the onions, chicken, and pre-slivered carrots (another thing that I cheated on by using the already prepped version)...

Then, I absentmindedly forgot to take pic of the next my orzo (about half of the box) in the broth with the chicken, carrots and onions, which added so much flavor...mmm

Next I took three eggs that were in my fridge, and mixed about 1/3 cup of lemon juice to the eggs and whisked it all together really well...

Then, with the broth boiling, I dumped in the egg/lemon mix, and stirred it really well so the eggs would not cook together, but would blend in nicely.

My favorite part was what came next, the addition of fresh herbs from my garden:) I used parsley, thyme, and basil, but you could add whatever you like, you can't go wrong!

In addition to the herbs, I seasoned the soup with LOTS of lemon pepper, and some onion powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Again, any seasoning that you love will work in this soup!

MMMM... it smelled so good! I added some cornbread to give us a little something sweet to contrast the lemony tartness.

Mike work up hungry and joined me in the kitchen for a steamy bowl of soup, and sure enough his smile returned instantly=) mission accomplished=)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Backyard Progress-part 1

Over the last few weeks, our yard and house have undergone some big changes, and although at times it has been a little overwhelming...see last week's post, I can finally say...there is a light at the end of the tunnel!!

My husband (who is currently snoozing on the sofa next to me;) has been so diligently working, while I, his pregnant cheerleader, have been watching and cheering.

So are you ready for this?

Here we go...week one, our backyard looked like this:

See that tall ugly chimney there? it was for an old stove in the kitchen that had been removed years ago. It was old, stained, ugly, and ready to that was the first thing Mike removed...

Ahhh...much better, huh? What about the missing siding you might ask? we are going to be residing the WHOLE HOUSE in a few weeks!! woohoo! no more ugly blue siding!! I think I will do a little victory dance when it's gone..hehe...

Week two, scroll back up and note those two trees near the back door...
While they provided nice shade for the yard, they also provided some unwanted thick roots headed right for the foundation of the house, and tiny whirly-gigs that sprouted baby maples everywhere they landed (aka. maple trees in the know the ones;)

So, alas, they had to go as well...

Oh, and I should mention...the day they went was also the day the skid-loader and two truckloads of stone arrived (thanks dad;)

and..look closely at the roof, specifically behind the machine...see all those tools and things? yah, those are roofing materials, because in the middle of all this Mike found time to re-shingle the whole roof with help from some amazing friends (thanks Ben, Dan, and Chris!) this picture, all that was left to do was the overhang that you see behind the skid-loader.

Next, we did some mapping out, to plan for where we wanted our patio!...(see the faint orange paint)

Week three was where things really took shape, thanks to some more re-enforcements that came in to help Mike form up the patio (thanks Jody, Cory and Dad!) They graded the stone that would sit under the concrete pad and started to form the perimeter of the patio...

Next, rebar was cut, placed and tied together with wire to reinforce the concrete...

What week was it at this point you might ask? ha...I have no idea, I stopped keeping track=)

Finally, the day arrived for concrete to be placed, woohoo!!
(this is normally my favorite thing to do, but since I am pregnant, I just watched and manned the camera...oh and did I forget to mention, our family has a concrete construction business, so I grew up doing projects like these...and I LOVE it:)

Since the truck was too big to drive into the backyard, it stayed on the driveway, and filled up the bucket of the skidloader, which then brought it back to the dumping area. (Another special thanks to Chris and Paul, who helped us get the concrete in)

Here is the concrete in action...

Once the concrete is in and somewhat level, you use a "straight-edge" to get a smooth surface to the concrete and to get it completely leveled out. 

At this point in the project, I had to go to my girlfriends house, who I had promised to help with some projects she was I missed the last few steps in the process, which would have been like this:

-getting all the concrete into the forms and straight-edged
-letting it set up awhile, and "bull-floating" it, using a large, flat, metal, disk-like tool, attached to a long pole, which further levels it and brings the moisture in the concrete to the surface, where it will ultimately evaporate.
-after letting it set up further, "floating it" with a hand tool (called a "float") which closes in the air pockets at the surface of the wet concrete, and brings more water to the surface to evaporate...
-then going around the perimeter with an edging tool that gives it a nice finished edge
-after letting is set up even further, going over it with a hand tool, called a trowel, which gives it a nice smooth appearance, and completes the work.

So...are you ready for the end result??

Tada!! Isn't it a beauty of a patio! 

Here is the before again, just to help you visualize the transformation...oh and the overhang roof got completed right around this time did Mike do it all you might ask? I have no idea...I just am so thankful that he is such a hard worker and such an amazing you babe;)

annnnyway, here is the before:

and after:
Ahhh, I love it!

I could just keep on writing, since we have done so much, even since the patio was done, but I think this has been a long enough post, and I am getting restless to go sit out on my new patio, and relax on this lazy summer day...

so until next time...

Happy Father's Day everyone!