Thursday, November 16, 2017

How I keep sane while hosting Thanksgiving!

Happy Friday y'all!  I find it SO crazy that Thanksgiving is next week.  Thankfully I have a routine and go to recipes that keep me from losing my mind.   As much as I admire my Grandmothers and the hours they spent in the kitchen cooking on Thanksgiving that's just not me.  I try to do as little cooking on Thanksgiving day as possible! #lazy  Tall Tan Man is in charge of the turkey {bc I refuse to touch the big slimy bird} and he either smokes or fries it.   They both turn out amazing and I don't have to lift a finger!  I also ask our family to bring a veggie and I always order our gravy and stuffing from our favorite Denver market.  #bcIdonteatthose

 I make this {Ranch Cheese Ball} as an appetizer and it is always a big hit.  You can make it on Tuesday or Wednesday, and serve it with wheat thins!  I also make cranberry sauce on Tuesday and I use this {Pioneer Women Recipe}.  If you have always thought cranberry sauce is gross then you have to try this recipe!  It changed my opinion.  


Wednesday is my dessert day!  I plan on making this {apple pie} that I posted about last week and hopefully, my Thanksgiving version will be a little prettier...  I am also going to try a new recipe {which always makes me a little nervous} from Living with Landyn Blog.  It is her {Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Frosting}.  Sounds amazing, right?! 


Thursday is alllll about the potatoes for me.  Last year I made my mashed potatoes in the crockpot and they were AMAZING.  I was worried they would be too dry but that was not the case!  You can find the recipe {here}.  I still haven't found a sweet potato recipe I love.  Is there a simple recipe out there that isn't full of sugar?  I never knew I liked sweet potatoes until I had a baby and I baked them for him...  

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  I already did my Thanksgiving grocery shopping so if you need me I'll be on the couch watching football.  And by watching football I mean trying to make sure Mack doesn't jump off anything too high!  #toddlersarecrazy

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Best Apple Pie Recipe


Is there anything better than warm apple pie with ice cream?  This is definitely one of my fall favorites.  Along with chocolate cake, toffee, and Dark Chocolate Peppermint Laceys from World Market.    I have tried several apple pie recipes and this one takes the cake pie!  

Apple Pie

Ingredients:

3/4 Cup Butter 
3 TBSP Flour
1/3 Cup Water
1/2 Cup White Sugar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 TSP Vanilla Extract
2 TSP Cinnamon 
1/2 TSP Nutmeg
6 Apples {Grannysmith or Honeycrisp}
Refrigerated Pie Crust

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees then go ahead and take your pie crusts out of the refrigerator.  

2.  In a medium saucepan, heat the butter, flour, water, sugars, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg until well combined.  Reserve 1/8 - 1/4 cup of the sauce.

3.  As your mixture is cooking, go ahead and start peeling and slicing your apples.  If you have {this tool} then you'll be done in no time!

4.  Place one pie crust in the bottom of your 9-inch pie pan.  Pile your apples into the pie crust then pour the mixture over them.  

5.  Place the top pie crust on top and crimp the edges with your fingers or a fork.  Slice some openings on the top of your pie {or create some awesome design on the top!}.  Brush the remaining sauce on the top of your pie crust.  

6.  Bake for 45 - 60 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  About 30 minutes into baking, make sure that you check on your pie to ensure the edges are not burning.  You can always add foil around the edges of your pie to slow the cooking down.  *** Bake pie on rimmed baking sheet or this awesome contraption.  If you don't do this then you might fill the entire house with smoke on Thanksgiving.  #lessonlearned


Picture perfect pie, right?! ;).  I really should have taken a picture of the second slice but it was eaten too fast.  If you're a baking rookie, I promise this recipe is SO EASY and SO GOOD!  


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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Refinishing Furniture Biz Update

Hey y'all!  I just thought I would pop in and share all that was going on with my very little business adventure.  About a month and a half ago I decided to finally try to sell come furniture pieces that I refinished.  I am such an optimist because I did not anticipate any hiccups and there has definitely been some!  I decided to keep my designs pretty simple to maximize my supplies {and profits}.  Out of the 4 kitchen tables I have refinished, I have sold 3 of them.  I thought I would share my 4 tables and things that I learned from refinished each one!


Table #1: 

Things I did right:  a).  Listing this piece on websites like Facebook marketplace, varagesale & craigslist on Saturday morning is best!  I actually didn't know I did this right until I listed something on a Tuesday... 

Things I did wrong:  This table alone taught me 3 lessons.  a). Skip the paint stripper and just use a high grit sandpaper.  Using the paint stripper added 2 hrs to this project.  b).  Polyurethane doesn't do well over white paint.  HELLO YELLOW!  It was so bad!  I ended up reapplying primer and doing another coat of white paint on this one.... c).  If the table was really rough to begin with you should probably use a wood conditioner before you stain.  The stain definitely had some weird spots on the top that I didn't love.  :( 



Table #2:  

Things I did right:  a).  I thought people would hate a table that would expand to a square but that was not the case!  This was my biggest hit by far.  

Things I did wrong: a)  I am a firm believer in primer.  I think water based primers are great because they don't have the fumes that oil based does! But... it doesn't work nearly as well!  This table was originally black on the bottom and I am pretty sure I painted the base 6 times to cover up all the black.  Oil based primer would have cut that down.  b)  I learned the hard way, to not hold furniture for anyone.  I had someone that was "so in love" with the table flake out on me...  Always give the piece to the person who will pick it up first.


Table #3:  

Things I did right:  a)  I switched the kind of paint I was using for the base.  I love chalk paint, it is beautiful but I just don't trust its durability {especially bc of how much a table is used}.   I'm now using Benjamin Moore Advance in White Dove because it's the best!  b)  The combo of 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint was perfect {finally}!

Things I did wrong:  a)  I listed this table on a Tuesday and it has taken the longest to sell... aka, it hasn't sold.  Facebook only lets you refresh your item once a week which isn't good bc it made me refresh it on the following Tuesday.  b)  This table was the most expensive and I had Tall Tan Man pick it up.  I didn't think from the Craigslist pictures that I would have to do anything to the top and that was not the case.  I'm not sure how I would of avoided us overpaying for this table but from now on I'm going to be more conservative with my pricing.  

Table #4:

Things I did right: a).  My sanding/stain progress was perfected by this table and there were no hiccups with the top!  b).  I sold this table to a friend through instastories.  This was my easiest transaction!

Things I did wrong:  a).  Man oh man... This base gave me a run for  my money! I did water-based primer and chalk paint, and all the old stain kept bleeding through.  It was terrible.  100 layers of water-based paint would stop the stain bleed.  Long story short I had Tall Tan Man apply oil based primer for me.  The primer was old and major brush strokes but I was able to salvage it with some sand paper and Benjamin Moore paint. Its one of those things that the table looks good but I know its not perfect.  
Can you tell I have learned a lot already?  It's pretty crazy that I thought I knew a lot about refinishing furniture before all this.  I do think Tall Tan Man needs to build a she-shed for me to work in.  #notachance :)  I hope y'all have a wonderful week!  

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Monday, October 30, 2017

Fast and Easy Halloween Brownies



Hello!  If you're like me then you're usually playing catch up.  Yesterday I wanted to throw together a cute halloween recipe and this one turned out perfect!  I saw this idea in my Martha Stewart Magazine and it takes almost no time.  #mykindofrecipe


I use the term "recipe" loosely because all you do is make a box of brownies and add broken Oreos half way through the baking process.  After the brownies were done I broke off the ends of some candy corn for my monster eyes.  You could also use melted white chocolate.  To add some color I filled in the open spots with candy corn.  I never knew candy corn was such a hot topic and some people hated them!?  I usually don't discriminate against any sugar substance.  :)



Happy Halloween!
 
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Friday, October 20, 2017

Fall in our Front Room


Hi y'all!  Wowzers we have been running around like chickens with our heads cut off.  We just got back from a 10 day trip to Oklahoma and Texas, and then Mack got sick.  Everything seems so off when babies get sick.  Its kind of like treading water for an indefinite amount of time.  I wrote my first fall post about our sunroom and  for some ridiculous reason I've had a hard time decorating this year. I LOVE decorating this time of year, but I didn't want to pull out my faux leaves and orange pumpkins.  


I picked up the Happy Fall sign and white pumpkin from Homegoods.  The fall leaves in the vase were only $4 from Sprouts and the pillow is a DIY from last year.  


That book pages pumpkin was a DIY from FIVE years ago!  It's always nice when something I make holds up for the long haul.  :)  I hope you have a FANTASTIC FRIDAY and even better weekend!  I see some good naps in my future!

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Monday, October 2, 2017

How to Update Grocery Store Mum Basket + Fall Porch

Happy October!  I think I say this every month but what in the heck happened to September?! Fall is officially here which is good because my porch has been fully decorated for weeks...  I figured if I bought all my pumpkins at once Tall Tan Man would think I'm crazy.  Some women hide shopping bags... I try to hide pumpkins!  I bought 2 pumpkins a week and I am waiting for him to say "where did all these pumpkins come from?"  And then I can say "oh they have been here for weeks, you didn't notice?".  #imterrible  

Friday, September 29, 2017

Caramel Apple Cupcakes


Oh these cupcakes come with a funny story!  They smell SO GOOD that a squirrel will claw through your kitchen window screen to get one.  Yep!  I found a SQUIRREL sitting on the kitchen ledge INSIDE my house eating a cupcake.  I screamed like a 13 year old girl in a haunted house and THANKFULLY the squirrel exited through the hole it created.  Have you ever heard of that happening?!?  I know squirrels go through trash & get into attics, but chewing through a window screen to get into your kitchen!?! #thecupcakessmelledgooooood

Monday, September 25, 2017

Leap of Faith - Refinishing Furniture


 I have been thinking about refinishing furniture for profit for some time now and I am FINALLY doing it!!!  Do you ever have ideas you think are silly or you're too embarrassed to try something new?  Welp, that's me.  I think it was one my worst characteristics.  I want to have more confidence to chase dreams and be willing to fail...

Friday, September 22, 2017

Easy Fall Decor

Hello!!! I am so sorry I have been MIA!  If you follow me on Instagram then you already know I have had a long 2 weeks...  I was stuck in an airport for 2 days #mechanicalissues and came home to a nice head-cold that I am still dealing with.  But don't you worry! I am almost better and my house now feels like fall. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Banana Zucchini Crumb Cake



Is there a better combo for breakfast than crumb cake and coffee??  Eggs and bacon is definitley a close second.  Oh and cinnamon rolls...   Can we all agree that breakfast is amazing?  I have a hard time understanding people when they say they don't eat breakfast.  I would be SO grumpy and probably pass out... 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

DIY Growth Chart

 
I had planned on making this growth chart for Mack's first birthday buuuuuut I got it finished on his 19 month birthday!  Now if I could just get back to finishing his baby book... There are so many cute growth charts on Etsy but I decided it would be more special if I made it myself.  This project was not the easiest DIY but after you get the hang of things it gets easier {I promise!}.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Flying Solo with a Baby/Toddler

Oh how I miss reading magazines and sipping iced coffee while flying.  Those days seem like forever ago.  This will sound terrible but don't you think you should be able to check your baby?  Maybe Southwest could provide childcare below deck with the luggage? I think this could deescalate all the tension on flights... All in favor say, yes! YES YES YES!  While we wait for Southwest to implement that let's chat about things I've learned while flying with a baby.  I'm a little embarrassed to say this but Mack and I have flown 9 times.  You might think I'm a pro but last flight Mack almost broke someones laptop by catapulting a play radio over my head.  From that I've learned to not bring toys that are easily thrown.  #boymom  

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Backyard: Before and After

Oh my goodness y'all, I just spent almost the entire weekend by myself.  It was pure magic.  I am such a homebody and love being alone which doesn't happen much these days!  I mean, I can't even use the restroom by myself.  I first posted about our backyard in MAY of 2015... So an update is waaaay overdue.  The first day we worked in our backyard was the day I found out I was pregnant with Mack.  It was such a long day because I had to hold in the news until about 10 PM!!!   Here are some good before and afters, and scattered thoughts {that's what happens when you have to recap 2+ years of work}!


DIY Farmhouse Fall Wreath


I know, I know... It is still AUGUST but I can't help it!  I love FALL and couldn't wait any longer to start decorating our front porch.  #ineedmoredicipline I already picked up this welcome mat from Kirkland's and it is selling out like hot cakes.  

Friday, August 18, 2017

Kitchen Remodel - Two Years Later!


I am currently sitting here in a puppy chow coma... I can't move... I need water... and probably a treadmill.  It is hard to believe our kitchen remodel was finished almost 2 years ago!  I wanted to fill you in on how things are holding up because we DIYed most of it.  Remodeling a kitchen is no joke and I can see why most people hire the job out.  Every time we contemplated a project I would read every blog/article I could find.  It drove Tall Tan Man crazy that I couldn't make any rash fast decisions.   I absolutely LOVE our kitchen and it had set the bar high for future houses.  We only budgeted and spent about $5000 on our kitchen remodel. Pretty awesome, right?!

Monday, August 14, 2017

DIY Painted Concrete Vase


I know I am not the only person that has gone into their closet {that is full of clothes} and thought, "I have NOTHING to wear..."  Well, this also happens to me when I try to change up my home decor.  Sometimes I get so tired of certain pieces and it make me want to trade it all in.  That probably makes me sound like a brat...  Instead of doing that I am going to give some of my decor items a new look.  First up is this vase from Ikea.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Chocolate Chunk Cookies


The only time I like to hear the word chunky is when it comes to babies, table legs, and cookies.  Y'all, these CHUNKY cookies are SO GOOD!  When I was younger I never had nuts in any of my desserts, but something happened when I turned 25.  Pretty weird, right?  Now I love nuts in cookies, breads and cakes.  If you do also then this recipe is right up your alley.  I modified this recipe from my favorite market in Denver, Tony's.  They have the best twice baked potatos I've ever had!!!  

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Why I put a mirror in our kitchen!


Hello!  I caught another change bug and have been changing things in a couple rooms.  Tall Tan Man was out of town all week and left me with too much time on my hands.  I shared our kitchen change on my instastories and I'll quickly recap this incase you missed it.  The wall use to look like this:

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Lite Strawberry Swirl Jars


 Uhhhhhhh what in the world happened to JULY?  Did we even have a July this year?  Seriously!  I vaguely remember the 4th, I think it happened. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Cake Mix Snickerdoodle Cookies!


Hello!  How was everyone's weekend?  We did almost nothing which was pretty fantastic.  I did make some cookies, so I wasn't a complete bum.  I love making cookies from cake mixes

Friday, July 14, 2017

Mack is 18 months!


Wowsers, Mack is a year and a half TODAY!  I really can't believe how fast all this is going.  Mack continues to grow like a weed and constantly needs bigger shoes...  Is it normal that he is already growing out of size 7 shoes?  I am still clueless... I have had to take a couple pregnancy test because somedays I am so EXHAUSTED.  Unfortunately? Thankfully? I am not pregnant, just worn out from chasing Mack around all day.  

Monday, July 10, 2017

Sunroom Shelf Updates


Happy Monday!  I am excited to share my sunroom changes with y'all!!  As usual, most of the updates were found in the Target clearance section and Homegoods.  I shared {here} about the issues I was having with the decor in the room.  After we {mostly Tall Tan Man} finished updating the sunroom I threw some old decor in here and started working on other rooms.  The ceiling in this room might be my favorite trait of our entire house!

before...

Friday, July 7, 2017

More Progress on our Curb Appeal





I cannot believe our house looked like such a jungle when we moved in!  A jungle with a million pavers...  I've learned a couple things about landscaping.  Number One - I hate yard work.  Number Two - I'm terrible at it.  Number Three - Landscaping is a process and not instantly perfect.  Last time I shared our curb appeal this is where we were:

Monday, July 3, 2017

Red Velvet Oreo Balls!!!



Happy July to you!!!  I know my blog looks like a HOT MESS... I contacted my blog designer to hopefully resolve this issue soon!  Wahhhh

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What should I do in our sunroom?!?!

Happy first day of summer!  We have been working a lot on the exterior of our house and I can't wait to show y'all our progress.  If you follow me on Instagram then you know that while loading mulch into my car I accidentally threw a SNAKE in my car!  It was terrifying!!  I am thankful that someone was close by to get it out and it was supposedly just a gardener snake {and only 10 inches long}.  

After finishing our front room makeover I feel like our sunroom looks worse.  Am I the only one that does that?  You decorate one room then feel like the other rooms are just blah.  If you are new around here, our sunroom has come a long way...


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Patriotic M&M Cookie Cake


Y'all, I had to throw this cake in the trash...  We had way too much left at our house and I was the only one eating it.  Does that make me terrible?  I kept cutting a little sliver every 15 minutes yesterday and finally I decided it HAD to go!  I'm probably the only person that has ever done that.  My swimsuit will thank me for it.  ;)

Sunday, June 11, 2017

My Latest Obsessions from Trader Joes

Happy Monday!  Tall Tan Man and I just had a wonderful {baby free} weekend in the mountains.  Two words, hot coffee!  If you missed my Insta story from last week I had quiet the "incident" at Trader Joe's.  Let's just say shorts + melted chocolate + public place = embarrassment.  If you know me I am a big time optimist, so I am really hoping that no one noticed the brown substance smeared on my thighs...  

Anyone else ever had that happen to them?  anyone? anyone?  

I digress, even with my "incident" I don't think I could stay away from Trader Joe's.  This is the second closest grocery store to our house and it is next door to Starbucks and Homegoods.  I AM TOO WEAK TO STAY AWAY!  

Allrightythen... 

Lately we have been stuck in a meal rut...  Does that ever happen to you?  Looking in the frig is like looking in my closest, I don't like any of this!!!  Here are just a couple things that are making my daily life easier.  




First off, BREAKFAST!  This is definitely our favorite meal of the day.  I think if Mack could talk he would also agree with me on that.  We are pretty regular egg eaters and I think TJ's eggs not only taste great but are also priced great.  Same thing with their Turkey Bacon, awesome price compared to our regular grocery store!  On days we don't do eggs I love this frozen oatmeal because it is fast and not too high in sugar.  Mack loves those pancakes and so do i... Lastly, well, coffee is coffee and during the summer I'm all about iced coffee.  :)



Does anyone else struggle with lunch?? I feel like I scrounge something together then finish Mack's food.  I decided I need a change and picked up this southwest chopped salad.  SO SO SO GOOD!  I usually have Tall Tan Man grill extra chicken on the weekend for me to put on this.  The salad dressing that comes with this is super yummy but if I am trying to be extra healthy I just use salsa or this balsamic vinaigrette.  Have you every heard of mini cucumbers?  I hadn't but they are the perfect size for me to slice up one and Mack also likes them.  



Oh dinner, how I love to just order pizza or pei wei...  I am trying to be better about not picking up takeout during the week.  This Kung Pao Chicken is so yummy and SPICY.  Which I love.  I usually just serve it with rice.  The fire roasted peppers and onions make fajita/taco night so much easier and I love the flavor of them.  The only problem I have had with them is when I have forgotten to make them...  #mombrain Lastly, I've got to be real honest with y'all, I just bought the Turkey Bolognese.  I am actually making it for dinner tonight.  I'll let you know how it is!



I swear the testing station at Trader Joe's MAKES ME make bad decisions.  Those chocolate chip cookies are UNREAL.  Especially if they are paired with ice cream.  You should definitely not buy them right before a beach vacation...  I can drink this lemonade like water in the summer and Mack loves those mini cheese sandwiches.  They have to be good for him because they are organic, right?!



Last thing I wanted to share was their cards.  I bet you were thinking I would talk about their flowers... but by now I think everyone knows how awesome their flowers are.  All of their cards are $.99 which is waaaaaaaaay cheaper than paying $4.99 for a card that will most likely be thrown out after a couple weeks.  And they are so pretty!  

What are some of your Trader Joe's staples?  I'd love the hear them! 

{Leslie}

Thursday, June 8, 2017

'Merica Round Up

Hi y'all!  It is hard to believe that summer is already here.  I feel like it was just Christmas...  I think this is how it goes when you have a toddler.  Mack wears me out daily!  Why does he have no fear, as well as the ability to climb now?!  When Tall Tan Man gets home from work everyday I feel like I have to give him an injury report.  Is this normal?  Do I need to wrap him in bubble wrap?  Where did these grey hairs come from?  

deep breaths...

Ok, I feel better now.  :)  If you have followed my blog for a while then you know that DIYs and desserts are my favorite things.  I went ahead to did a round up of some of my favorite 'Merica projects/desserts that I have created and spotted from some awesome bloggers.  

Decor Ideas!
                   



If this Patriotic Wreath doesn't make you think of watermelon and grilled corn, I don't think we can be friends.  





How awesome is this Flag Backdrop  from Laughing Latte?!  This is so creative and I know the perfect spot in our backyard for it.  




I have been wanting to make these American Flag Mason Jars for years.  Maybe this will be the year!

Sweets!




No oven required for these Dipped Lemon Oreos!




This is by far my favorite cookie recipe.  I promise these Red Velvet Cookies won't dissapoint!


These Patriotic M&M Oat Bars melt in your mouth and on your hand.  Go ahead lick off that yummy chocolate! 


For my friends that struggle in the kitchen....All American Jars



Oh my goodness, all the heart eyes for this Firecracker Cake from Love Bakes Good Cakes.  I love how she did the icing!  I think you could do this same look on any bundt cake.


I am really lucky I don't have any of these desserts in my house right now, because I am feel quiet emotional about my beloved Oklahoma Football Coach, Bob Stoops, retiring.  If you see me, give me a hug, I need it!  



{Leslie}

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