Saturday, March 31, 2012

Weekend To Do 3/30-4/1 & The Week's Menu Plan [Double Whammy Post]

I feel like we should just put one thing on our To Do list this weekend. Finish painting the trim in the powder room.  I feel like I need to have a Scarlett O'Hara moment "As God is my witness, not another weekend will go by without the project getting completed!" So it is item #1 on my list.
  1. Work on painting and caulking trim in powder room (Yay! progress!)
  2. Willow to dog park
  3. "Doggie Day Spa" for Willow (bath, ear cleaning, flea & tick stuff application)
  4. Work on living room cabinets
  5. Grocery, Laundry, Cleaning (the weekend triumvirate)
  6. Figure out which (or both) file cabinet my Dad wants
  7. Continue work on stripping paint off fireplace mantle
  8. Finish organizing crafty corner
  9. Write up blog post for Easter egg holder
  10. Take photos of Easter egg holder
  11. Plant indoor seeds for tomatoes, tomatillos and peppers 
  1. Finish cutting up and bundling carpet in new workout area
  2. Move workout equipment to new workout area
  3. Move boxes to storage area in basement
  4. Unpack the Russian Legends plates my mom gave us and place in the dining room on the plate rail
It will be interesting to see how well we do this weekend. Wish us luck on item #1. I may just throw a party for one if I get it done.

This week's menu plan is all about quick and easy.  It is going to be a busy week since we are hosting Easter Dinner at our house for family. That means we need to do massive cleaning, lots of shopping and basically make the house spotless and organized for the dinner.  Not so easy when you currently have a compressor in the living room. :-)

Sunday: Pork Milanese with side salad
Monday: Crockpot Bacon and Cheese Chicken
Tuesday: FITF*
Wednesday: FITF
Thursday: Homemade Meatballs and Marinara Sauce
Friday: Parmesan coated salmon
Saturday: Chipotle Burritos

*Forage In The Fridge

Friday, March 30, 2012

Foyer Fix Up - Part 1

Last winter we redid our foyer. So my plan is to show you over the next few weeks what we did, how we did it and finally, how it looks.  This is part one of our Foyer Fix Up.

One of the things we love about our house is the foyer. Well, we love that we have a foyer with a closet (in our last house we had to hang our coats in the stariwell to the basement) and space to put a chair so people can sit and take off their shoes.  So we love the space, not the execution as the previous owners had it.

When we moved in, the foyer looked like this.
This is not our stuff.  This is one of the listing photos.
Not particularly inspiring.  Bland cream walls. Cheap laminate flooring.  A chandelier hung so low that our tall guests would run smack into it when they came to visit.  And the curtain?  It hides the mirrored closet doors. (Just one of four sets we have in the house.  You have to love those original 70s details.)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Getting My Planting Beds Ready with a Little Help From Expand 'n Grow from Miracle Grow - Coupon Inside

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Scotts® for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Spring is here and it is planting time again.  I have already started some peas, snow peas and lettuces inside and soon will be moving them outside.  Some will be going into pots and others will be going into my raised garden beds.  But before they make their big move to the outdoors, I need to get their beds and pots ready for them.

Part of my prep for is to give them a good potting mix to grow in. One product that I will be trying this year is the new Expand ‘n Gro™ Concentrated Planting Mix from Miracle-Gro™.

EnG Product Shot.png

There are several benefits and advantages about this planting mix that appeal to me.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Willow Wednesday

Naps are the best part of the day.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pinterest Tips: Fact or Fiction?

When I am killing time getting inspired on Pinterest, I always run across tips and tricks for this or that.  I ALWAYS wonder if they actually work.

So over the last couple of weekends, I decided to try some out.

1.  The perpetual green onion

The tip is to put your cut bunch of green onions in a glass after they are cut.  They regrow so you always have green onions for your recipes.


I cut this bunch of onions last week and they are already starting to re-grow.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf

We have a million blueberries in our freezer left over from last summer.  With a new growing season rapidly approaching, we need to work on clearing some space for this season's crop of fruit and veggies.  This recipe is one way to enjoy them while making room in the freezer.  A double win!

The original recipe was from Sweet Pea's Kitchen and I found it on Pinterest (where else?).  I thought it looked interesting so pinned it to my For the Stomach - Recipes board so I would be able to find it again when I needed it.

I made a couple of tweaks/substitutions and doubled the recipe since I wanted to bring one loaf to work and have one for dessert.  I did find that I needed to bake the loaves a bit longer than the recipe called for, but that may be my oven, so if you may want to take that into consideration.  Also, even though I greased and floured the pan, one of the loaves did stick and came apart a bit when I tried to pop it out. Perhaps I needed to let it cool a bit longer.

This recipe was a HUGE hit and not a single piece was left at work.  Everyone wants to know when I will bring in another loaf.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Carrot Loving Bunny Pillow

Bunny is ready for Easter


I love Easter candy.  I just had to get that out there. The Whopper Robin Eggs are just the best and I have already consumed one bag full - just a small one but a whole bag none the less.  I am also a fan of all the yummy chocolate treats!  Like this guy. Mmmmm, chocolatey goodness...

Source: Amazon

The chocolate bunny that was the inspiration for my Easter pillow, however I found the image that was just a bit different than the usual silhouette one usually sees.  I loved that he was holding onto a big carrot. I like to think that it is his own post-Easter candy delivering treat.


Just like my Lucky Shamrock Pillow, there is little or no sewing involved with this project.  I have embraced the joys of fabric glue! It makes projects like this one so easy.

  • Pillow cover - I made an envelope type cover so I can remove it. There a ton of tuts online.  Just Google "directions envelope pillow cover"and you will find a ton of resources. 
  • Felt - dark brown and orange
  • embroidery thread - green
  • fabric glue
  • Printed out image of your bunny
  • Pins
Step 1:  Cut out your bunny
  • Once you have your bunny image cut out, lay it on your felt.
  • Pin the paper to the felt
  • Cut around the paper cut out
  • For the carrot, I free hand cut it out

Step 2: Making the "carrot greens"
  • Cut 9 pieces of green embroidery thread about 7 inches long
  • Separate into 3 groups and braid each group
  • Tie a knot about 1 inch from the end and separate the threads so it looks feathery

Step 3:  Gluing
  • Glue the carrot greens to the back of the carrot and let dry
  • Place the bunny on the pillow cover and move it around until it is just where you want it
  • Pin the head to the pillow
  • Glue the bottom half of the bunny to the pillow, except for his paw
  • Remove the pin and glue the top half of the bunny
  • Bend back the paw and place the carrot in position
  • Pin the top of the carrot
  • Glue the bottom of the carrot
  • Remove the pin and glue the top of the carrot
  • Glue the paw to the carrot

Step 4:  Enjoy your bunny pillow!

Check out all the Places I Party to see where I am linking up, including Today's Creative blog

Jenny at The NY Melrose Family and Amanda at School House Scraps
were kind enough to feature this tutorial.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Weekend To Dos 3/24-25 & the Menu Plan 3/25-31 [Double Whammy]

Welcome to the what I am going to call the "Double Whammy" post.  I usually post our weekend To Dos and our weekly Menu Plan separately but I decided that they should be combined into single post since it all falls under the "whole making a plan" arena. :-)

It is supposed to be a pretty dreary weekend with rain expected on and off until Sunday afternoon. While it is a bit of a bummer since it has been gorgeous most of the week, it also means I don't need to put any outdoor activities on my list! Even if we so need to do the big Spring clean up.
  1. Pick up file cabinets from work first thing Saturday morning
  2. Grocery, Laundry, Cleaning (the weekend triumvirate)
  3. Finish project for blog post
  4. Take pics for blog posts
  5. Work on living room cabinets
  6. Work on painting and caulking trim in powder room (I just can't manage to get this one done. It has been on the list for weeks)
  7. Willow to dog park
  8. "Doggie Day Spa" for Willow (bath, nail clipping, ear cleaning, flea & tick stuff application)
  9. Plant next round of seeds indoors Planted seed outside instead.
  10. Whatever else I get sidetracked on :-)
Linking up with My Happy Home and A Life in Progress for their Weekend Planning Blog Hop.

Make a list of your weekend To Dos and join us!

My plan to menu plan around D's school schedule has been a total flop.  So I am going back to the more traditional menu plan running with the week.  Hopefully this will help us keep on track, especially as the weather gets warmer and our schedules get crazier.

Sunday:  Salsa Verde Chicken in the Crockpot served over brown rice
Monday:  Wasabi Crusted Salmon with orzo and salad
Tuesday:  FITF*
Wednesday:  FITF
Thursday:  Chipotle Burritos
Friday:  Pork Milanese with side salad
Saturday:  Steaks with mashed potatoes and steamed veggies or maybe FITF all depends on what's on the weekend plan

*Forage in the Fridge

Hope you all have a great and productive weekend!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Trading Blogs was a Great Party!

Trading Blogs 
was a complete success!

A couple of Saturdays ago, I participated in Serendipity and Spice's Trading Blogs party.  What fun!  I traded with Jenny from The NY Melrose Family but I wanted to make sure you got to see the rest of the participants.  Try to stop by and see these as well as their other projects.
Trading Blogs was a sort of blog party that Melissa hosted where everyone signed up to be partnered with a blog to trade for the day.  We wrote guest posts and were featured on our partner's blog for the day.

Here are the posts:
Please go check them out and leave some comment love!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Willow Wednesday

Someone needs to watch for critters, it may as well be me!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring is Here!

It's the first day of Spring!  Well, on the calendar at least.  We have had made it to 80 degrees once this year already, which is 40 degrees higher than normal.

Warm days aside, the first day of Spring means that the growing season is just around the corner. But before the veggies get planted in the garden, we should be seeing some of the flowers that seem to love the Spring showers.  I just love spring flowers - the crocuses, daffodils, tulips and hyacinths.  Their bright colors are the signal that summer is just around the corner.  OK, truth time - I like tulips least and daffodils most. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cranberry Orange Scones

I have a weakness for scones.  I am not sure why because I never even had a scone until I was in my late 20s and was traveling in England.  Maybe that is it, though, it reminds me of the fun times I had traveling.  In any case, I love whipping up a batch of scones on a Saturday morning and eating one (ok, who am I kidding, two or three) with my morning cup(s) of coffee.

I came across this recipe on Pinterest, of course, and just had to try it because after following the trail back to the source recipe, it turns out this is one of Ina Garten's recipes.  And, as we all know, Ina is a Goddess in the kitchen.  Here is the link to the original recipe.

I made a few slight changes and skipped at least one step.  I do have to say that when I make these again, I will be using my food processor.  It makes the incorporating the butter step much easier.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Turning Childhood Toys to Treasured Art

This project was originally posted as a guest post I did on The NY Melrose Family blog.

Do you have a childhood treasure that just doesn't fit in your home's decor?  Something you just can't get rid of but don't want stored in a box forever?  If so, this may be the project for you!

When I was sorting through some boxes that had been stored in my parents basement for mumble mumble years, I came across the gorgeous guy you see below.  You see, like many women, I had been horse-mad when I was a kid.  Of course this meant that I filled my room with galloping horses, just like this one.

Now, since I don't have a horse-mad daughter and am trying not to end up on an episode of Horders, into the donate box he went.  There Black Beauty lived for a few weeks until I remembered Remington and his bronze statues of horses and their riders.  Ideas on how to accomplish something similar began to bubble and percolate in my brain.

Then I had it, I would turn Black Beauty into my own bronze statue and keep him forever!

Step 1:  Gather Materials

  • Horse
  • Gorilla Glue (not pictured)
  • Drill and bit - bit should be the same size as the shank of the screws
  • Primer
  • Copper Spray Paint
  • Hammered bronze spray paint
  • 1x4 piece of wood - cut to the size that fits your horse
  • 1x6 piece of wood - cut 2 inches larger that the 1x4
  • screws - 1" and 1-1/4"
  • caulk
  • pencil (not pictured)
Step 2: Figure out screw placement and drill holes

  • Draw circles around the hooves on the 1x4
  • Draw an arrow to mark the centers and then drill the holes
  • Drill holes in the bottom of the hooves

Step 3:  Attach your horse to your base (Sorry, I don't have any photos of this.  Since I don't have 3 hands I couldn't take any photos.) and caulk the seam
  • Place a bit of glue in the center of each circle
  • Using the 1" screws, screw into your pilot holes until the screws just poke out of the top of the piece of wood
  • With the base on its side, place the horse so the holes in the hooves settle on top of the screws
  • Finish screwing the horse to the base
  • Set aside overnight to let the glue harden completely

Step 4:  Attaching the secondary base
  • Set the horse and base onto the 1x6 and, measuring to make sure that it is centered, mark the edges so you can make sure to drill inside the lines
  • Clamp the pieces of wood together and then lean everything over onto a couple of rags so you can screws the pieces of together.
  •  Caulk the seam between the two pieces of wood

Step 5: Painting
  • Prime and let dry
  • Paint with copper spray paint and let dry. It will take a couple of light coats to get complete coverage.
  • Paint with bronze spray paint and let dry.  It will take a couple of light coats to get complete coverage.
  • Display!

Here's a close up.  I think it turned out pretty well.  You would never know he was just a molded plastic underneath.

This shot shows how the detail really stands out thanks to using light coats of spray paint.

I think Black Beauty now should be called Bronze Beauty!

To see where I am linking up, check out the Places I Party.

Crafting Rebellion, Type A and Better After were kind enough to feature this project on their blogs.

Crafting Rebellion        

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!! & To Do This Weekend 3/17-18

It's St. Patrick's Day!!!
and today,
Everyone is Irish!

Sláinte to you all!

Now raise a glass of Bulmer's, Guinness, Jamesons, Smithwick's or maybe an Irish coffee and rock out to some U2 or maybe sing along to one of the classic pub songs with The Cheiftans.

Me, I will be singing pub songs as I drink a Bulmer's (or three) as I work on my projects around the house.

Here's hoping your St. Patrick's Day is a good one and you find yourself a leprechan at the end of a rainbow with a big pot of gold.  Just make sure to send me some...I want to redo my center bathroom.  :-D

Now onto our To Do List for this weekend...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Menu Plan: 3/15-21

I have decided that D and I never eat as much as I think we will when I am doing my weekly menu plan. We always seem to have waaaaaay more leftovers than I anticipate so we end up not making all the stuff planned. That and we have started eating a lot of soup and one big pot of homemade soup lasts a while. So I am going to cut back on how many main dishes we plan each week.
Plus, at the end of last week I came down with a horrible cold and cough. Being sick doesn't make you want to eat - it makes you want to snuggle with the dog. Petting her soft ears just seems to make everything better!

That being said, here is this week's plan. Notice that basically every item was planned for last weekend.

Thursday: Crockpot Pot Roast with potatoes and carrots (a K creation)

Friday: FITF*

Saturday: Beef barley veggie soup made with the leftover roast (a D creation)

Sunday: Wasabi Crusted Salmon with orzo and salad ()

Monday: FITF

Tuesday: FITF

Wednesday: FITF

*Forage in the Fridge

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Willow Wednesday

This is my chair. Don't even think about sitting here!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Plans to Make the Kitchen a Little Less Bland

We love our house. However, the kitchen is one area that we are not entirely keen on. It is big but the layout - it is a disaster.

When we moved in, it was bland bland bland and just not our style. White cabinets, white appliances, cream walls, cream counters, brass knobs and hinges.

This is one of the listing photos.

See what I mean?  It almost puts you to sleep.

Don't even get me started on the work "triangle." I put that in quotes because it is more like a work free form geometric shape.  That particular issue won't be addressed until we do a total gut job and that is still several years away. For now we are going to just make some cosmetic changes. 

Here's the plan: paint on the walls, the knobs and hinges, the countertop;  tile on the backsplash, install a new faucet and new lighting.

Mini Kitchen Makeover

Mini Kitchen Makeover on
  1. Paint:  Valspar Key Lime Pie
  2. Tile:  COUNTERPARTS 3" x 6" White Ceramic Wall Tile
  3. Grout:  light gray or silver.  Brand TBD.
  4. Knobs and hinges: painted with Rustoleum hammered silver
  5. Countertops: Giani Granite Bombay Black kit
  6. Faucet:  IKEA Hjuvik (or something similar)
  7. Over sink light:  Portfolio 10"W Steel 1-Light Pendant Light with Clear Shade
  8. Ceiling Lights: Portfolio 4-Light Brushed Steel Fixed Track Light
If all goes well, I am pretty sure we can do our mini makeover for less than $500.  Not too shabby.

Watch for posts on our progress over the next few months as we tackle each item.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

DIY Hand Stamped Coasters

This is a project that was originally posted back in 2008 on a cooking blog that I used to have.  Since I was just thinking to myself that the tiles I made back then still look fabulous today, I wanted to share this easy project on this blog.  Plus, I have been sick all weekend so that means my planned project never happened. (stupid sore throat and cough!)

DIY Hand Stamped Coasters

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Guest Post - Jenny from The NY Melrose Family - Lucky Charms Snack

I am so excited to guest post here at Claiming Our Space.  My name is Jenny and I'm from The NY Melrose Family.  I'm a teacher mommy that loves crafts, diy decorating and organization.  I usually have an assistant working with me, who often distracts me from what I'm trying to get done.  Luckily, she's cute and quite a character.  I'm talking about my two year old daughter, Riley.  The snack I'm here to share is for her friends at daycare.  So, here we go!

For Valentine's Day I was inspired by pinterest for Riley's Goldfish Valentine and once again I've been pricked by the pinterest pin.  I want to share Riley's St. Patrick's Day Snack for her daycare friends.  Here's the labels that I made using Microsoft PowerPoint.  It took me a couple of tries because I needed the writing to be upside down so that once they were folded they could be easily stapled.

To Do This Weekend: 3/10-11

First off, don't forget that tonight we
I have to share that I am torn on this whole Spring Forward business.  I get that it means that Spring is coming, the weather is getting warmer, I get to spend time in the outside/in the garden and all the good stuff that comes with Spring, but on Sunday it means I get one less hour of sleep!  (Don't worry, I am sure I will survive.)

OK, now that I got my dirt kicking out of the way, onto our To Do list.

We did pretty darn good last week. Only two things we didn't get to at all and one thing did partially finished.  I just love crossing stuff off a list. (It really is a sickness...)

This weekend, one hour less and all, is another busy one.
  1. Continue working on living room bookshelf (paint second coat on cabinet and trim, get shelves up)
  2. Continue work on stripping paint off fireplace mantle
  3. Finish organizing crafty corner
  4. Take photos for blog posts - crafty corner and sewing machine cover
  5. Write up blog post - crafty corner and sewing machine cover
  6. Grocery
  7. Laundry
  8. Cleaning
  9. Willow to dog park
  10. Lowe's to check on tile, buy brackets for shelves in item 1 and storage tubs for item 3)
  11. Finish painting trim in powder room
  12. Work on project for D
  13. Go to local garden store to get stuff for starting seeds
  14. Plant seeds
What interesting stuff do you have going on this weekend?

UPDATE:  Yeah, this was a bad weekend.  I was laid low by a nasty cold and so not much happened.  Here's hoping this coming weekend is better.