Sunday, October 30, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up

Our weekend really started on Thursday night, this week. Amara and Jeremy came over to cook some dinner and hang out.  Amara and I are two pretty serious carnivores so we made the boys grill burgers, even though it was a tid bit chilly outside. Amara is also a Pinterest addict like me, and had seen a VERY cute little idea for the burgers.  She cut pumpkin faces out of cheese slices and they were so cute!  Even the boys each “carved” a slice of cheese…too bad Jeremy tore the jaw off of his and ate it, so it needed some facial reconstruction surgery. 
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We hung around in the kitchen like usual and had a few beverages.  Amara seasoned the burgers and made some SERIOUSLY delicious corn on the cob.  The corn was so good that I couldn’t even get a picture of it before we snarffled it all down.  I’ll have to check with her about the exact ingredients, but it has something to do with olive oil, cayenne pepper and garlic.  O man, now my mouth is watering.  I made another pumpkin crunch.  I may have a problem.
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Saturday Amara and I ran around town to a few furniture consignment stores, but didn’t find much.  Then we got all dolled up and made our way to Nashville to see The Last Straw perform at 3rd and Lindsley.  They didn’t play my favorite song, “Tupelo”, but it was still a great show!  You can hear a few of their songs on the website, so be sure to stop by and check it out and at LEAST listen to “Tupelo”!
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That about sums up the weekend.  The only other things going on are some serious studying for Nick, a little FaceTime with my parents and lots of laundry.  Oh! I made something for dinner that currently smells so delicious I can hardly take it!  I can’t wait to eat!  I’ll have the recipe and some super fun cooking photos up in the next couple days.  Also, I’ve decided on what to do with my laundry room, so hopefully I can get started on it soon!  It will be so amazing once I’m done with it.  Keep your fingers crossed for Nick, he has an exam on Tuesday that, judging by the amount of studying he’s doing, will probably be very difficult.  Tomorrow we brace ourselves for the Trick or Treaters coming our way, all 250(!) of them.  That’s it for today!
Thanks for stoppin’ by!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Delicious-ness

Long time, no blog!  Last week was a little crazy and off.  I had vacation on Thursday and Friday but was completely consumed with the task of readying our house for the onslaught of guests coming to stay for Homecoming weekend.  So I didn’t have a spare minute to collect my thoughts into a post. 
So Sunday night, after the guests were gone I felt the desire to bake.  So off to the store I went, to gather materials.  I wanted to make something Fall-ish and delicious and Pumpkin Crunch seemed perfect.  Now, I had made Pumpkin Crunch last year but I’m pretty sure I got about ONE bite of it before Nick took it to work for all his co-workers to enjoy.  If you’ve never had Pumpkin Crunch I would suggest you find yourself a can of pumpkin and some butter and get crackin’!  I promise you won’t regret it.  The recipe goes a little something like this:
1 (16 oz.) can pumpkin
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp. pumpkin spice
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
1 c. butter, melted
Mix together the first 6 ingredients and pour into a 9 x 13 pan.  Evenly distribute the yellow cake mix over the top of the pumpkin mixture.  Drizzle the butter over the top of the cake mix.  Bake for 50-55 minutes at 350 until it’s nice and golden brown.
It might seem veeeerrrryyyy liquid-y when you first put everything into the bowl, but if you whisk it together it starts to firm up a little.  If you really want to kick it up a notch, you can serve it with a little ice cream or homemade whipped cream. Yumm. 
On a plate it doesn’t look like much, but let me tell you, it is ADDICTIVE and I’ve almost eaten the whole pan I love it!  The butter makes the cake mix a little crispy and very very buttery, which I love.  Paula Deen would be proud, considering it takes 2 whole sticks to get a cup of melted butter. 
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O man…my mouth is watering…  HAPPY BAKING!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Weekend Wrap Up

We didn’t do much this weekend.  And it. was. AWESOME.  I felt like the weekend went on and on, which was even better.  Saturday morning I got up a little early and went to the store to get the ingredients to make this deliciousness, but a little modified since I don’t have a bundt pan.  It was so stinkin’ good!  And easy.  I think these could be awesome for Christmas morning, or a nice treat for Thanksgiving day when everyone’s running around forgetting to eat breakfast.  They literally take 25 minutes from start to baked and delicious. 
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I wish you could smell this picture….heavenly…
The trick is to baste the biscuits half way through the cooking time with all the “juice” down in the bottom of the pan.  Oh man, now my mouth is watering..
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Sunday I face-timed with my parents a few times, which was so nice.  You don’t realize how much you miss someone until you can see them, but you’re not there with them.  Thank goodness for the iPhone!  I love being able to walk around the house and show my parents all my new and wacky ideas about what’s next for the house. 
I ended up making the sticky buns again, since Nick and I loved them so much.  They are ADDICTIVE, so if you make them be very careful!  I also made us some poached eggs, since I figured carbs-a-palooza wasn’t a good idea two mornings in a row.  I recently discovered how to make poached eggs and now they are my favorite way to eat eggs.  Julia Child would be so proud!  Eggs really are strangely beautiful when poached.  I wasn’t sure Nick would even like them but after we ate he said he could eat poached eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner and I really think I could too!  When done just right they really are so wonderful.  If you haven’t seen the movie Julie & Julia, you should.  Se makes poached eggs in the movie and the first time she bites into one(which is also he first egg EVER. I mean EVER.) she says, “Cheese sauce…” which is just what they taste like when cooked perfectly.
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Now I’m off to bed.  I’m so worn out right now because Nick and I spent a few hours tonight worried sick about our boy Jacobe. He escaped from the backyard and wouldn’t come home.  I’m so relieved that he came back and I’m so grateful to all of our wonderful, sweet neighbors who called for him and tried to lure him into their houses for us for hours tonight.  They were just as worried about him as we were.  Nick and I were sitting in the family room with the windows open and could hear our neighbors calling Jacobe and sweetly trying to bribe him with treats. They’re all so sweet and knew we were worried about our boy.  Just when we thought he was gone for the night we decided to give it one last try.  Nick took Peanut out on her leash to go looking for Jacobe and as soon as they were out of my line of sight I heard Jacobe’s yelp, which I knew meant that Nick had scooped him up so I ran out of the house.  When I came outside Nick had Jacobe in his arms and there was the sweetest woman walking behind him with Peanut on her leash!  The woman had slices of cheese in one hand and our crazy dog’s leash in the other.  She said she was just worried that a car would hit Jacobe and she knew how awful that is, since one of her dogs was hit by a car a year ago.  She had seen Jacobe when she was on her way home from work and stopped to ask us if we needed help, but we assured her it would be fine.  Fourty five minutes later she was back out with slices of cheese, trying to get Jacobe to come back to our house.  I have no idea who this woman is, but I need to find her and thank her for her kindness!  We have the best neighbors.  So thank you to everyone in the neighborhood who came the tell us they’d seen Jacobe on the street, thank you for standing on your porches calling for him, and thank you for helping us when we needed it!  We’re glad he’s back home.
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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Before and After

Everybody loves a good before and after, right?  I know I do!  So I’ve decided that it might be fun to regularly do Before and After posts.  Even when it’s small, it’s just fun to see how great something can be when it’s shown a little love and attention.  So for the first Before and After here on Our Place on Magnolia, I will be showing you how gross my refrigerator was and how clean and organized it is now. 
If you know me at all, you know that my fridge often gets neglected and is rarely cleaned out.  Usually it takes my parents coming to town and FORCING me to clean it out, or my friend Amara doing it for me, for my fridge to be really clean.  But since we bought this house, I feel the need to keep everything much cleaner than I did in any of our rentals.  Lately I’ve been throwing out one or two things every few days, just to keep it from getting so piled up in there, but today I decided it was time for a full clean out.  So here’s the before…
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See?  Disorganized, with things falling all over the place.  Plus, there were crumbs galore and stuff stuck on the shelves…eeeeww.  But with a little love and attention, here’s the after…
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Muuuuuch better.  Not that there’s much in there at the moment, but at least all the leftovers are gone and I know what I have.  And it smells better, too!  I’ll be back with a weekend wrap up tomorrow!
Thanks for stoppin’ by!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mum’s the word

Ok, ok so the title’s a little corny but I had to!  Forgive me.  So in yesterday's post I mentioned that I had a mum-related project that I was working on.  It ended up taking me more than one day, but that’s ok.  So to me, fall is all about mums.  Literally, as soon as the word “fall” is uttered I’ll be the first girl down at the nursery snatching up some beautiful mums.  This year was no different, except that usually I end up paying a fortune a little too much for a nice, big, full mum and this time around I didn’t!  One of the girls I work with was selling them for her kid’s school and they were only $6 a piece!  It was a steal so I got three, 2 crimson and one orange.  They were HUGE when I got them and I was oh-so-happy.  Now, fast forward a few weeks and my mums are wilting…*sad face*…and I know why.  It’s because the little plastic pots they came in were waaaaaaaaay too small for them to flourish, and I knew I needed to do something about it.  Here’s one crimson one, all wilt-y.
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  Lately, there’s been absolutely no “budge” in our budget, if you will.  That means no extra money for pots to repot my precious mums!  Pots are expensive, not to mention that I unfailingly have champagne taste on a Natty Lite budget, so I knew it was best to not even go looking and just figure something else out.  Enter: The Dollar Tree *angels singing, heavenly light shining down on local Dollar Tree*.  I scooped up 3 black buckets for 3 bucks, some cheap potting soil and hoped for the best.   
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The hubs helped me drill some holes in the bottom, ya know, for drainage and what not. This took about 5 seconds.  He’s so cute, I love him!
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Then I filled them up with potting soil and repotted my plants and gave them a good soak.  The “pots” are a little big, but the black color goes well with my Halloween d├ęcor and there’s plenty of room for growth. 
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So of course after I finished I thought to myself, “Self, these pots need a little something extra.”  I thought about all sorts of things, like ribbon, some braided yarn, or something really Halloween-ish but none of those options seemed right.  And then it hit me, OUR LAST INITIAL! PERFECT!  So I printed out a huge L in a font I liked, laminated it and cut it out to make a stencil.  I taped the stencil to the pot with some painter’s tape to see if it fit and it did!
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Then, I used some old newspaper to cover everything else so I wouldn’t get anything on the rest of the pot.  Fancy, huh?
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I busted out my handy white spray paint, as seen in this post, and got busy.  Now, I kind of figured that my stencil wasn’t leak proof and that some paint would get under the stencil and I would need to do some tough ups.  And booooy, did I!  Here’s how it looked after the spray paint and removing the stencil.
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It was a full on Monet.  From far away it was ok, but up close it was a big ol’ mess!  So I grabbed my giant Sharpie and cleaned things up a little bit.  Muuuuch better.
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And here they are!
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Disregard the gourds, they’re temporary until I can get my hands on some pumpkins from the farmers market.  The L turned out great and I love that it breaks up the 3 blank “pots”.  I still think I’ll add something else to the other 2, but we’ll see once I get some pumpkins and such up there.  Anyone else have any fun fall activities goin’ on?? I’d love to hear all about it!  It’s fall, ya’ll!!!
Thanks for stoppin’ by!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Fall Mantle

So, first of all, I would like to say that I am really enjoying trying to focus on the blog right now and post things as often as I can.  I feel like I’m really getting into the swing of things and I hope I can keep it up.  Also, please ignore the way the blog LOOKS right now.  It’s going through some changes and I can’t quite figure everything out just yet, so please just ignore the funky margins and awkward layout for the moment!  I say this as if there is anyone but my family and a few friends reading this, LOL!
Anyhoodle, on with the show!  So in yesterday's post I mentioned that today I wanted to share my fall mantle, yayy!  I love fall and everything about it, especially the decorations and coffee drinks.  Pumpkins, owls, mums, and rich colors are all so beautiful! Speaking of mums, tomorrow I will have a post about a little project I did today dealing with my beautiful mums!
So here’s my little fall inspired mantle:
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Here’s a close up of the gourd, which my momma grew in her garden last summer!  I love the way the spots on it look, kind of like they’re tie-dyed.
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I made the paper bunting myself with some old scrap book paper and everything else I already had on hand.  The mirror is one of my favorite things I own.  My parents bought it for me the weekend Nick and I moved into the house from the vintage store by my house.  It came from a barber shop in southern Indiana and it has so much awesome character, I just love it!  Also, I think the sconces add a little bit of charm to my setup here. 
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Not sure why, but I never took a picture of the mantle from the front, so there it is again from the side!  haha!  So tomorrow I’ll be sharing my little mum project I worked on today, which I LOVE by the way.  Oh! I almost forgot! I’m getting some things ready for my etsy shop, so when it’s ready I’ll share the link on here.  I’m excited. 
*Side note:  decorating the mantle for fall makes me think of all the UH-MAY-ZING things I can do with it for Christmas!!!!  Now imagine me jumping around my living room, giddy about the prospects for Christmas decorating.  Anyway….
Thanks for stoppin’ by!

Monday, October 10, 2011

The little things

It really is the little things that make me happy, so it’s only typical that the smallest project I’ve tackled lately has been making me the happiest!  I recently started noticing how flat out UGLY the light switch plate in our family room is and it really started to bug me.  Once something gets in my head I fixate on it and MUST.FIX.IT.  So, while cleaning the house a few days ago I just kept staring at the switch plate every time I walked past it…and it was seriously eating at me.  It’s like it was staring right back at me, taunting me with it’s hideousness!  Did I mention I fixate?? Here it is..  Nice, right?  Yea, I know you’re jealous.
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I decided to just do something about it, so I yanked that sucker off the wall and slapped some white paint on it.  Now, you might be wondering why I didn’t just replace it.  Well you see, it has lots of character and even though it was unsightly I just couldn’t part with it!  A plain switch plate would have been boring!  So down it came, with the help of my trusty screwdriver.
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I plopped it down on a piece of scrap cardboard…
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Shook up the can of white paint I keep on hand for these types of emergencies…
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And BAM! It’s white.
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I’m also terribly impatient, so I let it cure up for about…ohhhh, I dunno.. 5 minutes?? and then veeeeery carefully hung it back up on the wall.  Here she is in all her white, satiny beauty!
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Love it!  Now it does not taunt me, it just blends and looks like it actually belongs in this century.  Yayy!
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Tomorrow I will be sharing my fall mantle, it’s so cute! Can’t wait!
Thanks for stoppin’ by!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

DIY: Laundry Soap

So, thanks to Pinterest I have found so many new things to do and projects to try around the house!  It’s pretty exciting.  One of the more random things I came across was making your own laundry soap.  It’s so simple I had to try it.  According to everything I’ve read online and the calculations I’ve done, it costs about $0.02 per load using the homemade soap versus $0.25 per load with a store bought detergent….I’ll let that sink in…. OK, now that it’s understood that laundry soap is EXPENSIVE I’ll tell you how easy it is to make your own at home! 
I chose to make the powder version, however there are recipes out there for the liquid version.  I chose to make the powder because I’m lazy and it’s WAAAAYYYY easier than boiling and stirring and whatnot.  Maybe next time. 
I really would recommend going ahead and making two batches at a time, since the batches aren’t that big and detergent goes pretty quickly(especially in my house!). 
So the materials you will need are as follows:
-Washing Soda: this is a product made by Arm and Hammer that you’ve probably never even noticed before in the laundry aisle.  I found mine snuggled up next to the next ingredient…
-Borax: I used 20 Mule Team brand, but any kind will do.
-Bar Soap: the recipe i followed called for Fels Naptha, but I’ve read that any kind will do.  I’ve seen some recipes that call for Ivory or Zote, but I went with the F.N. since it was so conveniently located next to my other 2 ingredients.
Speaking of my ingredients, here they are now in a cute little group shot..
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The first thing I did was grate my bar soap using a cheese grater, but a food processor would also work.  I’m warning you, if you decide to grate the whole bar by hand you may regret it.  I did…5 seconds in, but there was no turning back.  It’s best to grate it pretty fine, since you want everything to be powdery and fluffy(IT'S SO FLUFFFFFYYYYYY!!!!) in the end.  I ended up crumbling the soap a little more with my fingers, since I wanted it to be very fine. 
After you grate the whole bar of soap, add 1 cup of borax..
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Then, add one cup of washing soda.
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After everything is in your bowl or container, mix it all together.  Then mix it some more, and then mix it some more so it’s niiiiiice and powdery.
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After I had everything combined very well, I found a container to store it in and a cute spoon to measure it out with.  I wanted my container to be somewhat airtight, because if any moisture got in it could cause clumping.  The hubs and I have become avid coffee drinkers, and have recently polished off a giant thing of Folgers which comes in those “airtight” plastic containers these days.  To get rid of the coffee smell I filled my container with warm water, some dish liquid and a generous splash of white vinegar and let it marinate like that for about an hour.  Can I just say that white vinegar is one of my favorite household cleaning products? I love that stuff!  It gets rid of all sorts of smells and stains, there are so many uses! 
So anyway, I really am not a fan of red and unfortunately that is the color of Folgers.  So I dressed up my little coffee container with some scrap book paper and super glue and wrote on it what it was and how much to use, just in case the hubs gets a wild hair and does some laundry!  (love ya, boo!) 
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*Side note: I intend to find a very cute jar or container at the vintage store by my house but as of now I haven’t been able to find anything.
So far it cleans well and makes everything smell fresh.  To me, there’s no difference between this and store-bought laundry soap, aside from the price!  So, if you’re feeling frugal and sick of paying our the wazoo for laundry soap go ahead and make ya a batch or two and then let me know how it goes!
Thanks for stoppin’ by!