Wednesday, June 30, 2010

only perfect in pictures

Sometimes I have issues with blogs and their (perceived)perfection.  Rarely do I see someone having a bad day and I can catch myself wondering what I'm doing wrong because life here is not perfect.  Who the heck would want to read the blog of a crazy woman overwhelmed with life, but there are moments in the day that I feel exactly that way.  Seriously not coping well.  It passes with a breath or two, but I seem to have those moments. A lot. Lately. 

This morning I woke up asking God to help me not be such a mean mom.  I feel pretty tired of yelling.  There is a certain time of day(usually around 2 pm) that I need everyone to cooperate and that is the hour everyone(not naming any names) over 5 years old can't.  The morning I took these pictures I was tired.  We visited a potential Preschool for Asher and I wanted to take the kids to a park we hadn't been yet. We rushed home, had a snack, changed clothes(this is an exhausting task), I worked really hard not to melt down like a two year old when people were looking for match box cars instead of getting on sun screen, we headed to the park.  We were there 15 minutes, I took these pictures, three seconds later everyone wanted to leave.  Are you kidding me?!  

My life, my kids, my dog, my husband, myself, so not perfect.  I hope we never give you the impression that we are.  I struggle everyday.  I succeed and fail on a moment to moment basis.  Smiling faces and juicy kisses make me stand up and keep trying to make the imperfect perfectly fine with me.

Just when I thought I had totally lost my sense of humor for the day:

It was just about bed time and Sloan was crying.  I couldn't find a binky, and he was following me screaming and whining.  I told the boys I was headed out to the car on a pacifier hunt.  Holden said "Wait, I'll get him this thing he really likes and he'll stop, I'm sure of it".  As I walked out the garage door I looked over my shoulder to see what it was Holden thought would settle him down.  He was handing his baby brother a tampon.(!!!!)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

a better marinade

I have a thing against store bought marinade.  I look in that isle of the grocery store often and when I see those bottles of colorful mixes all I see is preservatives and sodium, so I don't buy them(oh, and I'm cheap so I use what I already have at home). Instead I use this tasty simple little marinade in the summer(it's nice and light) on any kind of meat.

I am not an exact measurer so go with on this(I know that drives you crazy Becca)

2 cloves crushed garlic
 mushed together with coarse salt
Olive oil(enough to just cover the bottom of the dish)
Several dashes of soy sauce
Juice of half a lemon
A couple rosemary sprigs(any herb or combination of herbs will do-I like rosemary the best-but get creative)
A little more salt
Fresh ground pepper
Whisk it all together in the bottom of the dish, marinate meat as long as you wish, turning often. 

(Mom, the above picture is from a magazine-I love you)

Along with the chicken the other night I also made this recipe from Martha's cooking magazine.  I did not have a chance to get a picture, but it was really yummy and Sloan was crazy for it, although that may not be saying much as he has yet to meet food he doesn't like.  My hard to please(Todd and Asher) liked it too.
 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Zucchini or summer squash, quartered and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 Package(15-16 ounces) frozen gnocchi
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese
2 tablespoons butter

In a large skillet, heat oil over med-high. Add squash and garlic and season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is crisp and tender, 4to5 minutes.  Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until juicy, about 2 minutes
Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling water, cook gnocchi according to package instructions.  Reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid, drain gnocchi and transfer to skillet.  Toss gnocchi, adding enough cooking liquid to create a sauce.  Remove from heat and stir in basil, cheese, butter, and lemon juice.
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Monday, June 28, 2010

one down...65 more to go...

This weekend I am happy to say I actually finished a project. Well, I finished the painting part with the mantel part to come who knows when. I thought I would just paint it and move onto another part of the house until this fall when I felt like I had more time, but wouldn't you know, painting the fireplace only made the rest of the room need help ASAP.  So onto picking a paint color. 

I'm a pretty big Benjamin Moore fan.  For several reasons like low and no VOC options, great coverage and very washable in all finishes, but I truly think they have the best colors.  Colors that just don't go bad when they get up on your walls. I've painted with lots of paint that looks ok to start, but in time they are either not true to the sample, and they aren't even and pure on the surface. Ben M. has never done me wrong. It has been worth the extra money per gallon.

I am sticking to a similar color palette I used in our old house.  Cleveland Green is way to dark for this room, but the white on the fireplace has lightened up the space really nicely(not a lot of windows in the front room), so I am going with a color.

I am not going to talk about pillows again.  I love this pillow, I already know that :)   This is a picture for my mom so she can remember the print.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

the joys of summer

It might look like a bucket of weeds, a rusty one at that, but it is my little herb garden.  I love growing basil in the summer, it just makes me happy.  This year I have basil, mint and thyme.  The mint is sure to take over the container but I'll just have to perfect my mojito to use it all up(twist my arm).  I have found that if I ignore herbs they grow the best.  Basil especially grows well really thirsty.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

DIY EMERGENCY my beastly fireplace.  I know, I think I can hear your audible moan from here.  She's a real beauty, or I should say she'll be a beauty after 15 coats of white paint.

Boy, does this room have that just moved in feeling or what??? I have big plans for this room, although I had bigger ones before we moved in and realized that the sectional could only fit one way, and that way was in front of the beast.  Not the greatest flow I know, but it is what it is(that's the motto my husband suggested I adopt when we were selling our house-it's a pathetic one but works really well for occasions like this and when your kids are home for the summer). Anyways, consider this the before picture because I have the primer and tools ready to take make this beast a friendlier little monster. 

I also wanted to confess to you that I broke one of my big decorating rules and bought pillows from Pottery Barn.  Have you ever bought something for your house and thought it was exactly what you were looking for, your dreams had been answered, your house was going to come together no problem with this amazing purchase.  You rush home only to find that it doesn't look a thing like the rest of your house, it requires endless new things to make it work in the room and it was just too expensive to talk yourself into using.  I get super frustrated when that happens, I can't get to PB fast enough to return these. They are lovely, but not here.

And now I will leave you with one final shot.  What kind of slave labor camp am I running here?  Look at my poor father on his knees scrubbing my deck and Asher is just watching...I should be embarrassed...but it looks great.  Thanks dad :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Got Inspiration, Got energy, Got young kids, Got nothing done

Well, you may have guessed that I didn't get any projects done this weekend-not even close.  Instead Todd worked on setting up his work bench in the garage which was a good idea so we can find tools and such when we are ready to start projects.  I have my inspiration pictures, and I have bought some things to help me choose colors and get things started in the right direction.  I think it will make me feel productive if I share them with you, actually this is all for my mom and you guys are forced to be a part of it :)
I am not joking when I say this place feels like camp.  We have the forest, and sometimes the house feels like a cabin.  A good cabin, but you know the feeling at camp when the cabin is dark and cool.  That is how the upstairs feels, especially in the boys room.  The previous owners had put up wallpaper 35 years ago and I just couldn't bear to take it down-it's vintage.  The boys like it and we decided to work with it.  The wallpaper is on two walls and the other two walls at the moment are off white, they make the wallpaper look pretty drab.  Dark Blue would liven it up a lot, but darken the room even more. My solution is beadboard(who doesn't love this stuff) to help reflect some light from the two windows and add some character for my two characters.  I am giving my husband a break and not making him add the shelf part, I have a feeling that would surely put him over the edge. 
(funny side note: I was on the phone with my mom when she saw the above picture.  She thought it was the finished picture of their room...what a nut.)
The wallpaper. 

To add a airy feeling I am doing all the bedding in white.  This quilt and sham are from Target.  Loving it!

Pillow from Target.  Loving it even more!

In the bathroom I want to try board and batten like the above picture.  It looks simple enough-easy for me to say as all I will be doing is the paint.

The shower curtain.  Upper part of the walls to be painted turquoise

The rug and towels from TJ Maxx(I love that store as much as I adore Target)

Towel rack from previous house to add a vintage touch.

So that's all for now.  Tomorrow I'll show you the beast I'm going to tackle with white paint.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

This is how my week started.  Garbage.  Garbage that sat on the curb thru several rain storms, and for several extra days because we neglected to order service before it got to insane levels.  What a way to make a first impression :)  I have a couple Cincy friends with houses on the market-just something to look forward to girls.

(What I was really proud of was this was the scene my dad saw the first time he drove up to our new house.) 

I pay my dad nothing for all the lawn work he does for me and he pays the kids .50 a bag full of leaves and twigs.   Somethings wrong with that math. These boys love Grandpa.  It is nice to have a little piece of home visiting us in Knoxville.  They miss DM a lot, especially Asher. It was great for my dad to make the trek here and add some sunshine to our mood. 

Wanted to share a Martha bar recipe I made this week. I have a version of this cookie with pecans and coconut that I usually make in the Fall.  This cookie is just as yummy, not very summery, but worth trying sometime soon. (I gave my sister this recipe and she complained about how messy they looked. so if you like "perfect" looking cookies this may not be your best choice.)

Salted Toffee-Chocolate Squares

13 graham crackers
1 bag(8oz) toffee bits
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped toasted almonds
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup(2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.  Place graham crackers in a single layer on sheet.  Sprinkle toffee bits and almonds over crackers.

In a small saucepan bring sugar and butter to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat and cook at a rapid simmer, swirling pan occasionally until mixture is syrupy, 2 min. Immediately pour over graham crackers. Bake until sugar topping is bubbling, 12 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate and salt over graham crackers.  With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut into 2 inch squares.  Let cool completely on sheet(Store in an airtight container up to 1 week)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I'm not really here, but I'll be back

Just a quick hello from our little house in Rocky Hill.  We are in, but things are a little nuts.  Mainly because it is summer and the kids are crazy and want to be entertained 24/7 which is making me crazy.  I do not recommend moving to a new community in the middle of summer when all the camps are full.  I feel a little crabby about it.  It has been an adjustment and although we are very happy with the house, warming up to the neighborhood, pleasantly pleased with the city, I just feel crabby.  I don't want to meet any new people yet, the kids are salivating at every child and I have no interest in throwing my self at any of these mothers.  In time, loneliness is sure to snap me out of my current mindset, but for now I am surrendering to mysour mood. 

the view from my kitchen window.  We are really starting to love the house.  It feels a little like camp.  Daddy Long Legs and all.

Sobe getting ready to enjoy an afternoon snack.

Our first friend.  He was outside our front door in the long grass.  Silly me, I thought I was doing him a favor by putting him in the pond, but he wanted nothing to do with it.  He couldn't get out of there fast enough.  I guess he is a land turtle.  Made me wonder what the heck else is in our long grass.  Not going to walk through there any time soon.

So, I'll be back in a while.  My dad arrived today to help me out with the yard and kiss on the boys.  Trying to plan my first project for this weekend.  Thinking about board and batten in the guest bath.  Check out the process here