Thursday, May 31, 2012


Ok, so life has been keeping us super busy. The end of the school year is so exciting for the girls - we have an 8th dance and graduation, year-end parties (out the ying-yang!), dance rehearsal and then recital, piano recital, and so on... you get the idea as we all are enjoying, and rushing to, all these activities.

So what, you ask, do I do to calm myself and embrace the chaos (other than therapy that comes in the shape of a wine bottle, box, or jug - I'm not judging!), I head to Pinterest!!

Something about pulling up my page and seeing all my favorite things, right there, in front of me, makes me giddy like a school girl! We are getting ready to make some minor changes to our house, will post all the before and afters starting next week, and I spent a couple hours with the carpenter designing how I want our coffered ceiling and moldings to hold our pediment we bought at a Paris flea market. My carpenter/contractor is one of the best and reasonably priced. We sat down yesterday and I pulled up Pinterest to show him exactly what I want.

I love the detailing, even though I want mine to be slightly different. The color is also similar to what we want. Don't want to go too dark (please go to my Pinterest page to get all the original sources).

He is also going to make one of these for me, either 8 feet long or 2 4s. This will go on top of my new Pottery Barn piece to help hide the window it is covering. I will use it for seasonal decorating, flowers in the spring, pumpkins and gourds in the Fall, and ornaments with lights at Christmas (can't wait!!). Of course, that long will take a LOT of items to fill it but I am ALWAYS up for that challenge. That's just a few of the items on my Greg List.

Another source of Pinterest love for me is the recipes. Here's what's been on tap for dinner the last couple of weeks:

Chicken Asparagus Roll-Ups
Made these for dinner the other night. I added garlic and used gruyere cheese because that it what I had on hand. I also added the "sauce" on the inside and it all melted together nicely. Would make again.

Crowd Pleasing Taco Salad
This salad was a huge hit with the family. I bought a small bag of Fritos, just enough to give the salad a little bit of crunch. I also used green olives instead of black, added fresh cilantro, used ground turkey breast instead of hamburger, added black beans, corn, and red onion. One final adaptation for our family was using spinach and spring mix instead of iceberg. It was such a hit, that my youngest took it to school with her the next day for lunch (when I made it, we added the dressing and turkey to individual bowls so leftovers wouldn't be soggy and my vegetarian could still eat it).

Sunburst Lemon Bars
While I like the occasional hint of lemon (I do LOVE the smell though), I am not a huge fan. However, when I saw these bars, my mouth started watering! I am making these tomorrow. My husband picked up a big bag of wonderful looking lemons at Sam's this weekend so looking forward to these. I will let you know how they taste.

Pinterest also makes me laugh!

Amen Sista!
Too funny!
So there's my Pinterest love for the day!!! Very excited about the projects starting next week but currently bummed because round 2 of my projects (closing in the pass through from dining to kitchen and replacing all the painted molding on the 2nd floor with stained molding) will have to wait a little bit longer. I just got the estimate from the A/C guy currently working in my house (my contractor's partner). Needless to say, living in Florida, feeling like it is already summer time, my A/C has to work so that takes precedence although I hate writing big checks for something you can't see!!

Can't wait to fill you in on all the changes happening, but that's for another post!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Finally Coming Together . . .

Ok, so I have been working real hard on my family room and it is S. L. O. W. L. Y. coming together. If you don't remember, here are some pictures of the before.

Please give me a little break - I had packed up Easter and since I was getting ready to paint, I didn't put anything back on the ledges. I did love that green color but my husband (*cough*) and I, decided to change our overall house look to Mediterranean.  So I pulled everything off the walls, patched ALL those holes, and started painting.

I have lived in this house for a little over 8 years and this is the 4th time I have painted this room. When I realized that, I promised (fingers crossed) my hubby that it will stay this way for awhile!!

Here's the new wall color. It's more of a neutral beige. It goes nicely with the fabric I am making into curtains and a few pillows next week (will post on that sewing attempt later). 

Here's my beautiful new fabric. I think the colors are great!
It's Waverly Santa Maria Adobe.
This is going to be made into two curtains, two seat covers at the kitchen table,
and two pillows.
(Yes, I know the fabrics have Southwestern names but we think the colors
look great and still work perfectly for Mediterranean!).

This complimentary fabric is Waverly's Panama Wave Adobe.
This will cover two chairs at the kitchen table and probably one pillow
or a mat for a frame.

I haven't bought this one but might buy enough to make one or two pillows.
It's called Waverly Mayan Medallion Adobe.

Now, I have been VERY patient with Pottery Barn. I ordered the Tucker Wall Unit in black from them the beginning of April. It wasn't cheap but I got a great deal. I bought a 15% off coupon on eBay for $7 (I know, who knew??) and got a MAJOR discount on S&H. BONUS!  Well, my patience paid off. My PB unit arrived yesterday via White Glove delivery! That means they bring it in your house and set it up! (I have assembled more than my share of furniture in the past few years!!) Thank you Pottery Barn!! The guys were literally in and out in about 10 minutes. And I think it looks FABUUULOUSSS!

Here's the before. This window looks right at the neighbor's house so we ALWAYS
keep the blinds closed or have a piece of furniture over it.
(Remember the curtains hanging next to the hutch in the first photo on this post?)

And here's my beautiful Tucker Wall Unit now!
I just love it!!

I did know when I bought this piece, that the side pieces don't flush with the main unit and I was good with that. Only, my crafty, little brain did not put two-and-two together to realize that the window will show through - duh! So my super, fantastic contractor is coming to my house on Monday to start doing projects around my house (I promise to blog about ALL of them - everything from hanging the pediment I bought in a Parisian flea market, to adding/replacing baseboards and crown moulding, putting a coffered ceiling in our dining room, closing in our pass-through, and the list goes on!). We are going to put a thin piece of MDF or something like that, paint it black, and slide it behind the gap. I think black is the way we want to go because then your eye will glaze over it as if it is just one large piece. If that doesn't look right, then we will just go with the wall color. We don't want to cut the trim in the pieces in case we decide to use them somewhere else some other day.

Well, I am off to do what I love best - decorate (and unfortunately, take care of a sick kid). I will be happy to share my photos once I get it all filled (it really does hold a TON of stuff!) but that will be for another post!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day Rocked!

Ok, so Mother's Day is the one day I don't feel guilty for sleeping in late, not doing the dishes, having the kids make breakfast, etc...

I woke up around 8:30ish (sweet!) and read for a little while. The house was nice and quiet. My husband spent the night on the couch because he was up late watching soccer and I have become a bit of a snorer (allergies!). Around 9:30, I hear little footsteps downstairs and clanging in the kitchen. I know soon I will be eating. Not sure what, not sure how it will be cooked, but it will be some semblance of food - at least I hope so!

The next thing I know, breakfast is being served on a tray. On my menu is bacon, (no Weight Watchers today!), scrambled eggs with cheese melted on top, toast, sliced mangoes and OJ. It was set-off with a beautiful red rose. My oldest daughter made it for me and it was delicious.

However, breakfast also came with PRESENTS!! My husband got me a spa gift certificate - one of my favorite gifts to receive. Since I am currently on WW, I decided I would use it when I got to a certain goal. Hopefully sooner than later.

Next came my youngest daughter's gifts. She made a beautiful necklace in Junior Girl Scouts (I am the leader so this one wasn't a surprise to me.)

This was something I pinned on Pinterest (go to my page if you want the directions - under Great for Girl Scouts). This look great and will be something I will definitely wear a lot. We are going to make them to sell as a fundraiser and will do holiday graphics as well.

She also made for me a poem entitled "When I'm Old With You Mom".  Here's how it reads:

When I'm old with you mom . . .
We can go to Disney World and we can walk through the streets and pop into stores. We won't ride on any roller coasters, but that's okay.

When I'm old with you mom . . .
We'll relax by the pool and lay in the warmth of the big, hot sun and won't swim. But that's alright.

When I'm old with you mom . . .
We can travel around the world, bundle up in layers of clothes or lay on the beach, either temperature, I will be fine.

When I'm old with you mom . . .
We can bake our favorite cookies for Christmas, the Iced Italians. I won't drench them in icing or cover them with green and red sprinkles, if you say so.

When I'm old with you mom . . .
We can drive to Gainesville to visit our family: Hannah, Morgan, Harrison, Hudson, and Presley, even if the drive takes a million years.

When I'm old with you mom . . .
We can shop at Publix and I'll be your buddy so you won't get lonely (or forget the list)!

When I'm old with you mom . . .
We can drive our crazy carpool to school and blast the radio to block them out, my ears may burst but, that's ok.

Happy Mother's Day.

My sweet girl brought tears to my eyes!! So sweet and touching (but not better than when she was 3 and thought I was 22 years old and weighed 88 pounds!).

My oldest daughter is so clever, and also addicted to Pinterest like her mom! She Pinned something similar as the above, but made it her own. Her dad bought her the canvas and she did all the rest. I am really impressed with her freehand painting! Now the tough decision is where to hang it!!

Normally, we all hang out in the pool but Sunday was overcast and kind of icky. That makes it the prefect day for movie watching. We watched Joyful Noise (kind of cute) and the original Footloose (great music!).

I had a nice phone conversation with my mom while the family made dinner. For dinner, we had steaks (my husband is a master barbecuer), grilled asparagus, baked potatoes and a side of Bernaise (remember, no Weight Watchers today!). It was finished off with a wonderful wine we brought back from France. I was washing my hands getting ready for dinner when I heard all this yelling and "Bad Dog!" "Bad Dog!!" I go around the corner and see my beautiful, but extremely guilty Black Lab licking her chops. She had made off with one of the steaks!!! BAD DOG! Because one daughter is a vegetarian, we only had 2 steaks originally, so we were down to one for three people. Luckily, everything else was so filling, we didn't starve and finished it all off with cannolis.

All-in-all, it was a great day. I felt loved and appreciated, and I didn't have to do any dishes!! The rest of the house still needed attention, but that's for another post!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It's The Final Countdown . . .

Ok, so I was doing what I do best, driving carpool this morning, when the kids were talking about the number of days of school left - 22!! What?!?! But I still have so much more to do before they invade!! Time to make my mac-daddy, "get your butt in gear" To Do list! So here goes -

1. Find a seamstress to make pillows and curtains/roman shades for family room. (Some day - Take sewing class so don't have to pay someone!! I probably could sew a basic pillow but not sure how to do cording and don't want to waste expensive fabric).

Isn't it a great fabric? Waverly Santa Maria Adobe.
2. Paint family room. I can do this myself. I am having a very large cabinet from Pottery Barn delivered in the next couple of weeks (it's been back-ordered) and I want to have the room painted before then.

Love, love, love this! Getting it in black instead!

3.  I spent 3.5 hours yesterday with my favorite carpenter - turned contractor - going over things to do in my house. I always paint or stain whatever he does (to save on cost) so once I get his estimates, time to get staining/painting! We want to have a pediment we bought at a Paris flea market hung (super heavy!),
a coffered ceiling added to our dining room, storage built for DVDs, stained crown moulding hung and a few other miscellaneous jobs.

You can't really tell in the photo above but my pediment is the brown one laying on top of the green trunk. It was an incredible shop! I loved the 15-foot high moldings but promised my husband I wouldn't try to get them home!!

4. Restain upstairs, outside porch.

5. Have curtain/valance made for office. (Again, wish I could really sew!)

PKauffman Breeze Tapestry

6. Buy replacement wine fridge.

7. Organize kitchen cupboards. I have started but not finished yet. Will post all the photos once done. The cabinets I have done so far do look really great!

8. Have pillows made for outside porch. Using Sun 'n Shade fabric so extra thick material.

Waverly Sun 'n Shade Magic Carpet
So that's just part of my list but the items I wanted to prioritize. Once the kids are home, we will tackle closets and desks but that's for another post!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Kids are Coming, The Kids are Coming - Are You Ready?

Before we know it, our little ones will be out of school and running around - wanting us to feed them, play with them, drive them, entertain them!! Kids! Truth being said, as a stay-at-home mom with an on-line business, I love having them home but it's a lot more work for me when they are out of school. Granted, it's great being able to swim in the pool at night and not worry about getting homework done or staying up late to watch a movie. Sleeping-in in the mornings is nothing but fantastic! We have some fun family traditions, and not-so fun rules, that we use to make summer a little easier on everyone -

1. Buy "special" individual cups for each member of the family. This is something I try to do year-round but it's really not that bad during school since the kids aren't home. During summer, my girls will go through 4-6 glasses a day. I finally said enough. On the first day of summer break, they each get a monogrammed cup to use. It's their cup for the day, and everyday. I am not to see anymore cups used, laying around, or they have to hand wash them!!

2. Something else we do is lazy week. The first week the girls are home, they get to watch as much TV as they want (but we still monitor what they watch - no MTV in our house!!), sleep as much as they want, play on the computer or Wii/Playstation as much as they want. I know it sounds nuts, we call it our Week of Debauchery. We have done this for several years and it works well in our house. By the end of the week, they are not interested in TV or the computer, they want to see friends, swim, ride bikes and they get it out of their system. They have worked super hard in school and deserve some down time so we give it to them. The one rule is that they still need to do their regular chores for the day or they don't get debauchery the next day (not sure I used the word right but that's what we say!!). "Don't make me take your debauchery away!"

Not my real kids but they look like this, except still in jammies!
 3. Plan fun outings. We live in the Tampa Bay area so we have so many great things to choose. This summer, we are so excited because we are taking a trip to the MOSI museum. They are having this awesome mummy exhibit and so it's a must see. We usually plan a fun lunch out and maybe even take some friends. This can be expensive so we also plan less expensive outings. One year, a group of us rode the city trolley to a handmade chocolate shop. We called ahead and they allowed our group of kids to take a tour of their kitchens. The kids loved seeing how the chocolate is made and everyone got to pick out a couple of pieces.  We also plan a special kind of "happy hour". We gather on the beach around 4-5ish, you could pick a park if you are not close to a beach, and let the kids play. Then it's not so hot, the parents visit and relax, the kids get to be with their friends, and we all watch a beautiful sunset. We usually plan for Friday nights and this is a great way for the kids to get exercise and then get tired out! If your lucky, your kids will be asked to spend the night at a friend's afterwards and mommy and daddy get a night out!

4. Something else my girls are into these days are cooking. Just like when I was a kid, over summer they are going to cook a meal a week (hopefully they expand their menus a little more than I did because I was obsessed with the Bisquick Impossible Pies - I still love them!!). The girls can find the own recipes, plan the meal, write the grocery shopping list, and actually shop for their items with their own cart. This is a great way to learn to plan a well-balanced meal, see how much things really cost, and just familiarize themselves with a kitchen. The rule in our house is, whoever cooks doesn't have to do the dishes so my husband and I will clean up that night. The girls love to sit on the couch and watch us work!

My kids would never cook with that many veggies though!
5.  Another great summertime activity we do is watch "old" movies. Now let me just let you know, my youngest daughter, came to me over Christmas break a couple of years ago and said she wanted to watch an old-school movie. I get excited thinking maybe "It's a Wonderful Life" or the original "Miracle on 34th Street". I ask what movie so I can get it for her and she replies, "the original High School Musical!" Egads! My husband and I are now trying to correct that. Every summer, we rent movies that every person should see but beware, we were caught off guard by some of the language because we are used to seeing them on TBS. We have watched Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Gremlins, 3 Stooges (my husband's choice), Mr. Mom, Benny and Joon, Edward Scissorhands, The Princess Bride, ET, Karate Kid (both girls like the original better), and so on. While most of these aren't considered classics (LOL!), they are just fun movies! We are currently watching the Rocky series. We are waiting for Rocky IV to arrive. After watching the first Rocky, my youngest replies, "all that and he still loses?" My oldest is now 14 so I have some movies lined up for her - Breakfast Club, The Outsiders, Pretty in Pink and Say Anything. We will also watch Grease and the old and new Footloose. Now if I can just get them to read some of the classics!

6. Another family summer tradition is Christmas in July. We try to shoot for July 25 but it doesn't always work. We turn the A/C down cold, light a fire, put on a Christmas movie and bake Christmas cookies. This is not about gift giving, just creating some family fun time. The girls love it and it's a great way to spend a day.

There are so many great opportunities over the summer. This is when kids get to be kids and so do parents! Now I am off to grab my calendar so I can figure out when my sister is taking my kids for a week (another great week!) and then I get her girls (an even better week!) but that's for another post!

P.S. Those of you who know me also know I have another blog associated with my on-line store, Too Chic Gifts, called "Days of Our Too Chic Lives?". Now I just wrote the above blog for the Too Chic blog but I liked it so much, plus it took a long time to write, I thought I would share it here too - so enjoy, twice!