Tuesday, November 24, 2009

You must make these

I thought I might want to make these for Thanksgiving, so I did a test batch, and Mark and I ate them so fast I didn't even get a picture of them. Trust me, they are delicious! They only take 5 minutes to assemble and 30 minutes in the oven.

Scallion and Cheddar Popovers (makes 8)

1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 scallions, chopped

1. Coat 8 cups of a muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Heat oven to 450 degrees.

2. In bowl, whisk together flour and salt. In second bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Add to flour mixture; stir just until blended. Fold in cheese and scallions.

3. Fill prepared cups about 3/4 full. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 350 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes. Keep oven closed for full baking time or popovers will deflate.

4. Remove from oven and immediately remove from pan. Serve warm.

5. Attempt to eat all 8 until your husband comes in and demands you share.

Recipe via Family Circle.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dare to Entertain

Dare to DIY

The Week 2 challenge of the Dare to DIY blog party over at NewlyWoodwards was to do a table setting.

We are hosting Thanksgiving this year, so I did a Thanksgiving table, but let me be honest here...the actual table won't look much like the following pictures. For one thing, we will be 9 people, not 4, so we tack on a long folding table that is a couple of inches taller than our dining table, and then I have to use a second tablecloth which doesn't match the other. Not exactly glamorous, but it's what we do.

But for my imaginary Thanksgiving table for four, I started knowing I wanted to use these little wicker pumpkins I bought years ago at Michael's after Halloween for 50 cents. Excuse the Bean toes. He's such a camera hog!

I thought they would make cute individual flower arrangements at each place setting. Luckily, a little votive holder fits perfectly inside to hold the water.

I used gold chargers (even though the glare off it from the above pic makes it look white), green dinner plates, white salad plates, bronze-y napkins that match the tablecloth, and cute metal leaf napkin rings that my mom bought us this year. I guess if we were really fancy, we'd have gold flatware to match, but we don't have gold flatware, nor do I foresee buying any ever. So good old silver it was.

For the centerpiece I started with an old round mirror we aren't using that has a goldy-silver frame. On top of it I stacked a set of 3 glass cake stands that I filled with fake leaves, real mini pumpkins and gourds and baby artichokes, pinecones, and votives candles. And I stuck a little glittery brown bird that we had from our wedding on top.

If I were actually using this on Thanksgiving, I would remove it just before eating so everyone could see each other and, most importantly, to make room for food! Nothing gets between us and our stuffing in my family. I would also iron the tablecloth, which I did not do before these pictures, but I will do before Thanksgiving. And if I'm being totally honest, there was one really huge wrinkle that I Photoshopped out. Have I mentioned how lazy I am?
Again for this challenge I used what I had. The only things I bought were the fresh flowers and baby artichokes.

Now go on over to NewlyWoodwards and see the tables created by all the other wonderful ladies!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Just a quick post to express my complete disbelief (and utter gratitude!) that the fabulous website How Does She featured my pinecone turkey place card in a post about place card ideas! I always figure that it's pretty much my parents and a few friends who see my blog, so to be mentioned by other blogs is so shocking and beyond exciting.

Go check it out, and take a look around. There are tons of great ideas for taking care of home and family.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The weekend was...

A delightful pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinner for friends hosted by one of my BFFs. We got to catch up before all the holiday hubbub gets into full swing. And it's always fun to hang out with her two little monkeys.

Everyone made something delicious, and I brought stuffing. Or dressing, whatever. I call it stuffing even though it's never put inside of a turkey. It's hands down my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner. I bow down to carbs, and I've got the stomach to prove it.

I used this recipe from Ina Garten. It had me at "sausage." Ina never disappoints.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dare to DIY...Be Thankful

Dare to DIY

I'm so excited because it's Week 1 of Kim at NewlyWoodwards Dare to DIY Blog Party! The challenge for this first week was to make a Thanksgiving-themed craft. Anything related to Thanksgiving. Anything at all. Hmmm.

In thinking of what I might do, I first decided that I wouldn't spend a penny on this challenge. Bad economy, gotta be responsible, blah, blah, blah. Luckily, since I like to craft now and then, I have a lot of craft supplies on hand. So I pulled out some of my stuff to see what I could put together.

I had seen some pretty Fall-ish votive holders somewhere (possibly ZGallerie) that were $6 each. They sort of resembled mercury glass, but painted an orangey-gold. I had clear votives and little tubes of craft paint, so I made some for free!

I painted the outside of the votives orange first, then went over them with a bronze paint. I used only a little paint so that you would see the texture when the candles were lit, like the ones in the store. Then I sprinkled a little bronze glitter on them while they were wet, because when is something not made better with glitter? This is them alone:

Then I decided to glam one up a bit with a jewelry bead and some glittery string I had:

Then I found some of these mini vine wreaths I had stashed in a drawer:

So I clipped some bits off of different garlands I had and stuck them in. I didn't even use any glue because I didn't want it to be permanent:

Cute, but the more I looked at it, the uglier that little pumpkin became. So I sought the help of my old friend, glitter.

Ah, much better.

Then I found some pinecones in one of my craft drawers and I had a stroke of genius. I would make a pinecone look like a turkey, and use it as a place card for the table! Had no one else ever thought of this? Why haven't I ever seen it before? Man, I'm clever and original, I thought.

Until I googled "pinecone turkey" and saw page after page of them. So with ego fully checked, I give you my version of this not-so-original craft:

Pretty self-explanatory. Pinecone, feathers, bead eyes, and felt.

Week 1 was fun, and now I'm off to see what everyone else has done, and start planning for next week's challenge!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Go ahead and judge

I have a shameful secret. I put up our artficial Christmas tree last night.

I can already hear the outrage, but let me tell you my rationalization.

We're having two trees this year. The smallish fake one from our old house, and we're getting a real larger one this year since we have the space now. I've decorated the fake one in colors to match our living room, and it will be in a corner near the entryway. The real one will be more prominent in the living room, and have our usual ornaments that we've collected over the years.

Anyway, I digress. The reason I'm telling myself I've put up the fake one so soon is that we're having a holiday party just 10 days after Thanksgiving, and with the seasonal job in addition to my regular one, there simply won't be enough time to put both trees up, do the other decorations, shop, and cook. That sounds reasonable, right? No? (Crickets chirping)

Thankfully I have a husband that supports my insanity (or at least he's learned not to fight it), and he helped me. I would say he's pretty perfect, but he wears shirts like this:

Here's a sneak peek:

I'll let you enjoy your Thanksgiving before I bombard you with any more Christmas stuff.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I'm in trouble

In addition to my regular part-time job, I just started a seasonal job at Crate and Barrel. It's one of my favorite stores on Earth, and where we registered for 90% of our wedding gifts. When I heard the discount for seasonal employees is 30%, I thought "I can do that for six weeks!"

Not wanting to waste that discount, these are just some of the things I have my eye on.

Possibly the cutest ornaments ever. Felt owls and little squirrels (which are already close to selling out. I better hurry!):

The picture of these snowflake mercury glass votives doesn't do them justice. They're so beautiful in person:

We watched a video about these wineglasses. They're handblown and it takes 20 people to make one! The $6.95 each price doesn't seem so bad once you know that.

While we're on the topic of booze, look at this pretty, pretty ice bucket. I think this one is a must-have for me:

I seem to have a thing for cream and sugar sets. I have about 5 now. I guess I'm unintentionally collecting them. Cute cream and sugar set:Olive oil cruet (love that shade of green!):

Recycled glass jars:

This hurricane is throughout the store with all different types of filler around the candles, like pine boughs, pinecones, cranberries, etc. There are a million uses for this one piece:

I need this decorative bowl:

I've been looking for a fireplace screen, and this is truly the nicest one I've seen. I don't like a huge pattern on there-I want to see the fire. This one is unfussy and timeless:

Geez, apparently I'm obsessed with lamps:

That's not nearly all of it! I swear I'm not going to be buying everything. This is still a recession, and with the new house we're pretty much broke as a joke. But, um, it's not looking like many of my paychecks are gonna be making it out of the store alive.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dining Room Update

Last time I posted about the dining room it looked like this:

But with the in laws coming to stay with us last weekend, I had to kick it into high gear and empty all those boxes onto the shelves. I'm sure there will be lots of tweaking (and of course seasonal changes!), but here are the shelves now:

The sliding door between the shelves leads to what will someday be our rec room complete with pool table and bar. Right now it's our "wreck" room, complete with piles of garbage, good stuff that won't have a home until further remodeling, and crap that may never have a home since we gained house square footage in our move but majorly downsized the garage.

And the whole dining room currently:

We didn't continue the wainscoting around to the wall on the right because we plan to widen that doorway to the kitchen when we do the kitchen remodel.

Things left to do in the dining room:

  • Hang a curtain rod and curtain panels above the sliding door before Thanksgiving. This view doesn't scream "relaxing meal":

  • Upgrade the dining set. That's Mark's bachelor table and chairs, and while it serves its purpose, it's a completely different style than the rest of the room. I have what I want in mind and as soon as we can afford it, I'll be doing a switcheroo.
  • Maybe an area rug, but I don't know how I feel about a rug under the dining table. When I think of spills and crummies and another thing to vacuum, it seems like an easy no. But then again, when I'm sitting on the couch watching tv, I'll sometimes see a beach ball-sized dust bunny tumbleweed blow by under there and that's not really appealing either.

I ask you, area rugs under dining tables: yay or nay?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ready for the inlaws

Guest room before:

Guest room today:
There's more to be done. We still need artwork on the walls and once I get a nice chair I'll show you the other side of the room. There's a very hideous temporary chair in there now. But, it's done enough to accommodate guests pretty comfortably. It's way nicer than the master right now.
By the way, does anyone know how to put a duvet into a duvet cover? This is how we (well, Mark) did it:

Seriously! There has to be an easier way. Share your wisdom so we don't have this every time we wash that thing.
Happy weekend!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

DIY Partay!

Dare to DIY

So when I got an email from Kim at NewlyWoodwards, asking me to participate in her holiday Dare to DIY blog party, you could say I was excited. I *may* have run a circle around my desk. She's one of my very favorite bloggers due to her mad creativity and organizational skills. She makes a list of goals every month and actually accomplishes most of them. Imagine! I'm thrilled if I can get a load of laundry done in any given week. And yet she asked me to join in. Pinch me.

Every week of the holiday season, beginning Monday, November 16th, there will be a different DIY challenge to complete and share on the blog. Then we will link to our posts on Kim's blog. We're encouraged to check out each other's posts and comment. It's a great way to get to know each other better in blog land and get loads of creative inspiration as well. Pretty awesome idea, isn't it?

The weekly challenges are:

Party Date: Monday, Nov. 16
Dare to… be thankful!
Take some time making your own DIY Thanksgiving project. It could be a fun Thanksgiving advent calendar, a banner or something completely unique. Post about what you made, how you made it and photos in its new home.

Party Date: Monday, Nov. 23
Dare to… entertain!
Show us your table! If you are not hosting Thanksgiving, take this opportunity to make your table look great. Bring out your dishes and napkins and set your table. I promise you that it will make you smile every time you walk by. Get creative and use new things. Or go true DIY and make something totally new.

Party Date: Monday, Nov. 30
Dare to… eat cookies!
As we begin to attend holiday parties, share your favorite cookie recipe for all to enjoy. It’s like a digital cookie swap. Share the recipe and a review of the cookie. If you can, add a picture. And don't worry about the extra calories. At Christmas, cookies are calorie-free.

Party Date: Monday, Dec. 7
Dare to… give homemade gifts!
Nothing is more special than a gift made by you. Try out something new to give this year - ideas include bath and body items, kitchen gifts, hand-sewn clothing or home decor.

Party Date: Monday, Dec. 14
Dare to… deck the halls!
Make something new to deck your halls. Did you find something in a catalog that you wish you had? Wreaths, stockings, pillows or advent calendars? Make it! Inspire us all to do the same.

Party Date: Monday, Dec. 21
Dare to… have traditions!
Everyone has traditions for the Holidays. Tell us all about your favorites or start a new tradition to share.

And this is open to anyone. If you've got a blog and want to participate, please do. The more, the merrier! Just hop on over to NewlyWoodwards to include a link to your corresponding DIY posts. I can't wait to see everyone's creative ideas. Now I better get to making something Thanksgivingy for the first challenge...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Buried in stuff

I had a different post planned for today, but I got into something last night, and it's taken over the house. So I thought I'd show you the mess I've created.

Yesterday I thought I would start filling up the shelves in our dining room. How hard could that be, right?

First let me show you the sort-of before pictures of the room. We had already put up test swatches of paint and started fixing cracks:

Now here's the "during" picture. I spent 6 hours (!) trying to put things in the shelves and this is what it looks like this morning:

How am I doing? :)

This shouldn't be this hard, but there are things to consider. Since it's open shelving, it needs to look attractive. But it also needs to be practical since it's primary function is storage, so it needs to contain things we will use regularly. And there's only so much space, so I have to maybe not use some pieces I'd like to, and I'm not good at editing.

I will post "after" pictures if we ever get to the after. I better do something quick though because we have Mark's dad and stepmom staying with us this weekend.