Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My $13 Chalkboard Makeover!

Let me start by saying that this weekend's chicken spaghetti was fabulous! The Pioneer Woman's first recipe was a success!

In addition to eating lots this weekend, I also spent some time on a fun project.

I successfully turned a picture frame from this

into this!

I told you in my last post that I wanted to add color to our white kitchen. I have also been wanting a chalkboard for our back wall, so I decided to be a little crafty and make one myself for $13.08! Before you say, "How could you be so unsentimental and turn your wedding guestbook frame into a chalkboard?" Just let me explain. I do confess, I'm not the most sentimental girl (my dirty wedding dress is still in a box in an attic), and the wedding frame was just sitting in our guest bedroom closet anyway. I kept the signatures and wedding picture in tact to preserve memories of our wedding, but the frame is now serving a much better purpose for the time being.

The total cost of the project included the primer, lime green paint, and chalkboard paint. I used the steel wool I already had to rough up the frame before painting.

I primed the glass and the frame. Michael doubted that I could turn glass into a chalkboard, but you can do just about anything with a can of spray paint these days!

After two coats of green paint on the frame and four coats of chalkboard paint, I let the frame and glass dry over night. I carefully re-fit the glass into the frame so it wouldn't break and then seasoned the chalkboard. I learned from other blogs and the back of the chalkboard spray paint can that you have to "season" the chalkboard before using. Simply put, you rub the chalk up and down the chalkboard to cover it and then erase before using.

My new chalkboard will go on the back wall of our kitchen. For now, it's just sitting on the floor because I plan to paint the kitchen in a few weeks. No use putting holes in the wall I guess!

I'm very proud of my new little creation, and it was very easy to do. You can turn almost any flat surface into a chalkboard, and if you have kids, this is a great project to do. For me, I just like kitchen chalkboards!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cooking & Decluttering

YUM! YUM! Look what I get to eat tonight! Michael, the greatest husband ever, who cooked me breakfast this morning and hung out with me today at HomeGoods, Home Depot, and Bed Bath and Beyond, has officially kicked off our tour of The Pioneer Woman Cookbook with her chicken spaghetti.

This recipe could feed a family of eight, and it looks like we are going to be eating this for lunch and dinner tomorrow before freezing the rest, but it smells and looks so good! I am so excited and can't wait for it to be out of the oven in just a few minutes.

Most of her recipes are cooked in an iron skillet. I bought one on Friday (you should have seen me trying to lug that heavy thing to my car), and I can't wait to try it out. If you haven't, go get her book! Try a used bookstore like I did, and get it for a steal. I promise it is money well spent! I guess I should probably tell you that after I've tried the first recipe. Whoops!

This is my favorite part of her book. She has pictures of every step of the recipe. It's awesome, and every cook should do this in my opinion.

Here is Michael cutting up the chicken, and of course our little Sweet Pea is right under him hoping a few scraps will fall her way. On a different note, do you see how white our kitchen is? It drives me crazy!!! Our entire apartment is white, I mean everything! I am slowly working on it, and luckily we get to paint. Michael promised me we will paint before football season starts. I also started a fun project today that will add some more color in the kitchen. I will post that very soon, I promise!

In addition to my fun kitchen project, I also worked on a few decluttering projects too. I hate clutter. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it. Moving from a large home to a two bedroom apartment has been great in so many ways, but some spaces are cramped. Especially my closet that I now share with Michael. My mission was to go through my shoes, belts, purses, and jewelry, and I decided to donate what I haven't used in several months. Most of the things I donated haven't been used in years. Why in the world have I been keeping this stuff?

You can see Scarlett snoozing in the background of this picture. She looks thrilled doesn't she? I had a real mess on my hands, but I love decluttering. It makes me discover new treasures I forgot I had, it makes me feel good to donate nice things to people who can snag up great deals, and it relieves stress. I am a firm believer that living more simply relieves so much stress in life. After spending hours organizing and decluttering today, there is no way I want to have a cluttered life that forces me to do this several times a year. I can't really pinpoint the exact cause, but there is something about living with so much stuff that makes you feel like your drowning.

The bigger issue is learning not to buy new stuff to replace the stuff that you give away. There is a reason I gave away all those shoes. Its' probably best that I find a few great pairs of shoes and wear them out instead of buying 10 pairs of cheap shoes that just sit in my closet. Old habits die hard, but I want to learn to buy with more intention and really think "Do I really need this?" Besides, saving on clothes I don't wear will probably give us more money to buy groceries for our Pioneer Cooking Adventures!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I love Weekends!

Thanks to my wonderful hubby, I finally got the kinks worked out between my camera card and our computer. Though we are now closer to the upcoming weekend, I guess it's never too late to blog about last weekend. We were blessed with another great few days last weekend, and we were once again very busy. On Friday, we stayed in and made homemade fish tacos before watching Michael's movie pick for the evening Hall Pass, which turned out to be very hilarious. We got up early on Saturday and headed to the Dream Center to participate in our church's annual Serve Day. We cooked lunch for all of the Woodlawn Community and volunteers, and I participated in a prayer walk through one of the Woodlawn neighborhoods. I admit that sometimes I just want to sleep in rather than get up on a Saturday to volunteer, but every time Michael and I leave Woodlawn, I feel so blessed and much closer to God. I am so grateful for our church and the opportunity to grow and serve.

On Saturday afternoon, we took Scarlett swimming in the creek that runs right behind our apartment. So...Scarlett is almost four years old, and though she has always loved water, she has always hated swimming. Because she is a spaniel, I never imagined it would be so hard to get her to swim, but I think she gets scared when she can't touch and can find no way out of the water. We have tried and failed several times to get her to swim over the years, and then something miraculous happened. I guess the creek is the perfect length from bank to bank, and the other day she walked right in and decided to swim to the other side! We were shocked and so excited just like she was our baby who walked for the first time!!! I've been obsessed with taking her swimming ever since, and she loves it!

Here she goes!

She had so much fun, but she still looks terrified! Ha!

Her daddy was there to help her find a way out. Once he showed her how to get out on the rocks, she kept swimming back and forth. I can only imagine how many times she would have swam from me to Michael if we had treats!

Scarlett swam for about an hour then we walked home and got ready to go bowling with our friends. It has been years since I bowled, and I started off well but slowly got worse by game three. All that really matters is that I beat Michael two games to one, so I went home happy!

Me, Nicole, Jamie and Baby Eli who was so good the whole time.

He's all smiles before getting beat!

By our last game, the lights were turned off and the black lights came on. This is Nicole bowling her last game, and she absolutely kicked our butts! She called it luck, but it looked like more than luck to me. Maybe you should join a league Nicole! :)

Here's Eli in his glowing blanket. He slept most of the night and didn't seem bothered by the loud music and all the people. He is such a great baby!

On Sunday, I continued on my quest toward decluttering, which is another blog post in itself. We hung around the house all day and relaxed after a busy Saturday. I am so grateful for another amazing weekend!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Technical Difficulties

Ughhhh! Don't you just hate computers sometimes? I have been trying to post a new blog and pictures about our weekend, and my camera card will not cooperate with our dinosaur computer! Here I am last week saying how much more I am going to blog, and I am not delivering. Hopefully I will get these technical difficulties worked out soon because we had a great weekend. I want to share our exciting news: our little spaniel actually likes to swim!

Details soon...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Is it only Wednesday?

Welcome to the loooooongest week ever! Today feels like Friday, but oh wait, it's only Wednesday. Boo! Though it's been a long one, there have been a few bright spots this week. I started trying out some new recipes, and I am at best 2 out of 3. I made some kick a** risotto on Monday (my best ever), which was delish, but last night's garlic chicken dinner and tonight's roast beef sandwiches need a little tweaking. But, hey, I cooked and that's what counts. Michael loves me for it.

Other bright spots this week include being able to work from home yesterday and spend some time with my Scar Scar. We didn't do anything too exciting. Actually, all she did was this....

I don't even think she cared I was home!

Michael and I met each other for a lunch date, which was nice. We rarely talk during the day while we are at work, so actually seeing each other is a rare treat.

After I met Michael, I came home and parked myself on the couch. Before I knew it, I was sitting in front of the tv watching daytime talk shows and chowing down on a bag of these.

Meet my weakness! When my mom was here last week, she surprised me with these after she went out shopping. Though I love her for it, I could kill her too! I should know by now not to eat Salt and Vinegar chips unless Michael is home and can pry them out of my hands. Oh well...it was a special occasion :)!

I also fell in love with our new DVR this week. When we moved, we gave up HBO and opted for the DVR instead. I have been missing out for so long! I started recording The Doctors, The Talk, and Big Brother. I like being able to come home and watch good shows rather than the news, which has been so freaking depressing lately.

And I almost forgot...I started going to the gym today. I pray that I will actually keep it up this time. I need it for my sanity and health. I am planning to get up and go in the mornings before work because I know I won't go on my way home from work and certainly won't go once I am at home. I have to get used to getting up early in the mornings, but I really want to be more disciplined and get up because it makes me feel better the rest of the day.

Only two more days are left, and then we have the weekend. I hope the next two days go by much faster!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Move...and Life After

I am so sorry about the long blog hiatus, but this boy and girl have been super busy!!! We finally made the big move after three weeks of worrying over whether we were finally going to sell the house. And it went fast! We closed on the house at 4:00 pm on June 30, I began packing and giving furniture away on Friday around noon, and we moved into our new place on Saturday July 2. It was a big move to do so quickly, but it was really great to have friends and family help us out. We now live in a cozy two bedroom apartment in a great location in Vestavia Hills, and I couldn't be happier. I love our new place because we have the best neighbors, tons of walking trails right outside our door, and a little village in front of our place where we can shop, go out to eat, and go work out all within walking distance. It's going to take some time and organization to get used to the white walls and smaller space, but that will give me a few projects to take on. I love projects!!!

After only working three days this week, I was still so exausted on Friday. I got home and organized the rest of my stuff I wanted to drop off at The Salvation Army. I think we were in bed by 10 pm, so I didn't get as much accomplished as I wanted to.

Yesterday, we finally finished putting everything away and donated the rest of our things. I had a huge box of books we took to the used book store, and I ended up with $9.33 in book credit. I spent it right away on a new treasure!

I love The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond! Wife, mom, blogger, cook, and photographer, Ree has an amazing love story with her husband, and she has a beautiful blog that lets you into her great little life. When I spotted her cookbook on the shelf, I had to have it! The neatest part of her cookbook is that she provides step-by-step directions for her recipes. That's exactly what I need. Her homemade recipes are Wild West meets Prairie meets Cosmopolitan California. They are hearty yet healthy, and I was happy when Michael looked through the book and seemed happy about my new purchase!

Today, we got up early again to watch church online and clean the house before heading to our friends' Chris and Nicole's home for our first ever "Backyard Olympics." The guys have been planning a field day of sorts for a while, and it finally happened today...with a little backyard redneck twist! I joined in the games, but I left my redneck attire at home. Michael...not so much!

It's a wonder that some other lady didn't snatch him up this afternoon after seeing those sexy legs!

And the trucker hat!

The backyard Olympics consisted of ladder ball, horse shoes, baggo, and the egg toss. The eggs must have been mutant because they would not break even after being dropped, so the guys finally came out to the front yard and tossed the eggs in the street for the final game.

The Backyard Olympians!

Now that we are all moved in and life is settling down, I hope to have more fun topics and events to blog about. I am looking forward to less stress and more fun. I am pretty sure that life post-move is going to be much better!