Thursday, April 28, 2011

A few little projects

I never really knew the power of spray paint until reading Young House Love (my FAVORITE blog). They have a way of transforming a blah thing into a new piece of art with just a can a spray paint. So I thought I'd give it a try with a few things I had around the house. Nothing dramatic, just a little refreshing.

The first is a cardboard oval box that I've had for years. It sits on the top of our dresser and holds lotion, deodorant, and other bottles. It's never matched the room and I've never really cared, but what harm could a little spray paint do?

The next is a picture frame that we've had and not used for awhile. Spray painting frames is not new to me, but I was unsure if I wanted to use this frame for a project. When I took out the glass, it broke - so there was no harm in painting it since I couldn't use it as a picture frame anyway. The center red fabric is covering a cork board. I plan to hang in it the kitchen again.
After, with Rebecca and her bubbles.

The third was a basket that we have used as a "catch all" in our kitchen. It has it's own counter top now that the microwave is above the stove and I thought it would match a little more if it was a different color.

The basket in action.
What do you think? Does a little spray paint help? What is the craziest thing you have ever spray painted?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cream Cheese Dips

Cream cheese is one of my favorite foods and I have loved just about every recipe that I've made using it. Here are two different dips that are so YUMMY and they're even easy enough for your 3 year old to make.

Looking good, Chef Rebecca!

Heath Bar Apple Dip
8 oz. of softened cream cheese
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup of Heath Bar Bits
(You can also use toffee bits, but I prefer Heath bits because they have chocolate on them.)

Blend well with an electric mixer - you might need to supervise your 3 year old with that :)
Enjoy with a freshly sliced apple. This dip makes eating an apple so much more enjoyable!

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Dip
8 oz. of softened cream cheese
1/2 cup softened butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Blend well with an electric mixer - again, you might need to supervise your 3 year old with that :)
This dip is great with graham crackers or vanilla wafers. Enjoy!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Other Easter activities

On the Saturday before Easter we got together with Dan's family to celebrate a birthday and Easter. The highlight for the girls was an egg hunt. Because of the cold wet weather we stayed inside, but they still had a great time and were very protective of their "loot."
Allison, Rebecca, and Jessica.

"Ahh...I love candy."
Last week I saw a fun Spring/Easter snack that I thought I would give a try. Rebecca and I had fun making bird nests with butterscotch chips, Chinese noodles, and jelly bean eggs.

If I ever make these again, I would melt chocolate chips in with the butterscotch chips. It would make the nest a lot darker brown, but a little more tasty.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

"But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. "Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen!" Mark 16:4-6a
Rebecca in her dress ready for church on Easter morning.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cream Soups

I am going to try and be a more consistent blogger. To help me with that, I am going to give myself certain days to post certain topics. I chose Tuesdays to be a recipe day. Every Tuesday (sometime before mid-night) I will post about a recipe - one I want to try or an old favorite. Hope you enjoy.

In my attempt to be healthier, I am going to commit to no longer buying cream soups. I still plan on using the dozen or so I have in the pantry, but NO MORE buying cream soups, no matter the sale price! There's no getting around the ease of using them in so many tasty dishes, but they are easy enough to make and I can control what goes into them. I found a good and simple recipe at Finding Joy in My Kitchen and HERE is her post about cream soups.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Makes approximately 1 can
1 can (4oz) of mushrooms, drained (may use fresh as well)
1/2 C finely diced onions (I use minced)
1/2 C chicken broth
1/2 C milk
1 T cornstarch
salt and pepper, to taste
In a saucepan, saute onions with mushrooms in 1 T oil or butter (I omit if using a non-stick pan) until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes). Add chicken broth and heat to boiling. Mix 1/2 c milk with cornstarch until well mixed, and add to the boiling mixture, stirring frequently until thick (about 1 minute). Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Cream of Chicken Soup

Makes approximately 1 can
1 C chicken broth
1/2 C finely diced onions (I use minced)
1/2 C milk
1 T cornstarch

In a saucepan, bring chicken broth and onions to a boil. Mix 1/2 c milk with cornstarch until well mixed, and add to the boiling mixture, stirring frequently until thick (about 1 minute). Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Have you tried making your own cream soups? What is your favorite recipe? Please share!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Final Kitchen Reveal

Can you believe it? Our kitchen is done!!

Here is a flash back to what it looked like 6 months ago:

And here is our kitchen today:



We love the new storage bench to hold all Rebecca's art supplies.

Entry way from the garage with its new coat hooks.

Dining table and a good look at the new floor. Sorry for the window glare!
So there it is! We did all the work ourselves except installing the new counter top. The new appliances are Whirlpool and we found the best deal for them at Sears. The flooring was from Lowes. The new hardware on the cabinets was from Menards and the hinges were from Lowes. It would be great to give a break down of everything that we did, but honestly I don't want to know how much the total cost was :) What I do know is that we love the results and saved a lot by doing the work ourselves and painting the cabinets rather than getting new.

Just like when we finished our basement, we learned a lot of lessons while working on the kitchen. I'd say, "If we ever had to do this again we would do a few things differently." But honestly, who would want to do that again!? I hope if there is a next house for our family it is perfectly done - by someone else!

Linked up with Thirfty Decor Chick's Before and After Party!

Linked up with Remondelaholic:

As a side note: If you are a regular reader of this blog - THANK YOU and please consider becoming a "follower" in the right hand side of the blog. All that will appears is your tiny google id picture and it will boost my ego a little if I have more than 3 followers!  THANKS!     -Sarah

Saturday, April 9, 2011

a day in the life...

Just a day in the life of a farm family. Dan was working on building a new hay wagon. We all enjoyed the beautiful weather and I had fun trying new settings on the camera. Hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A little shelf, A big improvement

I did a little update/finishing of the entry way from the garage that I started HERE. I liked how it turned out in both function and style, but it needed a little more. When I originally bought the moldings, I tried a lot of different pieces to create a little shelf on the top, but nothing worked right. As with most creative projects, I put it on the back burner until I was ready to tackle it again. A few days ago I was in to mood to have a go at "building a little shelf" and headed to Menards and found the pieces I needed. I picked up a 1x2 inch piece of pine and a 1/2 inch piece of quarter round. Simple, I know.

Here is the coat hook moldings before.

Here are the two new pieces are added to the top and there's painter's tape around it ready to be primed and painted.

And here is the final shot sporting some art work by our very own in house artist, Rebecca.

I love it and it's not far off from my inspiration picture found HERE.

Sesame Chicken - Yum!

Sesame Chicken is one of my favorite Chinese dishes to order (Dan and Rebecca are fans too). So when I saw an easy recipe for it HERE, I thought I would give it a try. I knew that it wouldn't be just like the takeout, but if the taste was good and it's even slightly more HEALTHY, I thought it would be a good alternative.
Verdict: it's a keeper! I steamed broccoli instead of green beans and used white rice because I didn't have any brown on hand. Overall everyone liked it, but honestly, it could never replace takeout altogether :)