July 25, 2010

Summer Cleaning!

While Saturday was a near perfect day, I scrapbooked all day and finished up a book I was reading, Sunday I decided to get at least one thing done on my to do list. And that one thing was cleaning out our pantries and cupboards! Yes you saw that right...plural on the pantries. Our condo does not have much cupboard space for us and we are just dying without a real pantry! My big plan was to rearrange our cupboards and use only one of our extra "pantry" spaces. Now these spaces are literally a organizer hung over the back of our downstairs closet and on the shelves in our laundry room! I hate it!!

I first took everything out of our cupboards and our "pantries"....Our dining room table was COVERED in food items!

Then I took out everything from the cupboards in the kitchen....

With no room left on the table all of my baking items were left on our counters!

Then I got to organizing. I first decided how I wanted food arranged....and now check out our beautifully organized cupboards. And I am happy to say most of the food items are actually in the kitchen now WOO HOO!!
This is our breakfast items and lunch items/snack items cupboard! Yes that's a bottle of wine...it may not belong but I was planning on drinking it that night!
This is the boxed food items and our drinks cupboard! A little random but we needed a separate space for our coffee and teas :-)

And of course I couldn't fit everything into our kitchen so I decided ALL baking items were to go in the laundry room :-( I really wish we had a better place and eventually we will (in our next house) but this works for now. It makes sense to put all the baking stuff in one spot and then I am happy to say the rest of the items all are now residing in our kitchen where they belong!

And after...doesn't my kitchen look pretty? I was so happy to get it all cleaned up after making a mess...

And of course now we could see our dining room table again LOL!

I was so ready to relax after reorganizing and cleaning....so what did I do? I sat down and watched Leap Year and cuddled with the puppies...then after the movie I read Wicked for a bit. Overall I had a great weekend.....probably because I didn't leave the house once (Aside from taking the dogs out) and I got to scrapbook, read, and organize...3 of my favorite things :-) I hope everyone else had a GREAT WEEKEND!

July 24, 2010

Potato Peel Pie

I finished another book yesterday and this one was so cute that I couldn't put it down and finished it in two days. That's right I started it Friday Night and sat down to finish it last night. Granted it's by no means a long book but you get wrapped up in these people's lives. It's funny I was telling Chuck last night I was a little sad that it was over because there will never be anymore knowledge about these people's lives....his response "Well yeah cause they were never real people"...What to do with those non-readers....but yes I was slightly saddened because I really loved every character in this book.

This book is a collection of letters...which I can tell you I was skeptical about. I tend to prefer books that give you backgrounds and really set the scene early on in the book. With letters you get thrown into these lives and have to give it a fair shot to get to the heart of the story....This book is worth giving a shot. The letters are cute and characters are quirky. It takes place after World War 2 and it tells the trials and triumphets of the island of Guernsey...I can gurantee you will fall in love with these people and you too will be saddened when the letters cease and you must start a new book....
Because I just couldn't take a break last night I started another book :-) Yes another one. I figured I had plenty of time to read one, if not two more books before I should start my next book club book and the book I chose.....Wicked by Gregory Maguire. Now I've heard this book is a "hard" read and so far its so-so. I think what might kill it for me is that last year my family and I went to see the musical Wicked....can this book really be as good as that? I doubt it because I won't be singing this book in my mind haha....Wish me luck to get through it!

July 22, 2010


Remember when you were younger and they gave out awards for school achievements and sports? .......What happened? Just because you grow up you aren't supposed to get awards? I know I know some people grow up and win many awards as an adult...I am not one of those people!

So I was so EXCITED to get another award for my blog! Looks like my rambling thoughts and randomness of topics is liked :-) Thank you to Amanda over at I Am Panda for giving me this award!

BTW I love the color of the award! Green is the best!
Now they are always rules to these awards and I promise to abide by those:
The requirements after winning the award are to list 7 things about myself
& then pass the award on to some new blogs that I've discovered.
First 7 Things About Little Old Me:
1. I am obssessed with school supplies. I love when stores put out back to school items and I usually spend about $50 a year on school supplies when I have no need or reason.
2. I love baking and cooking...you probably couldn't tell by my blog (*insert sarcasm*)
3. Washing dishes by hand is theraputic for me....so is vacumning!
4. If I could afford it I would love to buy fresh flowers every single week and have at least 3 bouqets of them at home and one at the office...I need to find a florist to make my best friend haha!
5. My pets are my kids. Roxy is the perfect little princess (yeah right), Buster is my big protector, and Belle & Jasmine (our kitties) are just house decorations LOL. They just have to look pretty and be soft!
6. I have discovered a love for refinishing furniture. It really does bring me joy. I will be sad when I finish our dining room table because I'll be out of furniture to refinish :-(
7. I would die if I couldn't ever do arts and crafts or scrapbooking ever again. I find myself to be the happiest when I am hanging out in my scrapbook room and working on a layout, sewing, or creating something fun and new!
Now onto the best part of this award, recognizing other awesome blogs! Now I don't have any that I've discovered recently but I do have some AMAZING blogs that I love:
1. Tara over at : We Do Not Remember Days, We Remember Moments Maybe it's because we are about the same age and enjoy the same things but I just love her blog. You get to see her show off all her craftiness but you also see how much she loves her family. And her and her hubby are starting off on a new journey, Parenthood!!
2. This is actually a newly discovered blog and I can't get enough of it. Maggie over at Cookie 365 is so inspiring. I always want to go home and make cookies after I read a new post but what recipe to try? She has amazing and different recipes for cookies that will make you drool.
3. And because I have to give a shout out to an amazing blog about my home "county"...Kristofor and Laura over at We Love Sonoma County do an amzing job of highlighting all the neat things to do in our area. It's a nice reminder for me because we plan on moving out of state in a few years.
There you have it folks! Now go check out all the amazing blogs I follow! All of them deserve an award, otherwise why would I be following them ;-)

Next Please.....

I am sad to say that I've taken a book off my to read list. I tried to get into this one but no go. I guess I couldn't wrap my head around all the "Green" and "Do Gooding" in it. I know that sounds horrible doesn't it? It's not that I'm cold hearted and don't care about the environment. I really do I just don't want to read about it in a novel that is supposed to be fun. Don't we read and see enough about the problems with the environment in the news. Plus as far as "Do Gooding" I just can't get behind that in a novel. I want the characters to be a little more realistic.

Sorry Gemma Townley but this one is a fail in my book. Maybe next time....

Appliances Made My Day

Last night Chuck and I went to our local Best Buy. We were looking for any new electronics? No we were buying new APPLIANCES! And to be honest it was the highlight of my week so far! I can't tell you how excited I was to get off work and go get our new VACUMN and TOASTER!! Oh yes I was EXCITED!!

We'd finally killed the hand me down vacumn my parents had given us and decided we needed to get a pet specific one. Even though we now have all of our floors done I still wanted something that was designed specifically for picking up pet hair and eliminating pet odor. Now I can sit here and say all I want that our house doesn't smell like pets, truth of the matter I'm sure to an outsider our place probably does. I'm not talking a nasty stench but we do have 4 pets and even though we have amazing plug ins at times our house probably smells of dogs!

Here are our new housemates: A Beautiful Oster 2-Slice Toaster and a Eureka Pet Expert Vacumn! Aren't they lovely?

Now let me fill you in on why we needed a new toaster. We'd been suffering the past few years with an old toaster I had. I bought it in a package which came with the toaster, electric can opener, and coffee maker. Needless to say the toaster was the only survivor member of the trio. And it was a PITA!! (Pain in the ass) You could only toast 2 slices of bread and maybe an hour later toast another 2. And you had to really push the handle down and pray to the toaster gods that it would stay down! Half the time the toast was never really toasted but because it was stubborn you couldn't re-toast it. UGH!! The saddest part is Chuck and I hardly ever remembered to pick one up while we were out and about at Target, Walmart, KMart, etc.

But the day finally came and we picked up this cute little thing last night! Bonus - only $20 WOOHOO!
Of course we had to take it out of the box immediatly. Notice - the vacumn stayed in the box LOL, Guess I'll be trying that out this weekend!

And of course we had to try it out. Even though Chuck was making dinner (the wonderful recipe: Tex Mex Meatball Pie) we just had to try out the new toaster!

Oh did I forget to mention that it has settings. Oh yes real settings, Toast, Bagel and Frozen! I was so excited that it had a bagel setting cause that meant my bagels would fit no problem YAY!

Toasted to perfection! We were in love!

Farewell Old Toaster....You will not be missed!

Anyone else ever get super excited over household appliances??

What To Do With Chicken This Week!

I have discovered an amazingly simple and delicious recipe for chicken! Now I'm not a big lover of chicken so I am constantly trying out new chicken recipes to make it tasty for me! The most recent one is a Bruschetta Chicken Bake! It was so easy to put together and we had all the ingredients! Which is a big plus in my house cause I get so tired of the grocery store!

All you need is a box of chicken stuffing, mozzarella cheese, water, diced tomatoes, basil, a little garlic powder (optional) and of course some chicken!

First you mix together the stuffing, water, and the can of diced tomatoes, do not drain the tomatoes cause you need the juice!

Then spread it evenly in a 13 x 9 pan, place the chicken on top of the stuffing mixture, the top the chicken with basil and garlic powder (if you want) and then cover with some mozzarella cheese!!

Pop it into the oven at 400 degrees for about 30-40 minutes! And voila!

Doesn't the browned cheese just look so yummy! I was stoked that this looked so good and was anxious to chow down. But you will want to let it cool for about 5-10 minutes. It is extremely hot!

While I was waiting I cooked up some carrots and warmed some rolls! And then enjoyed this delicious meal!

Now I was just cooking for one so I only put one piece of chicken on there and trust me I didn't eat all that food on my plate haha. But I ended up only eating half the piece of chicekn because with the stuffing it's a pretty heavy meal. This will be a great fall/winter meal! Enjoy!!
Get the recipe here.

July 16, 2010

Imaginary Friends

I am plowing through my reading list lately. Not only did I finish my Book Club book and the Fixer Upper but last night I finished another book. Awhile back (like Months and Months) while I was in KMart I had browsed through the book section, because lets face it they have cheap books! Anywho I came across a book by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet titled Sundays at Tiffany's. After reading the summary I knew I wanted to read it. Since I didn't have time then to read it I passed it along to my Mom as I knew she'd have it read in a day and it sounded like she'd be interested. Well ladies and gentlemen I finally had time and I finished it last night. Yes it was a super quick read and only took me two days :-)

I have to so I was loving it until the end when it was wrapped up. It sounds horrible but I had prepared myself for a sad ending and was kind of disappointed when it didn't necessarily go my way. Let me first state that this book was a little odd, without giving away too much, you really need to believe in imaginary friends and angels. It was a little far fetched even for my imagination and trust me as a child I had imaginary friends, I truly believed my stuffed animals had feelings, and I created super fun adventures all from the comfort of my bedroom. But even for me I couldn't jump on board with this idea. While you definitely love the main Characters Jane and Michael, it was really hard to love the idea of the book.

I'd give this book a C....I really liked it until things started wrapping up at the end and as weird as it sounds I was kind of disappointed in the "happy ending". It's quick read for anyone daring to go there, just remember you must really believe in things that seem unreal.

July 15, 2010

Good Ole Southern Charm

OMG I just love love love Mary Kay Andrews...her books are definitely fluff books but how can I not swoon when I read them. I love everything about them, the predicatable-ness (is that even a word?), the southern location, every single character.

She's done it again with this book, The Fixer Upper, an easy fun read, but so adorable! I just loved the main character Dempsey and of course I love love love that throughout the book she's fixing up an old house down in a small town in Georgia!
A must read for anyone who loves fluffy Chick books!
And now I'm reading Sundays At Tiffanys by James Patterson before I start our August Book Club Book. So far it's a little different but not too shabby! Seems like it will be a quick read as well! :)

July 12, 2010

1st Book Club Book!

I have officially read our first book club book and I am so excited to discuss it next week at our meeting! Have I told you all that I've joined a book club? Well I have. My Sister and Mom decided to start one and I was so happy to join. Right now there are 6 (possibly 7) of us that are in it :-)

Our first book, for the month of July, was The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield! Lucky for me this was also on my 2010 reading list, which I hate to admit but I will not fulfill now with this book club going on. There is no way, but have no fear I am not giving up on those books. My plan to read my book club book and at least one off my reading list each month! Wish me luck as some of our book club books are LONG!

I digress...


I was so happy with this book. It started a little dry but it was so out of my normal book choices and I was hooked. I spent all day yesterday finishing it...which meant I read over half the book! And I just couldn't put it down. I took one break to chat with my sister via telephone for about an hour, which I decided to make lunch as to not take more time away from my precious novel :-) And it was such a great story. I highly recommend this book and in fact I'd give it 5 stars! My only recommendation is to read it during gray, cold, wintry weather. It's a perfect book for a rainy day and trust me while reading this you will be enticed to make a cup of hot cocoa or some tea!

Run out and buy this one, or at the very least add it to your must reads!

July 8, 2010


Last night for dinner Chuck and I decided to BBQ steak and for our sides we made Au Gratin Potatoes (thank you Miss Betty Crocker) and Artichokes! As a kid I hated Artichokes, but I've been wanting to give them another try! We got them going in a boiling pot of hot water!

And I started to make my very first recipe from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, thank you to my Sister for letting me borrow this book!
I chose to do the Blender method, but without a blender. We figured my hand held mixer would work just as well...I gathered my ingredients: Eggs, Lemon Juice, Butter, and Salt & Pepper.

First you combine the egg (i think i was supposed to just use the yolk), lemon juice, salt & pepper.

Melt your butter in a hot sauce pot.

Then slowly while running the mixer on high, drop the butter in slowly.
Needless to say I screwed it up. I think I added the entire egg and it should have just been the yolk. I will have to investigate that when I get home tonight.
But I was not willing to admit defeat quite yet...while I was waiting for us to get started on dinner I had opened up our Joy of Cooking and searched for their version of how to make hollandaise sauce. I was in luck Ms.Rombauer had an alternative way to make it that I was sure I could handle.

I once again gathered the ingredients:

I whipped the lemon juice and eggs together.

Then melted my butter once again.

Then you pour the lemon egg mixture into the melted pot on the stove and continuously stir until it has thickened. Once thickened I poured into a bowl to keep it from cooking and added salt and pepper and some paprika! I had Chuck do a taste test since I had no idea what it was supposed to taste like.

And voila....we had an amazing dinner. I can't wait to try the "long" way of making hollandaise sauce now! It wasn't bad and I think I may like artichokes...the jury is still somewhat out on that. I love the artichoke heart but getting to it was kind of bland!

Anyone else tried Julia Child's recipe for hollandaise sauce?

It's Here....It's FINALLY HERE!!

For 2 years we have been putting off buying a mantel because it's so expensive. A few weeks ago we came across a cheaper way of handling out situation and yesterday it ARRIVED!!

You can see what we've been dealing with...technically those silver pieces were not always there, we tried another option and I couldn't get it to work with our wall, turns out our wall was the problem and not the installers problem...anywho....it was ugly without anything!
Here's my honey getting ready to install our new mantel shelf!

Look at the beauty! She's the perfect size all the way around! And the white matches our baseboards and trim perfectly...Not that matching white with white is hard!

Ahhhh....all finished! I finally had a shelf above the fireplace to decorate! I was so stoked! I promptly moved the excessive candle holders from the tv stand to the shelf and added a few more simple ones!

Doesn't it just look great! We still need to put the trim right underneath it to hide the cable wire and also along the sides but this just readjusts the focus of the room. We no longer have the focus solely on the TV wall, it's not evenly spread through out our living room!

Here's a shot of our whole living room. Excuse the fan, it only resides in the house during summer season! Doesn't it just look awesome. I wish I had pictures from when we first moved in to now because it's a HUGE improvement. We finally feel like we've turned our house into our HOME!

I couldn't be happier with our living room. It's only 2 steps away from being complete! Our living room and dining room are the main parts of the house, aside from the kitchen which let me tell you someone else will be doing the work on that while we just pay the bill....but being the main parts we wanted them cozy and comfy with our own style thrown in. Since I moved out of my parents house I now feel like I've created the home I've always wanted...

For Now...

Chuck and I decided to take a trip to our local Wal-Mart to blow some hard earned cash on a few new decorations for the house. Some things I'd been putting off buying until we got our new dining room table.

The first thing on the list was a new table cloth to cover the table until I got it all refinished...although we both like it so much that it may stay even after the table is completed.
The next piece was the table cloths...we decided now to remove 2 of them and 2 of the chairs until we need them because it looks a a little cramped now and realistically we don't need all 6 settings on a regular basis...I was also dying to get a centerpiece for the table. And since you can never have too many candles we decided on a simple round "Bowl" with some sand and shells and three multi-height candles! Yes I said "We" Chuck just loved the idea!

And of course over the weekend I got to work in the garage and started refinishing. These chairs will take awhile because of the detail but I made some good headway before my neighbor/friend Andrea stopped by to chat :-)
I am hoping to get back out in the garage a few nights next week to work on this. I won't have time this weekend because...............Mom and I are going to a scrapbook crop on Saturday WOO HOO! I am so excited for this. I actually won a first spot through a facebook drawing so it's a sweet deal for me! I just hope we have as much fun as we do at our other annual crop!

It's D-U-N

Some could say I am a Happy Girl, but I would describe myself as an ECSTATIC Girl these days! Chuck finally had two days off in a row and he spent one of those day putting in the new floors in my scrapbook room! YAY! Do you know what this means??? ALL THE FLOORS IN THE HOUSE ARE NOW UPDATED!! We had to leave carpet in one area but all the rooms are now the way we wanted them! WOO HOO!! And we have enough leftover to put some in the laundry room when I redo that WOO HOO!!

Just look at how nice they look....and this should help with the heat upstairs meaning I should be able to scrapbook more often during the summer! YAY!
My honey did such a great job and I was so excited to come home. To make it even better he also moved all my furniture back in for me! What a great guy!!!
I am super excited to say almost all of our home improvements for 2010 are coming to a close and the house is almost exactly how we want it! Aside from bigger projects that are waiting on funds...we are going to have all the other projects done by end of year! I am so excited to have our home finished after just 2 years of living here...plus that also means I get to start working on my friend Alycia's condo! I just love home improvements!

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