Chalk Art

So here we are again. I just finished putting our first little welcome message onto our $6 framed chalkboard that we are using as a piece of living room art. What a super cheap was it was to fill that empty easel. I may just do the same in our kitchen! Happy first day of fall everyone!

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Guilty As Charged…But I Have Surprises!

Well…I’m not going to lie. I miss this. I miss sitting down to do something I have absolutely grown to love…blogging. I don’t even know where to begin, so I will try to begin at our new beginning…we again have our own house.

A lot has changed in the past 2 months. After 5 years of being a stay at home mama, I have begun working at my daughter’s school as a part time teacher. Oh yeah…my oldest just started kindergarten…Oh what an adventure the last couple of months has been. But I have just felt a longing to keep SBH updated so I have decided to force myself to make the time.

Okay, so starting where we ended…the new house. It was almost as if we were meant to live in this house. After our previous home was under contract to sell, I found this house on (of all places) Craigslist. The owners were ready to start a family and decided their 2 bedroom, 2 bath city home was a little cramped for their style. However, it fit ours to a ” T”.

So let’s begin our little tour. What do you say to a room a day? Why, yes. I do believe that sounds like a plan. What better way to start than the family living room?

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Talk about a change. From neutral to full fledge color. It is bright. It is cheery. It is…us. Here is a breakdown of where we picked up some of the new goodies.

Posters over the couch- Hobby Lobby at half price ($15 each).
Mirror over the fireplace- repainted mirror from BigLots ($50).
Turquoise items on the fireplace- Hobby Lobby and Pier1
Pillows on couch and BigLots- Pier1 and BigLots
Couch and recliner- BigLots
TV center- Craigslist find
Rugs- $99 each at Lowe’s
Coffee table- donated from family
Baskets under coffee table- Target
Easel- free
Chalkboard- Hobby Lobby at half price ($6)

Day 1 of the new home tour complete. And where shall we pick up next? Well, I am thinking the kitchen. Care to drop by for dinner? Maybe we’ll be cooking up something special! 😉

One Of Our Favorites…Chicken Stew With Quinoa And Butternut Squash

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This recipe from cookincanuck is definitely one of my family’s favorites. As always, it is a meal you can feel good about handing out those seconds! Thank you SO MUCH Dara from cookincanuck.com for creating this recipe!

Ingredients

1 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded & chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 can (14 oz) petite diced tomatoes
2/3 cup uncooked quinoa
3/4 cup pitted and quartered kalamata olives
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Instructions

Steam the butternut squash until barely tender, about 10 minutes. Remove half of the squash pieces and set aside.
Steam the remaining squash until very tender, an additional 4 to 6 minutes. Mash this squash with the back of a fork. Set aside.
In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, bring the chicken broth to a simmer.
Add chicken thighs, cover, and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Transfer the chicken thighs to a plate and allow to cool. Pour broth into a medium-sized bowl.
Return the saucepan to the stovetop and lower heat to medium. Add olive oil.
Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is starting to turn brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add minced garlic and oregano. Cook, stirring, for 1 additional minute.
To the saucepan, add tomatoes, butternut squash pieces, mashed butternut squash. Stir to combine.
Stir in reserved chicken broth and quinoa. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the quinoa turns translucent, about 15 minutes.
Shred the chicken with your fingers or a fork.
Stir the chicken, olives and pepper into the stew and simmer, uncovered, to heat, about 5 minutes.
Stir in parsley and serve.

The only changes I made to her recipe (above) was to leave out the olives, use homemade veggie broth instead of chicken broth, and purée the squash with the broth before throwing everything into a crockpot for a couple of hours.

In my opinion, this recipe is perfect for those fall months when the weather turns crisp and cool. It has a taste that slightly reminds me of REALLY good chicken and dressing…only it is super healthy! Definitely a must try in our book!

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Our Cozy Little Corner…

Wow…just wow…

What a month. We have moved. We close on our previous house next week AND there are a few exciting little secrets that I can’t share just yet. But trust me…they are a big dealio for our little family. I know, I know. I hate being vague just as much as you hate reading this vague paragraph, but if you’ll hang with me for just a couple of weeks, I can fill you in on all the details!

Today I thought I would introduce you to the beginnings of our replenished home furnishing/home decor collection. Before we moved, we sold pretty much everything: beds, table, chairs, dressers, etc. The only large piece we kept was our sectional. It made for a much easier move, but it is time to begin trying to find some deals to refurnish. Last week I introduced you to the girls’ new bedroom.

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Today, I thought I’d give you a look inside our little corner of our temp home. For those who don’t know, we are currently staying with the in-laws until we get the whole home closing situation settled and in the past. However, we have been picking up a few items to make this feel feel like our own.

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We have decided to go for a bit more modern look this time around. So we found a good deal on a platform bed and memory foam mattress at overstock.com and gave the “seasoned tree” painting a new home above our bed. One of the hardest things about changing from a semi-shabby look to a more modern feel is the fact that shabby decor is a lot cheaper to DIY. Old things are supposed to look…old. These items are usually a lot cheaper to pick up on Craigslist than pieces with a modern feel. However, if you are creative there are always ways to find thrifty decor to fit your style. I do plan to mix in a few shabby pieces, such as the coffee table at the foot of our bed, among our more modern home furnishings. This coffee table was handcrafted by a local metal-worker. His customer did not pick it up, so we were able to buy it for the cost of the materials.

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We’ll see how the whole modernized decor plan works out. Will we be able to find pieces on a budget? I hope so. Will it fit our personalities as well? I’m sure it will. Only time will tell so check back to see if our plans turn from whoo-hoo to boo-hoo.

BTW, thank you to everyone that visited SBH in the last several days. I have been absolutely amazed at the turnout. If you guys have any special projects you would like to see on the blog or would like to submit your home for a home-remodeling story, just leave a comment to let me know!

Girl Power And Pink Flowers

Okay…You aren’t going to believe it… I am actually going to write a decorating post. It has been ages but when you are moving and temporarily displaced, home decorating ideas aren’t exactly on the mind. As I mentioned earlier, we are currently staying with my in-laws (which has been such a blessing while we figure out our living situation). On a note of GrEaT news (for us at least), our house is currently pending sale! I’ll be sure to keep you updated on that blessing!

So, I decided to give the girls a bit total bedroom makeover. Since they are sharing a room, I wanted to give them a room that was a bit more coordinated. Here is the before…

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And here is the after…

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Most of the items in the room were, of course, garage sale, free, and thrift store items. The pastel rug is a PBTeen rug that I was able to buy from Craigslist for $50. The table and chairs cost $15 (including fabric to recover the chairs) from a garage sale. The LOVE picture is a DIY project made by decoupaging scrapbook paper onto an old painting canvas. The dresser, chair, bunk beds and wicker side table were given to me by Jason’s step-mom. The sheets for the beds and white throw pillow came from one of our garage sale adventures. My one big splurge was bedding. The lower bunk has bedding that came from Target, but the quilt on the top bunk came from PBTeen and cost “a tad bit” more. However both sets are well-made and should last a while.

The only other ideas I would like to incorporate into their room come from the Googiemomma blog. The striped ceilings and small chandeliers are too perfect!

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I’ll wrap up by leaving you guys with a few more pictures! Thanks for stopping by!

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Squeaky Clean…Egg And Veggie Quiche Muffins

In the past 3 weeks, I have been making a conscious effort to eat better than I have ever eaten. I have been very health-oriented for a while now, but I figured it was time to step it up a notch. Each of these great little egg muffins has about 55 calories, so you can pop 3-4 muffins and still feel good about yourself. Thank you to the creative souls at the He And She Eat Clean blog for guiding me to this recipe published in Oxygen Magazine!

Clean Egg Muffins

Ingredients:
Olive Oil Spray (Pure Olive Oil)
4 scallions (or green onions), minced
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 red bell pepper, minced
1/2 zucchini, shredded
14 egg whites
4 whole eggs
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp oregano
Dash of sea salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 12-muffin tin with a small amount of olive oil spray to prevent sticking.
2. Combine vegetables in a big bowl. Fill each muffin tin 2/3 full with vegetables.
3. Whisk eggs and seasonings in a large mixing bowl.
4. Use a 1/3-measuring cup for the egg mixture and pour slowly into each muffin tin. Egg mixture should fill tin the rest of the way. Bake for 30 minutes or until muffins have risen and are slightly browned. Serve.

Tip: Muffins will stay for approximately 1 weeks refrigerated, or you can freeze them for later consumption (be sure to thaw overnight in refrigerator before eating).

Source: Oxygen Magazine, “Eat Eggs, Get Lean”, October 2011

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Kiddie project: Moon Sand

If you “pinterest”, you’ve probably seen the recipe for moon or cloud sand scroll down your screen. We decided to try it out since my kids are big fans of playing in the sand. It worked really well! The original instructions called for 8 cups white flour to 1 cup of baby oil. I added between 1/4 and 1/2 cup of extra baby oil in order to make the sand stick together a little easier. If your child likes the sandbox, this project is sure to be a hit!

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