Tuesday, March 22, 2011

bathroom update!

*Disclaimer: Pictures were taken with my phone, crappy lighting, and this room (like most bathrooms) is very difficult to photograph due to the small size and odd angles.

Here is the bathroom redo in all it's glory. The goal was to get rid of the wallpaper and inexpensively turn it into something that resembles me and the rest of the house. I decided to forgo changing out light fixtures, adding beadboard and what not because we hope to not live here long enough to justify that, so I worked with paint and accessories. I forgot the before pictures. Imagine a pinecone wallpaper border midway down wall with wood trim in both sides. It was not me! Imagine that!

Well with Ryan leaving for Texas he felt the need to make my wishes come true. He is sweet. Thanks to him and his dad especially I finally got this room done (well 90% done). His dad is amazing! So handy and willing to help. He loves painting even more cutting in on the edges. Crazy and I love it!

I am not thrilled with the paint color but it is growing on me. The pics are on my phone so they aren't great and the room could use more light. Remember this post and my inspiration photo?

Well I ended up scrapping the colored towels on hooks and decided that wall needed something higher up on wall and art (if framed scrapbook paper can be considered art). It might seem a little copy cat from my inspiration photo but I'm ok with that. It goes so well. Oh and I love the Thomas Paul octopus shower curtain. Love the whimsy. I brought the rugs in from other room and am trying them out instead of the flokati rug I started with. It really wasn't practical for a bathroom anyway, dry clean only. I already had the ocean picture and just leaned it up against the mirror to break up the huge rectangle builder grade mirror. The striped towels are from TJ Maxx, the frames are from Ikea, and the scrapbook paper from Joann's. They have so much more selection than Michaels, at least in Chico. Crazy. I still need to reinstall the towel bar or go with the hooks I already purchased months ago from Cost Plus World Market for hanging towels. We shall see...

The paint is Benjamin Moore Aura Ac-27 Galveston Gray. Sometimes I go in and it looks blue and other times it is gray. I prefer the gray. The room desperately needs more light. In hindsight the color is too dark for the room so I should have gone with the next one up but I loved this color more and Ryan preferred it too on the swatch and in inspiration photos.

So, what do you think? Original enough in my personal application or too copy cat?

Oh and the human figure model by the sink. Ryan and I like to get creative with his pose and surprise each other. Makes for some great laughs. I found myself changing him up the other day to impersonate Ryan flexing his muscles in the mirror. But he's not here to enjoy my humor, darn Texas! I guess I'll have to text him a picture.

Other projects to come: Ryan switched out the dining room light fixture (all by himself). Yeehaw!


Making this for gavin's dinner along with mashed potatoes and chicken.

Here is the recipe:

1 butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 tbsp butter
4 tbsp brown sugar
Sea Salt and black pepper (freshly ground)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place butternut squash halves in glass pan with cut sides up. Put 1 tbsp butter in middle each squash. Sprinkle brown sugar over each squash. Season with s and p.

Roast 40 minutes, until flesh is fork-tender. Poke squash with fork holes and then pour yummy brown sugar buttery goodness over the holes to absorb in rest of squash. It may not last until dinner or get to gavin's mouth. Yum!

Butternut squash is aaaaaaaaa-mazing! I never ate it much before making it for baby food, but this oh this is way more than baby food! It literally melts in your mouth! You must try and if you put your nose up to squash please give it another try with this recipe! Since Gavin is still a picky eater and sensitive to textures I still have to mash and cook his vegetables so they're soft. Squash is the perfect vegetable for that! My methods for cooking it have evolved as he has grown and can handle mashed rather than pureed foods. I also love it so much I find a compromise between how I would want it and how he'd want it. This newest recipe is amazing. I started with one from allrecipes.com and adjusted the temperature and the measurements of the ingredients. It was really by accident the recipe called for 2 tsp of butter and I interpreted that as 2 tbsp (quite a bit more, no wonder it melts in your mouth! hehe!). So, you can do less butter and still have a great result, but it was oh so yummy that I wouldn't change a thing. I also almost skipped the s&p but as I learned in my cooking class s&p are your main way of seasoning a food and salt will always enhance flavors and boy it was perfect the sweet brown sugar against the fresh pepper and sea salt! Can't even describe how good this is. I also increased the cooking temperature based on my experience roasting squash and knowing I wanted it on the more tender side for Gavin. I also added the 1/2 inch of water in the pan to help create a steaming process and cook the squash more, but it isn't really necessary for a less tender result. I also increased the cooking time from 25 to 40. There is no way it would be done in 25. It will also make your house smell so warm, yummy, and sweet!

Monday, March 14, 2011

orange you lovely!

Here's what I came up with for the decor and party favors for Gavin's 2nd birthday. It was inspired by an orange drink I had at a friend's baby shower. I have also been obsessed with oranges lately and eating them daily, which is weird for me because I usually dislike oranges. I always get bad ones, but Ryan was given a bag of oranges by a patient at work and these ones have been delicious!

I already had all the supplies from all the hoopla I made for Gavin's 1st birthday. I had the napkins in my stash and so didn't have to buy anything except a few more clear bags and the oranges and orange slices candy. I found the orange slice and leaf images online and edited them in Photoshop Elements. The font on the stickers was in the blue to match the striped napkins.

Photo Above (Clockwise Left to Right): Orange with leaf name card for place settings, white paper sacks for party favor (it had a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie from Upper Crust Bakery), blue/gray striped napkins from Ikea (great place for napkins!!), green napkin from Ikea for cake time, "Thanks You're Sweet" orange slices candy party favor (bags tied with jute twine). I just use full sheet size labels to print my designs out on and then stick them right to the cardstock, bags, etc. Not pictured: I also had some of the 2 inch orange slice circle stickers on clear cups that said "Happy Birthday", and we had tons of green and yellow balloons strewn on the floor (the store was out of orange ones).

Party On!

We celebrated gavin's 2nd birthday early so that Ryan could be there. I have been excited for gav's birthday because I felt like he'd enjoy the party more (especially the cake and ice cream). Remember last year? He wouldn't even let us get the cake to his mouth. He loves anything sweet now so I just said the words "cake and ice cream" and he was in his seat! I didn't take that many photos, actually I myself took none. Thanks to Ryan and his sister we gave some. I was way too busy with the food. I didn't do anything crazy like last years extravaganza. It was a tad much. In fact as of Monday I didn't have a clue what we were doing let alone decorating bur finally caught the bug to do something and the wheels started turning. By Monday night I was cutting and sticking and had the event planned and decor finished. I went simple and I think it was just the right amount.
playing with the wheels and bucket on his new tricycle

We had our local family over for dinner and cake and ice cream. I'm so glad that we have our family near by. Gavin is developing relationships with his grandparents and his Aunt Michelle and Uncle Paul and I love that he gets excited and loves spending time with them. I made a new favorite of mine Chicken and Rosemary Spaghetti. With that we had roasted asparagus, mixed green salad with feta, pecans, grapes, and oranges, and a yummy garlic artisan bread my sister found at WinCo. I got his cake from UpperCrust Bakery again. It was the black and white cake and it was delish!
Playing with his new Thomas the Train from Aunt Michelle and Uncle Paul.

Our happy little family!

Gavin loved his cake once the candles were lit and he loved being sung to. I love this picture because I feel like it captures in an image my love for this little dude. He is my life and my best little bud. He is the reason for my happiness and joy. He is teaching me so much about love, patience, laughter, and enjoying the simple things in life. All the time and energy I give to him, I receive more than that back in love and happiness as his mother! What a sweet gift you are little man!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Alice Lane Giveaway!!

I've been coveting this goldfish pillow by Thomas Paul for a while. Ok, not coveting but its one I'd love to have. Sadly at $105 it's just in my budget, nor would I feel ok spending that much on a single pillow. Well, what do you know, Alice Lane, a lovely interior design firm in Orem, Utah just finished a new interior for NieNie's play area in her basement is giving one away. I really wanted to stop by their store when I went to visit my family in Utah. I even made it to Provo to see my brother at BYU, but I had my nephew and son in the car with me and it didn't seem possible. Anyway, they used this adorable pillow in her room and are giving one away now. I never win, but lately I've decided I should up my odds by entering giveaways more often. I MUST NOT LOSE HOPE! Click here to enter the giveaway on Alice Lane's blog and to see the lovely pictures of NieNie's new play room! So creatively inspiring don't you think? I do!

Have a great weekend! My parents have so lovingly offered to watch Gav so the Mr. and I can scoot off to Sac-town for a quick overnight getaway and visit to the Sacramento Temple!! Ryan leaves in 2 weeks for his 9-week clinical in Austin, Texas. Boo hoo!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

garlic noodles with asparagus

*please excuse the presentation. I knew the post wouldn't be as good without a pic and I wasn't in the mood to indulge you any more than whipping out my iphone and the bowl I was eating my second helping from.

I whipped this up for dinner tonight. I guess it would be called Garlic Noodles with Asparagus, I guess. It was done prep to table in 30 minutes. I was gonna cook some lobster ravioli I have from Costco but Ryan opted out so I nixed that. I make this a lot in the summer with kabobs. Tonight it took main stage. I just cook pasta until it's al dente. While it was cooking I roasted asparagus at 350 degrees (probably could have done 375) for 10-12 minutes (trim and toss with olive oil and then s&p). Then when 2 minutes left in pasta melt 1 tbsp butter in pan on medium-high heat when hot add 1 tbsp olive oil then add 1 tbsp minced garlic. Cook for 30 seconds or so dont overbook or burn then add drained pasta. Mix add more olive oil (I didn't measure, just went for the correct amount to cover, grated parmesan cheese, and s&p (sea salt and fresh ground black pepper) and serve immediately. The asparagus should be done at same time. I cut it up and mixed with pasta but it could be left in side as well. It's light but rich at same time with oil, garlic, and good amount of s&p. Yum!

** Remember with dishes that only have a few ingredients especially the quality of the ingredients used will really make the difference in the end result. You can only have food as good as the ingredients you put in it. That means a good olive oil since you will be tasting it and not cooking it much, fresh parmesan cheese, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper (not table salt or pre ground pepper).

I love the cooking class I took and the excitement it's given me in the kitchen. It's my new fav hobby and I already feel more confident in my cooking skills. Her tips for prepping garlic and shallots alone was worth the cost of the class ($20 for class and $15 for food supplies you cooked at it). If you're in the Chico area and looking to take some short classes (one night only, but she has a few different ones to choose from) contact CARD. So far so good! I'm taking her Thai food and Italian food classes later in March and April as well. Eat up!

allowance at age 29

All of my childhood I didn't have an allowance of money given to my by my parents. They didn't believe in that sort of thing and so I had to work for my money. I was horrible at saving and spent my money as soon as I had it. I worked cleaning houses in high school for family to make money for clothes.

Now as a grown adult I've struggled with managing money. Its probably one of my biggest weaknesses. It is a big challenge. I can make a budget but have never felt capable of keeping it. I honestly don't know how. We save a good amount but that is because I have it automatically transferred and most of our bills are paid automatically. With the new year came a challenge and desperate plea from my dear husband. He has been so patient and forgiving of my spending and lack of restraint. (In my behalf I am great at not spending money on big ticket items (say over $50), but I easily find myself spending $100 at TJ Maxx on shoes, clothes, home accessories (you know 10 items $10 each kind of deal). He wants more assurance, more peace when it comes to money. Can you blame him? Poor guy!

So, he devised a plan to give me an allowance. At age 29 I have an allowance. hahaha! At the beginning of every month I transfer the agreed amount to my own checking account and then use a debit card for that account so we can easily track how much I am spending and what its on. So far I have come to the end of each month with a chunk of my money still not spent. Last month I still had half left over. Now that I know the amount is limited I find myself asking more questions, "Is this really what I want?" "Will I forgot about it soon after the first time or two wearing it?" "Is this really how I want to spend my money?" "What is at the top of my list for things I want/need?" I only overspend really on things like clothing and home decor so that was the stipulation of what got lumped into that category. It feels good to start developing self-control and really assess how I am spending my money. I will say I find myself buying more expensive items but that is because I have decided what I really do want/need and then saving up for it or committing to spend more which is fine when you're not buying all those $10 items that you forget about soon after the purchase. I am buying less clothing but holding out to find the items that I "can't live without" or I really need for my wardrobe. I'm definitely not perfect yet. Both months I've come down to the last few days of the month and then made a trip to TJ Maxx and found myself sucked into buying some items that probably don't fit the bill, but I've returned them once I'm home because I know its not how I want to spend the money. So, if I do good 3 weeks out of the month and that last month is a struggle but in the end of the whole month I'm under my limit I'd say pretty good improvement!! We'll see how March goes. I am realizing that if I just save up my pennies I can have the things I really want that cost more and in the end will be more satisfied with how I spent my money (like that headboard and nightstands I'd really like to have in my bedroom).

So after two decent months how did I start off March? I finally convinced myself to buy the adorable Thomas Paul Octopus shower curtain for the bathroom makeover. I did find an alternative for much less at Target that had stripes, but I just realized that the shower curtain was what I really wanted and would really make the changes in the bathroom what I wanted in the design. I decided against changing out the lighting or hardware or doing the beadboard so that spending a little more on this will be ok. And I feel much better doing it now since I know I didn't spend all that money on silly little nonsense.

Any money tips you've found that really work? How do you restrain yourself? I'm just trying to keep myself out of a SA (shopaholics anonymous) group. Is there such a thing?