May 30, 2012

My Summer Bucket List: 10 Things to Do Before Summer is Gone!

The weather is getting warmer and summer is just about here! And this month's issue of Better Homes and Gardens had a really great idea: Create a summer bucket list (or "sand pail list") of things you want to do before summer slips away. 

 I'm one of those people that can get so busy taking care of my kids and home that I sometimes forget to get out to that event or adventure. And, of course, summer is the easiest time to get out and have fun (at least here in the Midwest).

But, this year I'm determined to try do do as many of these as possible. And, because my kids aren't in school yet, I consider summer lasting until mid-September. So, here goes! 

My Summer Bucket List: 10 Things To Do Before It's Gone! 

1. Take the family to the beach. We don't live near the ocean, but in the Great Lakes area there are a few nice places to go that are just a short drive away. These were some of my best memories growing up and I want my kids to have fun making sandcastles and splashing around in the warm water together. 

2. Go on some family bike rides.  Our 2 and 3 year old boys have had a blast riding in one of these while daddy "drives". 

A little challenging to do right now with all of us since our 3 month old is too young for a bike trailer, but I plan on finding a babysitter for a few afternoons until little guy gets bigger so I can ride too.  And it will be fun next spring-because we can all go! 

3. Paint the older boys' bedroom. Because it's easier to do with windows open to let fresh air in. The plan is to rip up the cheap carpeting, paint the floors white, walls gray with orange and navy accents. I want to stencil cute transportation pictures, like airplanes in the air, cars on a track down lower on the wall and maybe a few chalkboard sections? Oh, and some stenciled glow in the dark stars on the ceiling, pennants and name banners. (Here's a link to my Pinterest Kids Room Idea board for their room if you're interested in taking a peek).

4. Grow an Italian garden-with Roma tomatoes, zucchini and basil. And, at the end of the summer, I want to make and freeze big batches of homemade pasta sauce, oven-dried tomatoes and pesto with the mini harvest. This one won't be hard to do because I've done it for the past few years and everything is already planted, thanks to the hubby! 

5. Attend an outdoor concert. We have a beautiful outdoor amphitheater at our zoo and I am super excited that I got tickets to see and hear the beautiful Sarah McLachlan! I am treating myself to an early birthday present on June 27th. I've been a fan since the 90's and I can't believe in her latest tour complete with symphony orchestra she is stopping by neck of the woods!

Source: via Legacy on Pinterest

6. Go to a summer festival. Our area is full of art and culture and every summer their are festivals nearby to celebrate all of these things. My favorite one is coming up this weekend-the Old West End Festival-located in a historic district with gorgeous Victorian houses. The streets will be filled with art displays, music, huge yard sales, good food and fun kids' activities. Hopefully it won't be hot!

7. Garage/yard sales. I want to take advantage of some treasures I might find for my crafty projects as well as clothes for the kids-the best time of year for this because there are some neighborhood-wide sales to sift through.

8. Schedule out a family vacation. I'll looking into beach house rentals mid-September somewhere on the east coast-hoping to catch a good deal and visit some east coast friends along the way!

9. Schedule a fall/Christmas crafting party. Last year, I held one of these at my house in the beginning of September with a few crafty friends so we could get a head start on fall and Christmas decorating and also homemade gifts before the season got too hectic to even think about making something homemade. It was a blast and I want to do it again!

10. Me time! Being a mom to 3 little boys is more than a full-time job. It can be hard to escape and relax but it is necessary! I want really appreciate the beauty of being outdoors and take a break from all the busyness.

Like sitting on the porch at night with a few candles, laying out on my hammock under the trees, taking a bike ride all by myself, journaling, or wandering around a pretty park or beach just to unwind...

Don't let summer slip by...what are you wanting to do this season?

Printing out this list, sticking it on the fridge and hoping for a summer filled with fun, relaxation and adventure! 

May 25, 2012

DIY Stenciled Toenails

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Here's a quick, fun project just in time for sandal season and showing off pretty painted toes. Last month, I had fun with a campaign where I got to play around with a huge box of Martha Stewart's new line of craft supplies to create a Mother's Day gift.

One of the stencils Plaid sent me were these cool reusable adhesive ones with tiny little flowers and patterns on them. What could I use them on? Candleholders, glasses, jars, for sure. What about my toenails? (Not sure what Martha would think...)

 I reminisced back to my junior high days of painting bright polka dots and stripes on my nails and I decided I wasn't too old for fun, colorful nails. So, I bought favorite colors together-yellow and gray and try this little experiment.

And guess what? It worked out great and was so easy to do-not to mention so much cheaper than nail stickers or airbrushed ones. And, it's pretty handy that the stencils can be reused over and over again.

Here's how I did it:

First, I painted my base color-I chose a concrete gray.

I allowed to dry completely.

Then, I pressed the adhesive stencil onto my toenail where I wanted the pattern to be.

I wiped off the extra polish, then dabbed my second color, pale yellow onto the top of the stencil completely filling in all the holes.

Finally, I carefully pulled off my stencil to reveal the pattern.

(I didn't even have to wipe off the stencil each time or wait for anything to dry before removing the stencil.)

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So, there you have your easy, cute, colorful DIY stenciled nails. Thanks, Martha Stewart crafts for making it happen!

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May 21, 2012

Bathroom Progress

For those of you who've been following along, you'll know that I've been tackling the big project of repainting my bathroom and then adding updated lighting and mirror as well as replacing a door that is falling apart.

Above are some of the colors I liked-in the family of pale greens, yellow-greens, and beige all from Behr paint, who Consumer Reports gave a very good review. And, I wasn't disappointed either-I bought the paint with primer in Satin sheen and it went on really smoothly with none of the previous color showing through after just one coat of paint.

It's funny to me that I actually like paler colors on walls now-the last time I painted a bathroom I did it in a deep eggplant purple. My husband said that phase was "interesting"-but I'm glad he lets me try whatever my creative heart wants!

Well, I loved it then, and still love bright and bold colors-but more as accents colors on doors, cabinets, accent walls, and decorations against lighter walls.

Below is the color I chose called "Silky Bamboo". I love how soothing and peaceful the color is. But, I promise you it won't be boring: I plan on adding bright pops of tangerine with a painted door and handmade salvage wall art I can't wait to get started on.

Silky Bamboo by Behr paints

Here are a few of my "Pinspertions" for my bathroom remodel: 

Source: via Kristina on Pinterest

I love the pale walls with bright tangerine pops. This looks a lot like my bathroom with the size, beadboard and window. 

I love this tangerine door and how it looks against the pale walls-like a creamsicle. I plan on painting my new door this color (and when I get to my kitchen, I will do that door tangerine, too, I think).

Here's what I'm working with:

Here's what I lived with for almost a year and a half from when we first moved in: 

Icy blue walls with a darker blue ceiling. Not terrible, but not me. 

Now, I'm cringing as I post a really ugly picture on my pretty blog: The hideous floral door with a 1980's wall papered cardboard panel that is peeling off. What the heck where they thinking?

I see no other option than replacing the whole door. On the other side is a mirror where the wooden edges are chipped. Luckily, we have a salvage warehouse in town where we can replace it with one from the 1920's-like the rest of the doors in my 1920's home.  So ready for my pretty tangerine door!

Here's the lighting and mirror I want to replace. I don't like how wide the lights are and their lack of style. Also, the mirror is pretty basic and not very safe with its sharp edges. I plan on taking a trip up to IKEA for replacements that will fit my budget but will for sure be more stylish.

Here are the first coats of Silky Bamboo on my walls:

I painted all the walls above the beadboard and the ceiling this color. I love it! It really makes my small bathroom seem bigger and it is for sure brighter and more cheerful.

Just a few touchups this week and I'll be done with the walls. I already went out and bought new bathmats and towels to compliment my new color-just need to clean up my painting mess. Next, will be the mirror and lighting replacements and the wall art I want to make. Can't wait to reveal the rest.

Thanks for tuning in and I hope you come back in the next few weeks to see the end result!

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May 17, 2012

Painting Technique: Faux Subway Tile

Well, I feel like I've been neglecting the poor blog here but I have been working on the big task of painting my upstairs bathroom-and with my three boys as my full-time priority, I can only squeeze in a few hours at a time for that (hello, bedtime!)

So, this week, I have paced myself each night, grabbed my Frappucino, paint brush, paint and rollers and done a little bit here and there and I am almost done. And I can't wait to reveal it to you! I love the colors I chose and am dreaming up some homemade salvage wall art to go along with it. The big reveal is coming soon, please stay tuned!

In the meantime, I wanted to share with you a painting technique I loved that I saw on This Old House's website.

Do you love the look of subway tile? If you're trying to save money or time and want a similar look, you can try this technique using painter's tape and either two different colors of paint or for a more subtle look, just two different sheens in the same color-try a flat sheen for the "grout" and a shiny sheen for the "tile" in a simple white or cream shade.  Pretty cool, isn't it?

Click on my Pinterest link below for the complete step by step process:


May 12, 2012

Eight Years

Well, it has been a busy week for me around here! My husband Jeff and I celebrated our 8th wedding Anniversary on May 8th. Can't believe it's been that long! I'm thankful to be married to my best friend and of course life hasn't been perfect but I can truly say we've laughed more times than we've argued. 

We have definitely had some adventures together and I can see that God already has done "immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us". We had this verse from Ephesians read on our wedding day and it has really been the story of our lives as we continue to walk by faith.

 A few words on my husband: He really gets me and is so supportive with all my creative endeavors-even when my projects invade all rooms of the house and I have to ask him one more time to help me with a camera setting or technical support. 

He is the one to lighten the mood with humor when I get stressed and tells me to escape from the demands of mommyhood to coffee with a friend, the craft store, or a nice walk. All that to say I'm really proud of the man he is and is becoming-still glad I said "yes"! 

For our special day, I arranged babysitting for our 3 little boys and snuck away to a pretty park and cozy French/Italian restaurant. The food was amazing! 

Oh, and I got surprised with this gorgeous bouquet: 

8 years ago on our wedding day

This made me really happy!  Yes, they smell as sweet as they look. 

As far as my projects, I took a little break from crafting and posting so I could get serious about choosing and buying paint colors, lighting, and a new mirror for my bathroom redo. 

 I have finally decided on the colors I want! I can't wait to show you the "before's" and after's". After a year and a half of icy blue walls, boring lighting and mirror and a 1980's floral wallpapered door I've had enough. Stay tuned in the next few weeks for by big reveal! 

Thanks for visiting ReMadeSimple! 

May 4, 2012

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

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I interrupt this normally crafty/decorating blog to ask an important question: Who likes Thai food? It is really one of my favorites-tied with Middle Eastern-I really can't decide which one I like best but I love the blend of flavors and spices of both.

So, I haven't posted a recipe in a while-I haven't been cooking too many things with the addition of our newborn two months ago. It's been all about survival here and what's quick and easy, but as he sleeps a little more during the night, I get a little more energy to do more myself.

So one rainy day I decided it was perfect to try out my Thai cookbook with an easy recipe-chicken noodle soup with a bang.  I'm not sure I'll ever go back to the old way of making it...

I promise this recipe is really simple-it was my first Thai recipe I've ever tried and now that I know what I'm doing I will try something a little more daring next time. I present to you Thai Chicken Noodle Soup:

So, I didn't actually add the kaffir lime leaves because I didn't make a special trip to an Asian food store-maybe next time? But the lemongrass and ginger paste were conveniently in my produce aisle-with a $1 off coupon next to it-making it really easy and cheap to add these ingredients.

I love my Pampered Chef cutting mats-you can just bend them and slide the food into the pan.

Here's another easy way to add fresh flavor to your foods: I found these mini cube trays of herbs at Costco by a brand called Dorot.
They are filled with tiny portions of either crushed garlic, parsley or cilantro = genius! 

I had frozen fresh ground herbs before, but never had tiny trays like these 20 sections of 1 teaspoon each.  I plan on refilling these trays with my own fresh herbs from my summer garden-I'm dreaming of fresh salsa and pesto...mmmm....

I discovered using chicken tenderloins speeds things up too, because they don't need to be tenderized or marinated and can be cut into cubes quickly. Where have you been all my life?

One of these days when I don't have toddlers hanging on me while I try to cook, I will make homemade broth from scratch. In the meantime, there's my favorite Better Than Bouillon quick option-no MSG, all natural goodness, easily stores in the fridge.

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Yes, the weather's warming up, but it's still a great time to make soup, in my opinion. Add some ice cubes if you want. And guess what else? My whole family loved it (well, besides the newborn-but he will someday! ) It only took about 20 minutes to make. And I promise, it really wasn't a huge production=cooking success for this busy momma.  

Thanks for visiting ReMadeSimple! 

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