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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Officially a Minnesotan...Again

Well, my daughter and I finally made it driving through several states from Georgia to Minnesota leaving my husband and our pup behind for the meantime. I wish I could say how absolutely wonderful it has been being home, and I totally could {besides the obvious of missing my better half} but it has been pure chaos.

We came home after 10+ hours a day for two days in the car, exhausted! There was no time to waste. Hours turned into days, that turned into the past 2 weeks of cleaning and fixing repairs at our townhouse we rented out while we were at the Army's expense; plus moving our stuff in and unpacking the little amount of things we could fit in our Trailblazer... Whew!

Then comes the important stuff. You know -- all the shopping! Picking out paint colors for the walls, "dream" furniture for my daughter's bedroom, "dream" furniture for my bedroom.

But first and foremost, I need a living room (8' x 10'-ish) rug. The carpet has now been worn down a bit and I need to preserve it as much as possible for resale sometime down the road. We are on a tight budget until I firmly plant my feet in a job, but with being so busy, I haven't had a second to really sit down and look!

{ps - I'm off the clock at the moment..}

Anyway. Here are a few inspirations and examples of which I plan to implement.

My #1 choice, but a little out of budget.
Love. And getting closer to budget.
Gorgeously neutral and half off! I want it.
I'm in dyer need of scratching this itch now. Off to convince the hubby we need this, like, yesterday. Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Kids' DIY Keepsakes

As the time nears closer to moving day, my daughter and I are exploding with DIY project ideas we can't wait to do for the new house. We have visions from paint colors for the walls to throw pillows and back-splashes to furniture layout.

But there are other fun projects we've already started.

My girl is very artsy fartsy. If anything has to do with coloring or painting, she's all about it. She wanted to repaint an old bird house she never finished when she was younger. Choosing the color palette was a daunting task to decide, but she ultimately decided to keep it in the blue family since that's one of the tentative plans for the new house.

The finished product. Mighty fine job, young lady.

On to the next project.

I've been going through a lot of her things getting ready to pack and I realize as time slips on by, I'm having a harder and harder time with her growing up so fast. When she was three, I stamped her hand print on a ceramic heart she painted. It turned out beautiful! A mother couldn't be more proud.

And now I've decided it's time to create a silhouette of her. These type of pictures stand out to me as beautiful pieces of art. It's personal in a sense that it's your family, but not as blatant as a photograph. I just love them.

How to create a silhouette
My goal is to gather these special imprints of her growing up and place them in a large frame on the wall.

This is my inspiration from Fresh Style magazine

I'm excited to finish this project and have a little piece of her younger years beautifully displayed.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Happiest Place On Earth

My little family and I just got back from a fabulous trip to Disney World. My mother-in-law took my daughter down there for a surprise vacation, and my husband and I crashed the party!

We had the most amazing time. I keep being asked what was my favorite part? Most definitely, I'd have to say was the day at Magic Kingdom. The castle is the epitome of Disney to me. So delicate, beautiful, girlie and full of that fairy tale love.

Made me grin from ear to ear.

I can remember the first time I saw this sight when I was just a little older than my daughter now. I was in awe. So perfectly magical. Ever since then, I knew I belonged in a Magic Kingdom just like this one. And that fairy tale is in the making..

As we traveled throughout all the parks in the Orlando area, we found ourselves feasting on the most delicious and fattening foods, walked all day, every day until we had hot spots on our feet, and we {what felt like} were dropped from the sky many, many times from the rides.

The most traveled ride was at Sea World, called the Manta Ray. It was IN-SANE!! Not only is your upper body strapped in, but your feet are as well. But not to stop there, the seat tilted you forward to where you were pretty much laying down... I was dying inside. I'm terrified of heights and slightly claustrophobic, but if my 10 year old can do it, I guess I can give it a try.

It. was. awesome.
My sweet baby girl went from her shy, reserved little self to our very own little Roller Coaster Queen in the matter of .. one ride. She was a trooper.

There is something about a vacation that brings a family closer together. Getting away from all the hustle and bustle of daily life to relax and bond in a way you wouldn't do, or find the time to do otherwise.

I'm so thankful she got to experience the happiest place on earth - and that I got to share that with her. It truly is a magical place.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Anticipating another move

Well, my husband and I just made the tough decision that under all circumstances in this economy, I need to move back to Minnesota a little earlier than planned. He being ALMOST done in the military, has to stay here in Georgia until his term in December. 4 months of being separated once again. But this time, I can be thankful he's on our ever-so-wonderful US soil!

We have a townhouse back home that was (so thankfully) rented out while we've been at the Army's dispense. Our house is now vacant, and we can't have that. So I'm moving back to find a job and bring home some eggs to contribute to my hubb's bacon for our family.

There are about a bajillion projects I'd like to do to make it feel like home again. In the past couple years, like everyone else, we've lost uber thousands of dollars in equity. Seriously not okay with that - and I'm not about to lose that much $ on this place. So, we have to take it room-by-room.

On to my first project..

Current kitchen + living room space

Adding a backsplash to the kitchen

Paint the cabinets a white hue
I should mention, I bought this house when I was 20 and it holds many, many great memories for me. It's bitter sweet that we get/have to move back into it after 8 years. I'd love nothing more then to move on to a big house with a white picket fence, but I'll just have to hold on to that dream for a little while longer.

Next up, the living room area..

This is a pic of when it was rented out
I have black couches and mostly black furniture. I plan to spruce up the walls in a light warm gray, then change the curtains to a bright white linen I found here that won't break my budget.

But the best part of redoing a living room space is new color and patterns. What better way to do that with than throw pillows?! Here are a few of my top choices.

White and yellow chevron pillow

Treillage aqua pillow

Black and creme trellis pillow

I can't wait to get started on these projects!! Before and after pics are to come in just a few short weeks!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Party with a peacock

I'm in love with peacocks. I really am. Well, more-less their beautiful, brightly colored feathers, rather than the actual bird itself.

So when I recently found the most fabulous thing I've ever laid my eyes on, my heart skipped a beat. And when you combine my favorite little birdie and my favorite liquid food group, you get = love. I am dying for these wine glasses!!!

Peacock Wine Glasses from Etsy

When peacocks gather in groups they're called parties. I think these wine glasses are absolutely fitting.

One thing really, really great about "growing up" is your palate for beverages grows up too. I've always been in to white wines. The sweeter the better. Riesling, Gew├╝rztraminer and to spice it up a bit, I'd choose the occasional Chardonnay. I pretty much ran that pony into the ground. How does that saying go, "Rode hard and put away wet"? I'm so over it.

Red is the new white.

But before I acquired the taste for red, I never understood how people could drink it. It was too bitter, dry, or almost left a buttery film aftertaste. But this summer, my parents came down for a visit and they mostly drink red, so I bought a bottle for them when they arrived.

That was the week my relationship with Cabernet Sauvignon changed forever. It's purely heaven. My favorite so far is Robert Mondavi, Woodbridge edition and it's only like $7 a bottle! I haven't dabbled too far into many others, but I'm okay with that. My Cab Sav is where it's at.

Don't get me wrong. Captain Morgan and I still know how to have a good time, but the fun I have with Mr. Mondavi is like no other.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Foodie Wannabe

I am an avid Food Network watcher. Guilty as charged. Being such a fan of the network has broadened my cooking and baking skills pretty well over the years. I'm no Bobby Flay, but I ain't half bad either. On that note, there still is a definite down side to this: I always have the munchies.

I have a terrible weakness for sweets... and salt... and... you get the drift. This is not good thing. My figure is not thankful, or forgiving for that matter.

I have a tendency to turn to the dark side (needless to say: chocolate) after my daughter goes to bed. This way she can't see me give in to temptation so she begs for dessert, too. I'm awful, I know; but hey, someone's gotta be the bad guy! Boy, I love being the adult... then sometimes .. I wish I had that someone to tell me, "You don't need dessert tonight either, Crystal."

My husband wouldn't dare dream to be the one who utters those words to me. So to save face, we're trying to be healthier together. Making the conscious decision to not just lose a few l.b.'s, but be healthier all around. It's not the easiest transition to make, so I'll share a few of my favorite Weight Watchers recipes:

Living in Alaska, Halibut quickly became my favorite food group. I ate it everywhere we went. Here's a recipe you can try at home.

Baked Halibut
4 (1/4 pound) halibut fillets
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 tsp olive oil
2 Tbsp plain dried breadcrumbs (I use Panko)
2 Tbsp capers, dried
1/4 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup minced flat leaf parsley
4 lemon wedges

*Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9x13" baking dish with nonstick spray. Place the fillets skin side down in the baking dish; sprinkle them with the lemon juice. Brush each fillet with the oil, then sprinkle with the breadcrumbs, capers, salt and pepper.
Bake until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Spoon any pan juices over the fish and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve at once, with the lemon wedges.

Breakfast, dessert or a mid-afternoon snack, smoothies are amazing. And easy on the thighs!

Berry Energizing Smoothie
1 ripe banana
1 cup of your favorite berries
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup ice
1/4 cup plain yogurt

*Blend well in a blender (I use my Magic Bullet for portion control) and enjoy! Use fat free ingredients for fewer calories!

And the best for last. Dessert rules my life. I'm so thankful for a sweet treat that won't kill my day!

Whipped Cream Chocolate Pie
4 1/2 oz chocolate wafer(s), processed to crumbs
4 Tbsp regular butter, melted
3/4 cup(s) heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, curled or grated with a vegetable peeler

*In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs with melted butter until fully-incorporated; press into bottom of a 10-inch spring form pan and place in refrigerator.

In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on high, beat cream, sugar and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form; gently fold in half of chocolate. Spoon whipped filling over prepared crust and decorate with remaining chocolate; cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, run a knife around edge of pan and release outer ring of spring form pan. Cut into 12 pieces and serve. Yields 1 piece per serving.

On my way to a better me!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bedroom revamp inspiration

Window curtains in "Waverly Bedazzle Silver Linning"

Cirrus Bedding from Anthropologie

Sea Gull Lighting 5-Light Brushed Nickel Chandelier from Lowe's

Rafael Bed in Oyster from Z Gallerie

Espresso furniture

Soft yellow paint for the walls