Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Kitchen Shelves

Have I mentioned lately that I have an awesome husband? :)

Not only is he great at building projects, but he's also great at reading my mind when I try to explain projects and show him 4 different pictures and then proceed to ask for a combination of all of them.  It can sometimes be a tall order.  So, when I came up with the idea of some shelves in our kitchen to work for practical, yet pretty storage, he quickly busted out a design for them.  And the best part?  It's SUPER sturdy considering some of the things I wanted to put on the shelves are a little on the heavy side.   

Another plus?  When he tore out the old waterbed bed frame/platform-y thing-y from the basement, there was lots of scrap lumber that he's turned into awesome projects...more on those to come soon.  But, here's the play-by-play of him installing the shelves:
 He started by bolting these pieces into the wall so that the shelves were extremely strong and we didn't have to worry about the glass jars and pottery falling and crashing to the floor.
 I'm not crazy about what's on the shelf yet...but they're super-functional and add some storage space in a kitchen that's lacking that. 
 Some of the jars we picked up at Ikea and some are standard Ball jars.  The pottery is from good family friends of ours who own Sturgeon River Pottery.  If you're ever in Petoskey, you should check them out -- they make beautiful pieces!
 Right now, we're storing rice, sugar, almonds, oatmeal, and popcorn in the jars...but we'll see how that changes. 
 I just love these jars from Ikea -- and at less than $5 for each, you just can't go wrong!
So there's our lovely new shelves!  Stay tuned for the creme brulee recipe :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

It's been quite the weekend!  We spent time with our family, relaxed, and got some projects done around the house (tutorials and posts on projects to come soon).  So, here goes a little picture rundown on our weekend...

After church this morning, we headed to my parents house for a delicious breakfast and play time with the boys!
First, the cutest lil guy after church rocking the Converse All-Stars
 The Easter Bunny brought Army men for the boys and they were having a good time playing with them all day!
At my parent's house, the Easter bunny brought the boys 'bubble guns'.  So here's how we spent a solid half hour this afternoon...

 This little boy knows how to pout :)
 They even blew bubbles in the window while Grandma Patty was doing dishes!
 Then it was time to come in and eat some dessert -- the boys enjoyed some Creme Brulee.  I made it yesterday and if you've never tried making it, it's super-easy.  I'll post sometime this week about how to put it all together.  Plus it looks super fancy and I promise people will be impressed! :)
 Here's a closeup that Mason snapped of the creme brulee!
 And one of the Grandmas -- my mom's mom Annie, my mom, and my dad's mom Eloise!
 To finish off our great Easter weekend, we took a stroll down by the waterfront with the Whit-bug.  Let's just start by saying that Whit LOVES to swim.  She's had her swim toy out for the past few months and is ready for the cottage and lots of swim time.  So we took her down to the water and let her splash around!

 We hope you all had a great Easter weekend and have a fantastic week!  Keep your eyes peeled for a few posts about our weekend projects and that creme brulee recipe!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Snow Day & Strawberry Pancakes.

Good Day to you!  We woke up to this...
A winter wonderland.  And a SNOW DAY!  Now being a teacher I love a snow day just as much as any student does...but I don't necessarily love 5" of snow on April 20th!  Just look at our poor patio.  I think hammock is about to have hypothermia!  And to think that just two weekends ago, we cooked dinner over the fire and had a great time eating outside with my brother's family...

But, I'm staying warm, don't you worry!  I couldn't fall back asleep after finding out we had a snow day, so I'm getting busy on cleaning up around the house so I can sneak a nap in later.  And as is tradition, I started the day with a yummy breakfast.  Today I tried a recipe from one of my Food Network magazines that I stumbled upon last night (and silently bookmarked in my head just in case).  

You can find her recipe by clicking on the link above or you can cheat like I did!  Because we didn't have buttermilk on hand and I wasn't willing to scrape 5" of snow off my car just for that, I went with the easy route: complete pancake mix.  Do you use it and love it?  We do.  My dad (one of the best pancake makers I know) swears by it.  Now, on to the recipe...and a few pics of the steaming hotcakes to get you drooling :)

Complete Pancake Mix (however much you need...depends on how many you plan to feed)
Strawberries, sliced vertically
Pam or veg oil, for greasing 

1) Just follow the recipe on the box for however many pancakes you plan on making and mix up the batter.
2) Make sure to grease your pan, grill, griddle and then pour some batter over top.
3) Plop the strawberries neatly around the pancakes.
4) ***IMPORTANT*** The strawberries tend to stick when you flip the pancakes.  I found that it was best to leave some room on the griddle, and then give it another spray of Pam before I flipped the pancakes.
5) Top with syrup and LOVE!

Speaking of syrup, I've been wanting to try some of the new agave strawberry syrup.  Have you guys seen this stuff?  But since I have a half gallon of agave syrup in the fridge in the garage, I thought I should probably try to make it myself.  I was searching for a recipe this morning and stumbled upon a few, but also on some recipes on how to make strawberry agave freezer jam.  So if strawberries are still on sale and I can make it to the store later, I'll let you know how it goes :)

Ooooooooh and I almost forgot, we're heading to our community college tonight to hear the Director of "Food, Inc." Robert Kenner.  I'm sure I'll have lots to report back on soon....let's just hope he can make it to Northern Michigan with all this snow!!

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Miscellany Monday & BBQ Chicken Pizza

We are blessed.  I mean, literally blessed.  Let me tell you a few reasons why...

1) On Friday night JW and I had massages and then we had our first 'overnight' with my precious nephews.  We started off frosting and eating cupcakes.  Braden was hilarious!  I think he figures why use his hands to eat the cupcakes when he can go straight to the frosting with his mouth.  He did the exact same thing yesterday morning after church with his donut!  Our night was great and we woke up to a few episodes of "Little Einsteins" and pancakes and apples!  So why does this make us blessed?  Well other than the obvious reason that we love hanging out with the boys, when we lived downstate we rarely got to see them so we truly relish in the fact that they live literally five houses down the street!

2) We had another great dinner with our friends in town on Saturday night.  We have come to meet and spend lots of time with an amazing group of friends in Petoskey and for that we are definitely blessed.  Maybe one of these days I'll actually take a picture of all of us together!
3) My after-school program kids were so absolutely awesome today!  Our homework session was productive and my homework group is doing great with their grades!  Then, in my computers class, we were working on fairy tales with a twist and they were super-creative!  I was smiling ear-to-ear.  Successful project planned!

4) My belly is growing a bit.  One of my students in the after-school program told me I looked "bigger".  Ha!  I double-checked that she meant that in a good way.  Here's a pic of the belly popping!  I'm a little tired as it was a long day, so please disregard the sleepy face...

5) I came home to the MOST delicious bbq chicken pizza made by my husband!  So, here's a recipe and a few quick pics...

Frozen pizza dough (you can usually find these around the frozen pizza section)
BBQ Sauce
Cooked Chicken, cut into pieces
Bacon Bits
Red Peppers, cut into pieces
Mozzarella Cheese
1.  Make sure you take your pizza dough out of the freezer a day in advance.
2.  Roll out the pizza dough using some flour.
3.  Sprinkle some corn meal on the bottom of a pizza stone or cookie sheet.
4.  Top the crust with bbq sauce and then cheese and chicken, peppers, and bacon.
5.  Bake at 450 for about 13 minutes. 
6.  Start drooling when you see pizza come out of the oven...then EAT!

That's all that's going on in our neck of the woods...well except that it's snowing...again.  Our back patio is pretty classic with our hammock and patio furniture out and a light dusting of snow.  We're supposed to get some serious snow on Wednesday, so I'll be sure to snap a picture then!

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Wonderful Week!

Holy cow this week has flown by!  In addition to heading back to school, we did a 'few' small projects around the house.  JW added trim in the basement bedroom and we now have a toilet in our basement bathroom -- I know, novel idea!  Pictures of the basement bathroom from before and after coming soon!

Yesterday we had another appointment for the baby!  Although it was a quick appointment, we did learn that we get to find out more about Baby L in two weeks...like whether 'it' is a he or a she!!!  We cannot wait!  We're sooooooooooo excited to find out!  
As for our weekend?  No huge plans.  A little work on the house, hanging out with friends on Saturday night...and then playing Aunt E and Uncle JW tonight!  See JW and I bid on a package at a fundraiser that included two massages and a night's stay at a lovely local hotel known as The Inn at Bay Harbor.  The gift certificates just happen to expire tonight and don't you worry JW and I are both getting a massage this evening (CAN NOT WAIT!), but then we opted to let my bro and sis-in-law relax in the hotel room.  My SIL is an accountant and CRAZY busy, so we thought it might be nice for them to have some alone time and get a good night's rest, with no boys or pups to bug them!
Photo from here

So JW and I get to hang with the nephews and 3 pups: Mocha, Whit-bug and Pete.  It'll be a bit of a crazy night, but should be fun and we can't wait to play with those crazy kiddos!

Have a happy weekend! :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekend Fun!

What a weekend!  We packed so much into a few days, but in doing so, my camera seemed to stay in one spot...my purse.  Bummer.  Anyway, here's a little bit about what we did...

On Friday we headed down to Mount Pleasant to meet up with our good buds, Ryan and Jessie.  We crashed at their place and our pups, Whit and Cubs got to hang out!  Then, Saturday morning Jessie and I headed to Alma to meet up with a bunch of our alumni buddies to play in the 2nd annual ACVB Alumni Tourney.  Like last year, it was a blast!  We played all day long and laughed about all our memories from our college years.  It's such an amazing opportunity for us to all get back together.  We had a blast.  But I think I can speak for all of us in saying that we are all still feeling it (2 days later, ha).  Well worth it though.
This is last year's pic, but it was all I could find!  Love you girls!

Sunday morning was filled with working around the house.  After all it was super rainy outside.  JW added some trim to the guest bedroom and bathroom downstairs, we put on outlet/light covers, and began to set up the bedroom downstairs.  Although it's not complete, we're ready for visitors!!!
Please ignore the naked box spring...I forgot our bedskirts are all light green.  Time to pick up one that matches our great duvet cover from Ikea!

Then, around noon we realized the rain had gone away and the sun was out and....it was WARM!  I mean, so warm, I busted out the sunscreen!  So I lounged on the back deck for a bit while JW did a little yard work and we made plans for dinner over our fire pit!  It was a success.  I wish I had pictures...but again I was slacking.  We even ate dinner outside with my bro and his fam and our good friend Court and her 'baby doggy' Brady.  We finished up and got inside just before the rain continued.  At which point, we had a few dance parties to "the King Louie song" and "Bare Necessities" and were entertained (as usual) by the nephews.  Then it was time to eat chocolate chip cookies.  Braden really liked them -- can you tell? :)

So that was our fantastic weekend.  Today is my last day of spring break before resuming to the normal life of teaching again.  But I just did the count and there are only 41.5 more days of school left till the end of the year -- WOOHOO!

Friday, April 8, 2011

I can't wait...

FOR SUMMER!  Or really, just some warmer weather.  It's been chilly up here.  I love reading the blogs of all those lovely ladies in the south, but I practically start drooling over their green grass and trees budding...not to mention sun dresses and no coats!  I mean, yesterday was supposed to be the best day this week at almost 50 degrees...and now it will probably snow.  Ok, not really, but we're just VERY ready for spring up here!

So today I'm daydreaming that it's a beautiful spring day and thinking about when it will officially be summer and our cottage will be open.  I've already decided I will be there pretty frequently as I'll be pretty preggo this summer!  Ready for this??

Cottage campfire!
Me &  JW
mmmmm...Shish kabobs...can't wait for our garden and the farm market down the road!
And I can't wait for these beauts to start popping up at the farm market!
Yep, this is my husband and the Whit bug in the kayak.  She LOVED it.  He didn't love it so much when I threw her water toy and she jumped out to swim after it ;)
This was the first weekend I ever brought Jon up north.  We'd only been dating for about a week and a half.  Then I introduced him to half my family.  Needless to say, he survived! :)
AAAAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhhh.  Happy Friday!   Enjoy the sunshine :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Nursery Semi-Reveal

Well, the nursery is on its way!  We laughed the other day about how we were so not procrastinating with this project.  I always think of nursery completion pictures happening when the lovely preggo lady has quite the belly to show off.  I have a bump....barely.  When I was trying on a dress the other day, the salesperson did not even believe that I was 4 months pregnant.  Oh well...it'll get there I'm sure.

So anyway, JW did a lot painting on Sunday and Monday to change our guest room from this... 
 To this beautiful shade of blue.
We also got the crib and the dresser set up.  Although we are nowhere close to being done, we do have quite a few of the elements we love.  The Ikea floor lamp was actually something we bought for our wedding reception to add some lighting to the venue, but we love that it feels whimsical and not too bright in this space.  We also picked up two lime green buckets at Pottery Barn Outlet for half the price of what you can buy them for in the catalog! 
 Although the rocker won't stay there permanently, we thought it was a cute addition to the room and I just sewed up that pillow this morning with red tag home decor fabric samples from JoAnn Fabrics.  Add to that my teacher discount and I got the patterned side and a solid blue sample for $3.16.  

Like I said, we're certainly not done yet, but we're off to a good start.  We still have visions of adding shelves, finding a great chair, and putting up some prints I've been crafting in publisher.  In addition, while I was watching my nephews yesterday they both checked out the 'baby' room.   Therefore, it's been kid-approved! Braden, the 2 year old was searching for the baby.  Cutest thing ever.  He kind of gets the concept that the baby is in Aunt Erin's belly, but when you ask him where the baby is he points to his belly, ha!

So, what do you think?  We'd love to hear ideas or thoughts that you might have!