October 24, 2011

And more waiting…

We’re a week away from this baby’s scheduled due date, and I’m already getting a good dose of instruction in patience. 

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Most of my clothes don’t fit anymore, even the maternity ones.

My back makes a really gross crunching sound with almost every step.

The couch has become the most comfortable (and boring) place to be.

Motivation to leave the house is at an all-time low.

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And we’re generally getting pretty good at waiting.

And I’m getting plenty of opportunities to stare at various areas around the house and come up with project ideas….the natural consequence of boredom!

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Did I mention we’re scheduled to get a winter storm this week?  Baby will probably decide to make his/her entrance that day and we’ll get to finagle the hour-long drive to the hospital in the snow.

That’s the word from Murphy, at least.

Meanwhile, to do *something*  (ANYTHING), and get out of the house yesterday, we took a walk and played with our new camera.

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We’re getting a little better at using our camera, although I’m not sure a bad picture could be taken this time of year regardless of the camera!  Nick took most of these pictures – and at least one was even taken as we were still driving.

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Thought you’d like them, you know, in lieu of anything more interesting….like a baby.  Or a project reveal.  Or a really big project reveal…..like a baby?  The last 10% of a project is always the hardest to complete, after all. 

Any day now… Smile

October 21, 2011

Butternut Squash Custard Bake

I posted this recipe last fall.

But I just made it again, and it knocks my (and hubby’s) socks off, so it deserves another mention.

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Just to be clear….this dish is kind of like a veggie dessert.  It’s not quite as dessert-y as pumpkin pie, but it’s definitely crossing into the gray area between a sweet side dish and an all-out fall dessert. 

And that’s (partially) why it’s so awesome! 

I have no idea what to call this.  The original recipe calls it “Butternut Squash Casserole”, (blech!) but I think that’s a misnomer because I’ve never had a casserole that tastes so much like dessert.  (I also recently made a “yellow squash casserole”, and since we were expecting something as good as this recipe, that version was just about inedible.)

So I’m going to call it….Butternut Squash Custard Bake instead. 

Ready?

First, you’ll roast the squash – the original recipe roasts it differently, but I think my way is easier:

Grab yourself a butternut squash.  They’re pretty big, whitish-colored squashes in the veggie department.image

Slice it lengthwise down the middle.

Scoop the little bit of seeds out.

Put the halves face down on a rimmed baking sheet (flat side down – because we all know where the squash’s face is, right?)

Bake it at 375 for an hour.

When it’s done, let it cool (or not – I’m too impatient), and use a spoon to scoop out the cooked squash from the hard rind. Throw out the rind.

Then you’ll make the filling:

Put the cooked squash in a blender. 

Add:  1/2 C white sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1.5 C milk

Dash of vanilla and salt

3 eggs

2 Tbsp flour

1/4 C melted margarine

Blend it all nice and smooth.

Transfer your mixture to a 9x13 pan and bake it at 425 for 45 minutes.

And finally, you’ll make the topping:

While it’s baking,

Mix 1/2 C melted margarine with 1/2 C brown sugar and half a box of vanilla wafers (crushed up please).

After 45 minutes, take it out of the oven and add the topping.

Put it back in the oven at the same temp until the crumb topping is sufficiently brown/crispy, 5-10 minutes. 

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Watch your family members appear from the various nooks and crannies asking what that amazing smell is, and try not to burn yourself dishing it up before it’s cool!

Now excuse me while I go dish some up for breakfast…

Sig2

October 13, 2011

A Scandinavian Table Prayer

Scandinavian / Norwegian Table Prayer

A lovely reader emailed me recently about the Norwegian table prayer sitting on the buffet in our dining room.  Since this isn’t the first time I’ve gotten questions on that prayer, I thought I’d just do a little post about it. 

My mom’s side of the family is from a heavily Scandinavian part of the country, and although they’ve got some Swedish in them, they seem to identify most with their Norwegian roots.  But, you know….Norwegian, Swedish….it all boils down to Scandinavian!

“Welkommen” signs next to front doors, exclamations of “uff da”, and the occasional mention of lefse or the joke about lutefisk are not unusual when the family gets together.  (If you haven’t heard about lutefisk, it’s herring pickled in lye, and it seems to be one of those things that you either love or can’t stand the sight of!)

Have I mentioned that I actually find lefse in the grocery store these days!??  Mmmm.  We only buy it around Christmas, but yum. Good stuff.  (Potato tortillas covered in butter and sugar – how could you possibly go wrong?)

Scandinavian Table Prayer

Apparently, my grandma understands Norwegian, and I believe her parents spoke it fluently.  One of these days, when Rosetta Stone starts offering Norwegian, I might actually try to learn some myself!  (hint hint Rosetta Stone!)

Not too long ago, a large group of extended family even traveled to Norway to see the “homestead” from which our ancestors came oh….five generations ago (or so.)

So.  Now that you’re sufficiently dozing off….back to the prayer.  It’s a rather large frame, so it’s tough to get the whole prayer in focus (it extends the entire length of our buffet!) Also, I can’t take credit for the translation.  It’s written on the back of the frame, and I’ve heard it from family members often enough to have it memorized.

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It reads:

I Jesu navn går vi til bords
å spise, drikke på ditt ord.
Deg, Gud til ære, oss til gavn,
Så får vi mat i Jesu navn.

Amen.

And in English, the translation is:

In Jesus' name to the table we go
To eat and drink according to His word.
To God the honor, us the gain,
So we have food in Jesus' name.
Amen.

As for where I got it, it was a wedding gift from an aunt, and I think one of her neighbors actually made it.  Sorry I can’t point you to a specific source for it, but I’m sure if you must have one, they’re probably out there if you google around.

Happy Thursday!

Sig2

October 11, 2011

A Halloween Treat

Peanut butter ball bats

With Baby’s arrival anticipated for the day after Halloween, our Halloween plans are pretty much nil this year. 

No annual Halloween party.

No costumes (even though painting my belly like a basketball and wearing a jersey would be SO fun!)

No plans for the trick-or-treaters.  Sorry.  We’re probably going to be one of the boring, dark, undecorated, uninviting houses this year. 

No legitimate reason to make any fun Halloween treats.

Awww…..

But wait!  It’s football season!

Football game afternoons with friends are a great excuse for treats, dips, and other goodies, so why not make some Halloween fun a little early???

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The hubby and I got to brainstorming what kind of cute, easy little treats we could take to a football shindig this past Sunday. 

Lately, I’ve been making and eating peanut butter balls as a “high protein snack” recommended by the doc….and those round little PB balls are a pretty good shape to make into a lot of different things….

Like ….bats?

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We just needed some “bat wings”,  a way to darken the bats…and some “eyes” and “fangs”…

Chocolate to the rescue!!!

Hershey’s chocolate rectangles cut on the diagonal made great bat wings!

Rolling the balls in cocoa powder made them darker brown… (and wasn’t too bitter.)

And some white icing and sprinkles made excellent bat faces!

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Despite being pretty darn cute…..these “vampire bats” were also tasty little critters, and they were polished off in no time.

I guess you can’t go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter!

(I used my go-to peanut butter ball recipe, and I think any recipe would work just as well.  But if you really want mine, let me know and I’ll post it.)

 

Linked up to:

Blue Cricket Design, The Thrifty Home, House of Hepworths, the Shabby Creek Cottage

October 10, 2011

Repost: Master Bath: Got Space?

***This post was originally from October 2010! Somehow an edit caused it to repost in October 2011.  Sorry for the confusion – this bathroom remodel is all done and here’s a quick jump to the reveal if you haven’t seen it yet!  And now back to the original post…***

 

When we first moved into our house, we anticipated changing a few things.  And we also knew that a couple of those things would involve some significant expense, because they’re not things we’re willing to DIY.

One was our fireplace.

It started out as this (after I goofed around with iridescent paint on it)

And now it looks like this

Fireplace after

The second major project on the to-do list was our master bathroom and closet.  I’ve never shown pictures of these areas before….so brace yourself.

This is what we’ve got now:

The closet has double racks down the right side (you can see our hamper hiding back in there too)

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Shelves and hubby’s dresser at the end – both packed/organized about as full as I can get them.  I can’t reach that top shelf without the utility ladder, so it’s not a daily-basis type shelf.

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And a wall along the left with some hooks.  Some of my dresses are hanging from these hooks because there’s no room for them to hang down on the other side.  That Safeway bag is my VERY classy storage solution for all my nylons and tights.  Nice, huh?  If you really want one, email me and I’ll tell you where you can find one ;)  Har!

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So, in general, a bigger closet would be a huge improvement. I currently have a few long dresses also stored in the guest room closet, which I really want to get out of there because that closet will eventually need to be available for someone else’s things. 

Onward to the HUGE 5x8 foot master bathroom

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It has the bath/shower with the nice 3-piece vinyl tub surround... a toilet (jackpot!)…and a single vanity.  The bathroom door, when open, completely blocks the door into the closet.  And on the floor is a previous owner’s admirable attempt at an upgrade….peel-and-stick tile.  And yes, it’s the exact same kind and color as used on all those HGTV shows. 

I try to keep the vanity top less than 80% covered with my stuff, so I’ve gotten a little creative:

Jewelry storage – notice the push pins (hey, at least I made an effort at using CLEAR ones):

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And styling tool storage:

 

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I know we’re lucky to have a master bathroom.  I took it for granted until I got the impression from our next door neighbor that they DON’T have a separate bathroom and they share one with their two little kids.  I’m glad we have our own.  Incidentally, our hall bathroom/cat’s bedroom/guest bath looks strangely similar:

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And on the other side of the bathroom wall:

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Shoe storage.  Hair dryer storage.  Space for bedroom furniture or a dresser. 

But we have another idea.  I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow!

 

*This post was originally from October 2010!  Somehow an edit caused it to repost in October 2011.  Go HERE to see the next post about our bathroom remodel!*

The Nursery Reveal!

I’ve been yakking about this “black, white, and teal” nursery for long enough, don’t you think?  I’m probably about as sick of hearing about my “half-finished” projects, and “can’t show you all of it quite yet” as you are.

But now that Baby is due in less than a month, we finally got it pulled together!

Teal nursery

Anyway, the nursery is pretty colorful these days, but it really is a black and white and teal color scheme.  I used lime as an accent, and if we have a girl baby, I’ll add in a bit of plum as well.

First, we started off with paint, the moldings , the (so stinkin’) cute tree decal, and the fuzzy blanket I sewed.

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Then we finally got some furniture (big fat thanks to the soon-to-be-grandparents for helping us out!)

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And after that, I got a little stuck with décor.  I didn’t really want a theme…yet the tree was suggesting birds/trees/nature or something of that sort.  Plus, I was having trouble finding cute soft goods in the right colors.

To keep the dresser/changing area uncluttered, I settled on some baby pictures of Nick and I (to facilitate easy comparison of “he/she looks just like you/me!” of course!), and a simple white “bird” lamp plus a decorative box to give it height.

I had a little more fun with decals and put a bird family on the closet door:

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…And the wonderful husband put up some floating shelves over the dresser.

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To accessorize the shelves, I modified a cute and whimsical craft I saw on Pinterest.  It started out as a homemade piece of “Victorian” art in our guest room, and a year (ish) ago, when I put it together, I thought it was the cat’s meow.

Time does wonders for our judgment, doesn’t it?

Needless to say…I was over that little piece of “Victorian” creativity, so it was time for it to go.  Down it came out of the guest room, and the frame was repurposed into this guy:

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I used fabric scraps to make the birds. (I also had to sew about 8 birds to get 4 that were decent looking. Sewing tiny things is really tough, and my attempts to make the smallest seam possible compounded the problem.  Only later did I realize I could sew a nice easy 1/2 inch seam and then <gasp> trim off the extra fabric!)

Then, I found a cool pattern and decided to make the curtains myself.  I even special ordered the fabric.  But after putting it off to wait for my mom’s help, I got impatient just dove right in and figured it out.  It wasn’t completely painless, but it got done, and I’m really happy with the end result.

Valance for black and white nursery

Black white teal nursery

Next, I modified an inexpensive “hat box” to hide some electronics that have to stay in this room:

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And the last project was another use for the fabric scraps: a ribbon of flag pennants. It would be just my kid’s luck to be put in a crib and have some piece of décor (hung by his/her mother no doubt) fall off the wall and into the crib. So I opted for something that won’t do any damage if it somehow falls.

Black, white, and teal nursery

Pennants are super cute, and once I sat my pregnant butt down to actually make them, it was a quick and easy project. 

And now…..

We’re ready for baby!  Oh yeah, and the black and white (and teal!) nursery is ready too. 

Let the waiting begin Smile

 

Linked up to:  I Heart Naptime; Keeping it Simple; Dittle Dattle, the Girl CreativeThrifty Décor Chick; Tatertots & Jello; The Thrifty Home; Blue Cricket Design; House of Hepworths; the Shabby Creek Cottage

October 4, 2011

Time Capsule: $10 Transom Window

Since I admire one of my favorite projects almost daily (except on those days I don’t open the curtains), and since my blogging skills have improved a leeeetle bit since the original post back in March of 2010, I thought I’d do a recap of the $10 “transom window” I made with dollar store supplies.

As much as this picture shows how impatient I was to get the project done (and how excited I was to post about it – let’s be honest!)….

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It also really doesn’t do it justice.

The project first started when I moved my “Pottery Barn” drapes higher above the sliding glass door because they were too long for the rod. But then I had a big gap on the wall between the top of the door and the rod, and I just had to find something to fill it. Funny how projects snowball, isn’t it?

I initially thought I’d get some square medallions to put up there in a row, but then I got the idea to use mirrors to replicate a transom window. I thought I’d be buying cheap frames and mirrors, and doing the framing myself.

But the dollar store beat me to it! :-)

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A whopping $5 later, and these puppies were in my hot little hands!

While I was there, I also happened to notice a votive holder with a vintage feel, with a little flash of a fake jewel in the middle and some fake filigree. The light bulb went on!

I sprung for $5 more. Got them home, and ripped them apart:

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See where I’m going with this??

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Next, I needed to paint the frames white in order to make it look as much like a window as possible (and since all our other window trim is white.)

The fact that I had 4 black mirrors and one brown one didn’t exactly help either…

I got out the white trim paint and got to work. (I could be really sloppy because a razor blade works perfectly to get paint off of glass.)

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Then I used some Gorilla glue for the medallions, spray painted the rod oil-rubbed-bronze and called it a day.

Before = boring

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After = awesome! (and cheap = no guilt if I want to switch it out)

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BUT WAIT – THERE’S MORE! (infomercial style Smile)

We ended up painting the kitchen/dining room the next weekend, and it made such a huge difference.

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So here’s the current “after” for ya:

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To be fair, this picture includes several projects I’ve done since the original pictures, including painting the light fixture, refinishing the buffet, and doing the “faux tray ceiling.”

Everything is a work in progress Smile Maybe next time I take a picture of this room, something else will have changed (yeah, probably.)

Thanks for stopping by!

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Linked to:

The Thrifty Home

Blue Cricket Design

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