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Right on Time

We’re so excited about all the amazing advances that are happening at our home and in our lives. God has been exceedingly and abundantly good to us and we’re overwhelmed by His faithfulness.

We’re excited to announce after 5 years at Clemens Food Group Brian’s time there has come to an end. He has been extended an outstanding opportunity and accepted a position with Campbell’s Soup. I’m so proud of his leadership not only in our home, but at his place of employment.

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This vision is for a future time. 
It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place.    It will not be delayed. Habakkuk 2:3This transition took longer than we would have preferred, but we know that God’s promises are true. Waiting is not something we do easily, but we have lived in confidence and expectation that one day this vision would come to pass.

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God’s timing is always perfect and we know He always works things out together for our good! Brian is excited to start his new job with his new timepiece as a constant reminder that God is always on time.

If you like Brian’s watch you can enter to win a $100 credit for a Jord Wood Watch by clicking here. Everyone that enters will receive a $25 credit, but one person will take home the $100 prize!

Brian loves his new watch and receives compliments on its uniqueness wherever we go. It’s light weight and is made with excellent quality. Every watch comes in a beautiful wood protective case with a care package and instructions to care for your wood watch.

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Enter here to win $100 towards your own! Check out all the Jord styles, you’re sure to find something you’ll love!

 

Guacamole

Guac is a staple in our house. Mainly because we celebrate Taco Tuesday almost religiously. This is a simple 10 min guacamole recipe we engineered over the years.

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Ingredients:

  • Avocado
  • Tomato
  • Cilantro
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Garlic Powder
  • Pepper
  • Jalapeño or Crushed Red Pepper (optional)

If you’re feeling spicy, you can add a jalapeño! We’ll be adding jalapeños from our garden just as soon as they arrive! When we don’t have fresh jalapeños sometimes we add crushed red pepper flakes. We like a lot of spice in our life.

Half the avocado and remove the pit. If the avocado is perfectly ripe you should be able to scoop it out using a spoon with ease. Then dice a tomato. Sometimes I cut the end off of the tomato and squeeze out some of the juice before dicing it. This is the best way to keep the guac from getting watery.

Next into the bowl are spices! We started growing fresh cilantro in our herb garden this year. Fresh cilantro is KEY. As soon as I started cutting it I could smell the zest and it was OUTRAGEOUS. My mouth is watering thinking about the cilantro.

Once you’ve cut the fresh parsley and oregano you can add that to the guac along with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder –these ingredients are to taste. So you can go as heavy or as light on them as you wish.

Once all the ingredients are in you can mash it all together.

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We got this molcajete bowl from CostCo when we first got married. It’s incredibly heavy and annoying to store.

When to stop mixing the guacamole is a person preference thing. I do not like guacamole that is pureed. I like it a little chunky. So I stop mashing when it starts to look like this.

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Enjoy your next Taco Tuesday! Adios.

Wood Arrow Decor

A few months ago I made a custom decor piece for my sister’s birthday. She’s been obsessed with arrows for months and I wanted to give her something special. I made a wood canvas with 3 arrows and wrote her kids names on them.

I posted this picture on my instagram of the finished project and I was so overwhelmed by the awesome response I got.

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One of my very good friends is having a baby and when she told me the nursery theme is arrows, I knew I needed to make something for the new little man.

I used a table saw cut the wood and the same guided template I created when I made my sister’s decor to make the individual pieces. Normally I start projects with unpainted or unstained wood, but this was a large scrap piece I had from a previous project. I never used to be a hoarder. Actually, I get great joy out of throwing stuff away. I hate clutter. But I have a really difficult time throwing project scraps away because they can always be used int he future for one project or another. ANYWAY….

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I made cuts according to the guide for the set of 3 arrows I was working on, but then my creative juices took over. I scrapped the guide and started to work out this vision I had in my head. I was so excited about the layering look in the arrow head I could barely contain myself on the driveway as I was assembling the pieces.

I moved my operation from the driveway to the basement so I could stain and paint the wood. It was pretty windy the day I worked on this and I didn’t want grass blowing onto the wood while it was drying.

I played around with a couple different color patterns, but ultimately, I went with something I thought looked rustic-chic. My friend told me she painted the nursery shades of gray with a mint green accent color. I went with a rich colored stain and white to balance it out. I played around with the placement of white versus stain, but ultimately I went with the stain on the bottom. I tried putting it between the two white arrows, but it was too stripe-looking and immediately annoyed me. So I opted for this unbalanced look, which ironically looks incredibly proportionate because the brown stain is so much heavier than the white paint. Funny how our eyes and our brains play tricks on us like that, right? Or maybe I’m just a crazy lady.

I carried the color scheme through to the next decor piece to make them feel like a set. But I gave this one some flare because it was screaming at me to do something fun.

I fastened each piece with wood glue, but to be safe I used the nail gun to really secure all the wood pieces together.

Here they are in their sweet new baby boy home 🙂

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Also, here’s this little guy that I hand painted. It’s the same stain color, just a different take on the arrow theme!

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My friends make the sweetest babies! I’m so happy I got the opportunity to be a part of this little Prince’s world before he has even entered it. He’s going to be a mighty little boy!

Veggie Garden in 8 Hours

This was one of my favorite projects, but I have to admit, I was not prepared for the level of work this was going to take. If you already have a spot with no grass, or an existing garden to work with, I envy you. We picked the spot on the side of our house that the dogs cannot reach and started digging. Holy crap was this a lot of work. The digging was fun, but I was thinking ok, this is going to take 30 mins. WRONG. Our garden is 8X4. Which really isn’t even all that big. We were going to do 8×8 because we’re ambitious and I’m a crazy tomato lady. I want hundreds of tomatoes. I want enough tomatoes to create my very own little Italy in our neighborhood. But, I’m glad we scaled it back for our first garden experience because all my digging muscles hurt for two days.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4×4 pressure treated wood
  • Wood rails (you decide the length) pressure treated
  • Shovel or tiller
  • Deck screws
  • Soil
  • Plants to grow!

Here’s the area we started with. We took on piece of wood and placed it on the ground so we could start outlining the area our garden was going to be.

Digging the grass out and turning soil took 2-3 hours. The best advice I can give you is to wait until after it rains to start digging. It rained for almost 3 straight days before we started our garden, making the ground very pliable. We dug about 8 inches down and 16 inches in the corners. SUPER IMPORTANT: Spend the time to remove all the weeds grass, roots, and whatever else you see that can be disruptive to your veggies growth. This will also eliminate a serious amount of weeding that you’ll need to do in the future.

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This hand tiller really helped us turn the soil and find things in the ground that needed to be removed.

You’ll need a 4×4 cut down into 4 posts. Ours were just over 12 inches. We used scraps from a previous project. We used pressure treated wood so the frame wouldn’t degrade in the elements over time.

You’ll need wood screws to join the post to the frame for the garden bed. This part took maybe 20 mins and we did it on a flat surface. It was the easiest part of the project. Continue to work around the 4 sides screwing the frame into the 4×4 posts. Remember, the posts will go down into the ground. So when you’re screwing, line them up with the end of the post, not the middle.

Once the frame is finished, place it over the garden. You might need to reshape the corners of your garden if they’re not perfectly square. After the frame is in place, push the dirt around the edges to secure the posts into the ground and close any spaces between the wood and the ground.

A garden rake wil help you accomplish this step with speed. It will also bring to the surface any large rocks, weeds, or roots that you may have missed before.

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Once you’re happy with your foundation, you can add the soil! We used an all-purpose garden soil that Home Depot had one sale. We were trying to do this on budget, so sale soil it was! We used 14 bags of soil in total. Take a look at the measurements on the bag. It’ll tell you how many bags you need according the the square footage of your garden.

We put 10 bags of soil down, then we starting spacing out our plants. Pay attention to how far apart each plant needs to be from one another. In all honesty, we cheated a few inches. But it’s important that you give them some space so the roots don’t choke each other.

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Once you have all the place in their positions, you can add the remaining bags of soil. Depending on what kind of veggies you got, you’ll need to burry them at different depths. Pay attention to the watering requirements and depth requirements of each plant! Water them right away! They’ll need to adapt to their new environment and the best way to do that is to feed them!

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We planted 4 different types of tomatoes, 3 different types of sweet peppers, serrano and jalapeño peppers, eggplant and strawberries! I’ll let you know in 6-8 weeks if this was worth it! 🙂

Dog Rope Toy in 15 mins!

How long do toys last in your house? 18 mins? Yeah, us too! The Royals have accepted “tuff toys” as a personal challenge. Dog toys can be ridiculously expensive, even when you catch a sale at Walmart. But anything seems overpriced when it lasts for less than an hour. So here we go.

Brian and I have a bunch of old jeans that desperately needed to be retired. Instead of throwing them away, like they actually deserved, we turned them into a pit bull rope toy. Also, it was a really good excuse to go buy 5 new pairs of jeans. Here’s how it’s done:

First, you’ll need an awesome dog(s) to love and adore and give them all the cookies they deserve. Then get some old jeans you don’t want anymore. You’ll need to cut off the pant legs, so turn those old jeans into some daisy dukes… then throw them away… those shorts don’t lead to good decisions.

You’ll need to cut the pant legs open. You can cut straight up the seam. Open up the plant leg, then cut into strips. I was able to make 9 even strips.

Take the strips and group them at the top. You’ll need to squeeze pretty hard to tie a knot.

Then group the strips into groups of three and braid! Make the braid as tight as you can make it. Knot again at the bottom and you’re done!

Enjoy puppy play time! Please monitor your pups while they play! This DIY toy, like regular rope toys will fray. But look how happy the Royals are!

The Time I Made A Diaper Cake

So let me just start this off by confessing my deepest frustrations with Pinterest. It’s been a while since I’ve DIYed something I saw. While I was in the process of making this cake, I remembered why I stopped doing Pinterest Projects. I can’t handle the pressure. I get angry when things don’t turn out just like the pins. Ever see those #PinterestFail pictures? There is an entire community of people that are brave beyond measure, who have taken their Pinterest Fails and posted them for the world to laugh at.  Google it if you’re having a bad day. You’ll thank me. You’ll laugh until you cry, or pee. I guess that part depends on your personality and your level of voluntary muscle control.

Here’s my story. I was going to a baby shower and my mother-in-law thought it would be a cool project for me. Never having done this before and forgetting about my love-hate-relationship with Pinterest, I thought, yeah, definitely looks simple enough! For the most part it was. I read a lot about how other people did their cakes and combined the parts of what I thought would work for me.

Step 1. Go shopping, yay!

Everything in this picture is from Walmart. They’ve got great quality for the price, and also, it’s 1.5 miles from my office. Winner, winner, chicken dinner. Alright, so, get yourself a box of diapers. I think there are 189 diapers in one box, which is approximately a one-day supply for tiny people on an all liquid diet. You’ll also need some cute baby things to decorate the cake, and ribbon. (NOT PICTURED, BUT VERY IMPORTANT: Some from of string. We’ll get to this.)

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Step 2. Get a base. One of the first things I read is that you’ll need a base. GOOD ADVICE. You’ll need a huge piece of cardboard or something sturdier depending on how hard you go on decorating. These cakes get HEAVY.

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I used half a Chewy.com box from Duke and Duchess’ food. The other good piece of advice I found was to use a paper towel rolls as your center support. Tape that down to the cardboard so it doesn’t move while you’re building.

Step 3. Here’s where things got real.

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Come to find out, you don’t just line them up and then wrap the ribbon around them. No, no! This is the step where I discovered lies and deceit. Your bottom layer is going to be around 80 diapers. At one point I forgot what I was doing and thought I was playing dominoes. Do you know what it’s like to have 80 diapers falling all over the dining room floor and trying to keep the dogs from stealing them? I must have said “don’t touch that” and “drop that right now” at least 10x. Also, you need to put this section upside down. The part that goes around the baby’s waist is not strong enough to hold the diapers upright, thus, the diaper avalanche all over the floor. So I re-strategized my plan since everyone on Pinterest is a liar. The picture above was the most diapers I could get together without them falling all over the place. There are about 20 in the picture above.

Step 3 continued. New game plan: TWINE.

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I don’t remember why we had twine, but this saved my butt (see what I did there?). Wrap them up really tight because this will help condense all the diapers and give you a nice, firm BOTTOM 😉 to keep building on.

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Now, you can flip them back over and start making a nice crisp, layered look. At this point, I realized the twine was going to be the best thing ever, so I wasted no time tying up this layer. You might need an extra set of hands for this. All these diapers are a lot to hold in place and tie at the same time. I enlisted Brian’s help for this part. After I got it knotted I went back and filled in any spaces with extra diapers. The top layers will sit much nicer if your bottom later isn’t crappy (couldn’t help myself).

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So it’s starting to look like a cake, but it’s not as neat at the ones I was trying to mirror it after. I think my biggest issue was that I used every diaper. Most people made smaller cakes and kept diapers to the side. But this looks like organized chaos and I thought that was kind of ironic 🙂

Step 4. Add the ribbon.

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Step 4.1. Add more ribbon for a styled look.

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Step 5. Decorate!

You might need safety pins to hold your little baby items in place. The flowers were a fun add because they hid some of the imperfections that were driving me crazy. When you’re happy with the look, or you feel like it’s as good as it’s going to get, cut away the extra cardboard!

Here it is in all of it’s baby girl glory at the shower! It actually came out pretty nice.

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For the most part this was a fun DIY after I got over being lied to by everyone who has ever made a diaper cake before. This was definitely outside of my wheelhouse, but it was a nice brake from house stuff!

Linen Closet Shelving

The days of forgetting a towel and running naked through the upstairs to the hall closet are officially OVER! We DIYed closet shelves!

When we redid our master bath, we removed a huge jacuzzi tub to make room for a custom shower and a linen closet, something our bathroom was lacking. After the bathroom was finished we never got around to actually putting shelves in the closet. For a while the vacuum and a step ladder lived in there.

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Thats me! I need a hair cut, so I’ve been told. I’m 5’9″. So this is a really large closet. Can you see the excitement on my face about getting some shelves in here? WOO.

We opted not to use wire shelving because I kinda have OCD. It drives me BONKERS when things don’t stand up straight because they’re an awkward width. For example, a shampoo bottle might lean to the right a little bit because it’s between the wires. I can’t live my life like that. I struggle with this shelving crisis in our laundry room. Honestly, it makes me dizzy. So we went with wood!

This DIY involved some power tools. So make sure you’re prepared if you’re opting for wood like we did!

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Obviously we’re Ryobi fans. The batteries are awesome. They last a really long time and they charge quickly. On the left is the cordless circular saw, on the right is some kind of super drill. It’s awesome. Shortly after we bought our house we invested in the Ultimate Ryobi Combo Kit. It was a little pricy, but it was completely worth it. We’ve used every tool in the kit and the bag is perfect to keep tools securely stored. Now we have no excuse to lose any tools!

The Home Depot rocks. If you don’t have one near you, I apologize. Home Depot is usually our first stop for every DIY. Our “wood” shelving is actually MDF particle board. It’s really light weight and ridiculously easy to work with. The entire piece of particle board was $26 and they cut it to the size we specified right in the store so we were able to fit it in the car with ease.

 

We also picked up framing wood (actual wood) and made rails to hold the shelving in place.

When we got home I was so excited to start hammering and cutting and screwing stuff in place that I completely forgot that I needed to paint the wood. This DIY was super cheap, but it took us two weeks to execute because we needed to wait 24 hours for the paint to dry and multiple coats to cover the wood… and I’m too lazy to DIY when I get home from work, so we wait for the weekends. However, it only took around 4 working hours to paint (minus dry time) and hang the rails.

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I used Behr Ultra White to paint the MDF board and the wood rails. Our basement is gross… don’t look at this picture too hard. You will start to feel the cobwebs.

 

That’s my hot design assistant. Full disclosure: For this project though he was the boss and I was the assistant. He’s measuring the bottom shelf, cutting the wood rail to size and screwing it into the wall. If you can’t find studs in the wall, make sure you’re using anchors. The shelves will be too heavy once you put stuff on them to stay in place unsupported. Also, it’s easier to start from the bottom and work your way up. Maybe it’s not, but that’s what we did.

 

After we got in the first rails we tested placing the shelf on top. It fit really well, but we added a second piece just to make sure that the shelf wouldn’t accidentally drop. We repeated the process 4 more times. We opted to do a half shelf on top because we wouldn’t really be able to reach back on a shelf that’s 6 ft.

Here’s the final result! No more naked sprints and flinging water all over the upstairs! WOO!

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Industrial Shelving

I feel like we live at Home Depot. Our relationship with Home Depot is similar to most people’s relationship with Target. You come for one thing and you end up leaving with 100. The guy at the paint counter and I are on a first name basis. He’s the man. So last weekend, during our 9th trip to Home Depot of the week, we were looking for some wood to build shelving in our Master Bath and we saw these industrial pipe kits on sale. So immediately the wheels in my little DIY mind start turning. Brian was intrigued and then all of a sudden it was like he knew. He knew we came to do one shelving project and were going to leave with two. So here’s what this corner of our bathroom looked like to start with:

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The tile on the wall is NY SoHo tile from a whole sale tile place a few miles from our home. The Master Bath is by far my favorite room in the house and the largest transformation so far. I’m actually really surprised that its taken me this long to decorate.

Here’s the packaging and how the mount was organized. Everything we needed to hang the flange was included right inside this package. Stuff like this makes my heart dance. There’s no need to run around and figure out what kind of anchor you need or if you have the correct kind of screw.

I used the Ryobi Compact Laser Level to hang the mounts. This gadget is seriously worth every penny. I use it to hang stuff all the time!

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So once I got the level set, I took the wall flange and drew circles in the holes so I would know where to drill.

Buying wood at Home Depot is super easy! They even cut it for you, if you don’t have a table saw at home you don’t have to worry about fitting it in your car. Originally Home Depot cut the wood, but we needed to take a little more off when we saw how oversized it looked on the wall. I stained it using Minwax Honey and let it dry overnight.

Here’s the styled final product! I made the sign with a scrap piece of wood I had!

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Cast Iron Pasta Bake

This recipe is such a quick and easy favorite in our house. I always have frozen gravy (yes, it’s 100% called gravy) on hand, so this is really easy for me to make, especially when I’m in a rush.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cup Gravy
  • 1 lb Pasta
  • 3/4 c Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 lb Hatfield Sweet or Hot Sausage
  • Splash of white wine
  • Olive oil to coat the pan

Here’s how it’s done:

While the water for the pasta is boiling, start cooking the sausage in a hot cast iron skillet. You don’t want the sausage to cook 100% of the way, so make sure you’re paying attention to it and turning it every few mins. Add a splash of white wine.

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Admittedly, I hated cast iron skillets when we first got one. It freaked me out that you can’t clean it with soap and they are obnoxiously heavy. But they are awesome to cook with, so I’ve been converted. I’m not trilled that we have FOUR. But they are really great. If you don’t have one they’re definitely worth the investment. You can pick one up at Bed Bath and Beyond for $20.

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Don’t worry about the sausage not being 100% cooked, it’s going to finish cooking off in the oven! Cut them up into quarter sized pieces. While you’re cutting, preheat the oven to 35o*.

Don’t forget about the pasta! Put the pasta into a large mixing bowl and add the gravy. When you’re finished cutting the sausage add that and the 1/2 c of cheese to the bowl and mix!

Then put the pasta, sausage, and cheese back into the cast iron skillet. Add the rest of the cheese to the top!

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Put it in the oven for 20 mins. Here’s the final result:

Enjoy!

Christmas Card Display

Joy to the world, Christmas cards are on their way! Cards are one of the best Christmas traditions out there. Admittedly, Brian and I do not send out our own card. My parents take serious pride and joy in sending out a massive card with all 12 of us (people, not including dogs), on there.

Growing up my mom had a special basket (still does) designated for Christmas Cards in the middle of the kitchen. I always loved looking through it to see how families have grown from year to year. However, since the cards are in a basket the one on top is really the only one that’s visible.

I can’t and will not take credit for this DIY because one of my dear friends has done this in her kitchen every year since I’ve known their family. I borrowed this idea from her, but I love it so much I think everyone should do it if they don’t already!

So here it is!

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I love this because I can see all the cards at one time! and it adds some Christmas cheer to an otherwise un-decoratable pantry door. These are just the cards that we’ve received so far, but every time I walk by my heart is so full! I can’t wait for more cards to come!

Here’s how I did it…

What you’ll need:

  • Decorative Ribbon
  • Packing tape

Thats it!!!

The ribbon was $3 on sale at Big Lots for 12 feet. How can you go wrong with that? I can use the rest of the ribbon to wrap presents since there’s still a little less than half left.

Unwrap the ribbon and tape the end to the top of the inside of the door. You could probably use a push pin if you don’t mind puncturing a hole in the door, but the tape works just as well! Let the rest of the ribbon fall to the floor. Wrap the ribbon under the door and pull up, then cut! The last step is taping the bottom of the ribbon to the bottom of the door! Now you can tape the cards directly to the ribbon.

Merry Christmas!