Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Live Simply

I am happy to report that the kitchen walls, the chairs and the bookcase were all repainted with no major malfunctions. I am still waiting for the backs of the chairs to be recovered (major sewing involved so they are being shipped several states away to my mother-in-law!) so the big reveal will be awhile away.

In the meantime, here is a sneak peek at something I bought for the walls. I love its message-  what an important thing to be reminded of daily.

I am going to soak up all these wonderful last moments of summer and get in some extra snuggles before I send the girls off the school.
Hope you are enjoying all the simple things that make your heart sing too,

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Going Grapes

Awhile ago I did a post about our updated kitchen . We installed cork flooring, a new butcher block countertop and a beadboard backsplash. You could never tell from the (before I had a digital camera) photos but it is actually an eat-in kitchen. The reason you never saw a table or anything else- sour grapes! Eight years ago when we moved in, I decided I wanted a grape- themed kitchen so we installed this border.

The walls look like are sponge painted sage green, but if you look closer...

...you will see all of the walls have this texture on them. Instead of painting them with a roller, we ragged the paint on and it gave it this sponge-painted effect.

Eight years ago, I really loved the way it looked.  Recently however, it looked outdated to me. I longed for a simpler, fresher look- no theme, no sponge-paint!

The real catalyst for change was the girls' booster seats though. Actually the removal of the booster seats from the kitchen chairs. The girls insisted they didn't need them any more.
Oh the horror that was lurking beneath those seats!

Luckily for you this photo does not do the stained, disgusting paint-peeling chair justice.
So the chairs HAD to be re-covered.

The thought process went a little like this: Time to shop for new fabric- Yipee!
Why not re-paint the peeling paint on the chairs too?
Why stop painting there? Let's repaint the walls and get rid of the grapes!
Could we paint the bookcase as well?

Which brings us to- two days ago my kitchen looked like this...

Yestraday, like this...

This morning, like this...

So now with three days before I have to go back to work, four days before the girls start preschool ...
am I totally nuts?

Hoping I am not crazy and I can pull this off in time,

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Soup-er Favor/ Gift Idea

The girls' birthday isn't until the end of November but somehow I always start planning it during the summer, probably because I have a little extra time. This year however, planning early really paid off because I was able to gather things for the party that would have been difficult to find in late November. The girls are having a pool party at our local community center and so we came up with a mermaid theme.

I have lots of party details I am working on but I always get the most excited about the favors. In addition to the traditional favors for the children I always like to make another "family favor", this way adults who attend the party without children (like the all important grandparents!) have a special thank you as well.
This year's family favor is a soup in a jar mix, perfect for that chilly time of year. I am hoping it will be something the families will enjoy making together and it will remind them of the fun they had at the girls' party.

To incorporate our mermaid theme I used shell pasta and am calling it Sea Shell Soup.

Originally I was going to use glass mason jars but when I found these I knew they were the better option. First, they have a handle so it will be much easier for party guests to carry home. Second, they are much lighter than glass which my back (or Mr.Cabin's) will appreciate when we have to lug all of them to the community center.

Here is the front side of the favor tags.

The opposite side of the favor tag with the soup recipe directions.

Sea Shell Soup in a Jar Recipe

1/3 cup beef bouillon granules
1/4 cup dried minced onions
1/2 cup dried split peas
1/4 cup barley
1/2 cup dry lentils
1/3 cup long grain white rice
1 cup uncooked large shell pasta

1.. Layer ingredients in the order given: bouillon, onion flakes, split peas,  barley, lentils, rice, and enough shell pasta to fill jar.

2.  Attach tag with cooking instructions: In large kettle, brown 1 pound ground beef or stew beef cut into bite-size pieces in a little olive oil. Remove  pasta from top of jar and reserve. Add the rest of the jar contents to the kettle with 12 cups water. Let come to a boil and simmer 45 minutes. Add  pasta and simmer 15 minutes more.

Of course, you could change the recipe and use different types of pasta. If you were making these for a gift, tri-color spiral pasta would add even more interest to the layers in your jar.
How cute would wagon wheel pasta be for a cowboy or construction themed party?
Or you could even use the cute shape pastas like dinosaurs that come in the macaroni and cheese boxes.
The possibilities are endless.

Isn't this a soup-er favor idea?

Linking to these super parties...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cool Cucumbers

After being away from the garden for almost two weeks, we came home to "Cucumbers Gone Crazy."
I kid you not, they are climbing up into my neighbor's pine tree.
Plus, they are gigantic. These two are seventeen inches! Mr. Cabin says they are a little bitter when they are this big but we grew them so we're gonna eat 'em!

So here is just a fun little trick I use to fancy my cucumbers up a bit before tossing them with our favorite dressing.

First, peel them.

Then take a fork and run it down the length of the cucumbers to create little grooves.

It will look like this.

Then when you cut them into slices, they will look all fancy-schmancy like this...


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Stumbling Upon Sandcastles

"At the beach, life is different.
A day  moves not from hour to hour but leaps from mood to moment. We go with the currents, plan around the tides, follow the sun...

"At the beach, treasure is what we find not what we buy."

At the beach, we stumble upon other people's castles.
We marvel and admire. 
When they are swept away we do not mourn because we know
that is the way it is...at the beach.

At the beach, we reconnect with our simpler selves and all is right with our souls again.

Quotes taken from How to Live at the Beach by Sandy Gingras

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

between cottage, cabin and coast

We are headed off to the beach! 
Nothing like heading south to slow down the pace a bit and truly savor the last sweet days of summer. But before we go, I wanted to announce the winner of the $40 CSN gift certificate.

 Congratulations Renee!
Thank you to everyone for all of your lovely comments about the girls' new room. I wish I could let everyone win!

While we are at the beach I will have no computer or internet access so I might be going through some major blog-withdrawl syndrome. However, I think it is good to totally unplug every once in awhile. I am looking forward to some quality sandcastle building time, watching a few sunsets and letting the waves bury my feet in the sand.

I will also be on the hunt for a few things for my lastest project- the girls' birthday party. Here's a sneak peek:

It's a mermaid themed pool party! Can't wait to tell you all about it!

Hope you are savoring the last sweet days of summer too,
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