Monday, March 23, 2015

Ethan's Transportation Nursery!!

When it comes to doing our kids' rooms, I love to come up with a theme that is not babyish that will last and grow with the child, something he's unlikely to hate when he gets bigger and of course something that I can run with decor wise. 

The inspiration for Ethan's room was the vintage cars fabric in the picture below and then we found the paint colors to match! We got the paint from Home Depot - Behr Premium Plus Ultra in December Eve for the blue and Grape Leaves for the green!

Ethan's room before, after we put up the chair rail, and then after we painted. 
Perfect match!

Of course we had to paint the fan blades to match the grey furniture (they were dark brown on one side and light wood on the other) and then shampooed the carpet!

Next, came the "lifetime" furniture from Baby's and Kid's First Furniture in Sugar Land
that we got on sale for 20% off! :) Sales are always good! We also got our glider from them as well!

What's in a name? The picture on the left is something I made to show the meaning of Ethan's name. The bottom right photo is the street name sign I ordered with Ethan's name from
 Ethan's name decal made to match the colors and customized by Lucy Lew's Vinyl Decor on Etsy, she also made Evan's name decal before in our first son's room! :) 

Some projects I did for Ethan's room were the red metal "E", the black metal shelf, and the black metal motorcycle that I found at Hobby Lobby for 50% off! :) The red didn't fit the room exactly so I spray painted it a green to match along with the black motorcycle, since it wouldn't be seen on the dark blue walls very well and same for the shelf, so I painted that with a gray Rust-oleum paint…which was hard to paint because the paint is so thick and would run, and those little hash marks inside the shelf were hard to get, but it came out great!! I was thinking I could later use this shelf for below or above his TV once he gets bigger, if he gets one in his room! :) #thinkingahead

I also found the United States wood piece at Hobby Lobby, however it was blue, and would not show well on the dark blue wall, so I painted it with the left over green paint and then distressed it.   
The bottom right picture below shows the half oil cans that I found at Hobby Lobby, I wanted to have something in Ethan's room that we could hang things on much like we did for Evan's room, of course nothing heavy though. So I asked my husband to put hooks in them and it came out perfect! 
The top right picture in the collage below were made by Ethan's PawPaw, my husband's dad, Larry and then I painted them! :) I sent him the plans that I found from and he came up with the SUV one as an extra. 

 Then came the bedding and more!! I reached out to various shops on Etsy and sent them a picture of the fabric, in search of one that would work with me to make everything just how I was imagining for Ethan's room…one that would be reasonably priced as well as someone who would customize items and that could make a variety of items! 

I found the perfect person/shop for the job and I couldn't be happier. Lisa did such a wonderful job and was so responsive to messages, she was also excited about working on everything for us and that was obvious through her messages which not everyone is so enthusiastic about you ordering from them. She really puts a lot into her work and it shows. I couldn't speak more highly of her. Please check Lisa from the Bump and Bean out on EtsyFacebook, and her website!

Here is what Lisa from the Bump and Bean made: 
- Bedding set that included a crib skirt, the guard rail cover, and a two sided blanket that he will be able to use even when he is a toddler and we transition the bed to a toddler bed. 
- Mobile to match theme with music box
- 2 sided boppy cover
- 2 changing pad covers, one pictured below and one in just the green minky fabric
- 20x20 Pillow case cover, and I bought the pillow from Ikea
- small lovey blanket personalized
- personalized blanket
- diapers wipe case (I'll have to add a photo of it!)
- teddy bear 
- 3 burp cloths
- a onesie

 The completed room below! Love it! 

Frames from Ikea, just like the photo collage I did in Evan's room. 
Lamp from matched the frame I found from Hobby Lobby perfectly and it was cheaper than the oil can lamp there. It also brought in some more color and tied in some of the things that were in the room. 

The large Ford truck book and black motorcycle on the bookshelf, the red truck above the door, the yellow airplane,  the green dino sign, the Chevron gas pump wall decor and the metal bin that I wrote "Pit Stop" on for the diaper changing station are all from Hobby Lobby as well!
Can you tell I love Hobby Lobby?! 

I was lucky to find the perfect green curtains at Ikea! I just had to hem them 14 inches, which I ironed the curtains and then measured and hemmed them with the iron and Stitch Witchery (so that way I didn't have to cut or sew them)! :) 

The organization bins on the bookshelf in the photo below are ClosetMaid Cubecials Fabric Drawers available in a 2 pack from in blue and kiwi green. As you can see I have diapers in one bin, wipes, and then toys and more toys! We had a lot of stuff already since this is our second kiddo!

The little blue and red airplane by Green Toys, toys made from recycled plastic milk jugs, can be found in some stores and on and we had it at our baby shower for everyone that came to sign!

The closet organizer is awesome and we got it as a gift at our shower, we registered for it on (yup, we love too!).  The Delta 24 Piece Nursery Closet Organizer set comes with hangers, dividers with labels you can pick from and put on them, I like to do them by size. It also came with the hanging shelf and two bins! We kept all of Evan's clothes and baby stuff just in case we had another boy, and sure enough we did so his closet was packed full!   

Saturday, May 11, 2013

"Not Yo Mama's Banana Pudding!"

I got this recipe from a friend of a friend and it is always a big hit! It's pretty easy to make and tastes so yummy! Enjoy!!

"Not Yo Mama's Banana Pudding!"
  • 2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessman Cookies
  • 6-8 bananas sliced
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1  5oz. box instant Vanilla/French Vanilla Pudding
  • 1  8oz. pkg. cream cheese
  • 1  14oz. sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 12 oz. frozen whipped topping
  1. Line bottom of a 9x13 pan with one bag of cookies. 
  2. Layer sliced bananas on top.
  3. Combine milk and pudding packet with mixer. 
  4. In a separate bowl, combine cream cheese and condensed milk, and mix until smooth.
  5. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the pudding mixture and stir until blended. 
  6. Pour over cookies and bananas. Cover with last bag of cookies. Cover and let "set" in fridge for 24 hours. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Crock Pot Beef Stew

Crock Pot Beef Stew
Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 8 hrs   Serves: 7-8 persons 

I created my own version of beef stew…part of this recipe comes from:
35 Delicious Paleo Slow Cooker Recipes For Busy Families (Kindle Locations 318-330).Kindle Edition.

   1 ½ lbs. of beef stew meat, 1 inch cubed
   Sweet potatoes (3 medium sized, chopped)
   Carrots (6 medium sized)
   Onions (2 medium sized chopped coarsely)
note: I used 1 red and 1 white since that is what we had
   Celery ribs (3 coarsely chopped)
   Tomato (diced 1 can)
   Mustard ground (1 tsp)
   Salt (1 tsp)
   Black pepper ground (1 tsp)
   Dried thyme (1 tsp)
   Garlic, minced (3 tsp)
   Browning sauce (1 tsp) – note: didn’t have this so I used 2 tsp of brown sugar, a little bit of liquid aminos (similar to taste of soy sauce).
   ¼ cup of almond meal flour (you can omit this if you don’t have it)
   I threw in a bunch of spices too:
Cumin ground
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Chili powder
Italian seasoning
   Beef Stock (2 cups)
   Red Wine Vinegar (1/4 cup)
   ½ cup or less of water

1.  In a container/bowl, combine tomato, ground mustard, salt, black pepper, thyme, and browning sauce if you have it. Pour it over the stew meat and marinate for 20 minutes.
2.  Meanwhile, peel and chop up your sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, celery ribs, and any other veggies you want to put in the stew.
3.  I used a 6 qt slow cooker/crock pot. Cook the meat mixture on high for 1 ½ hours and then mix in your veggies and the rest of the ingredients and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Then enjoy!

You could also add in mushrooms, butternut squash, or whatever you’d like! I saw a lot of different ingredients in the different recipes I looked at. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Classic Baked Penne Rigate Casserole

Classic Baked Penne Rigate Casserole

  • 2/3 (12 oz) package penne rigate pasta, uncooked (I used 100% whole wheat made with whole grains penne rigate from Kroger-where I found this recipe!)
  • 1/2 lb or 1 package of lean ground beef, cooked and drained (I used 1 package of lean ground turkey meat)
  • 1 (26 oz) jar pasta sauce, any kind you want
  • 2 cups (8 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese (or other cheese if you want)
  • Chopped parsley (didn't have this when I made it so I didn't use it)

  1. Prepare penne rigate according to package directions; drain. Cook ground beef or ground turkey if you haven't already. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. In large bowl, combine cooked penne rigate, meat, sauce, and 1 cup of cheese; mix well. Transfer to greased 2  1/2 qt shallow baking dish; cover.
  3. Bake for 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Uncover; top with remaining 1 cup cheese and parsley. Bake 8 minutes longer or until cheese melts. Refrigerate any leftovers. Makes 4-6 servings.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Red Beans and Rice

One of my favorite easy meals to make and the hubby loves it too!

Red Beans and Rice 
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pkg (14 oz) smoked sausage
  • 1 can red beans
  • Zatarains Creole Seasoning (I use Tony's)
  • Note: I also add garlic powder and/or minced garlic, feel free to add whatever you want!
  1. Add the rice, water, and salt to a sauce pan/pot with a lid.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, then cover & simmer for 15 mins. (I just make white rice in a rice maker separately)
  2. Meanwhile, thinly slice the sausage and drain the juice from the red beans into the sink. 
  3. Add 2-3 tbsp olive oil to a large skillet and begin heating over medium heat. Add the sausage, give a sprinkling of creole seasoning and stir occasionally for about 7 mins until the sausage starts to get sizzly on both sides.  Note: I also added garlic powder and/or some minced garlic.
  4. Add the red beans and stir until warmed through. About this time, your rice should be done or almost done too. Serve the beans and sausage over the rice. Add extra creole seasoning as desired at the table. Serves 2-3.

Easy Brazilian Cheesy Bread Recipe

If you've ever been to a Fogo de Chao or a similar churrascaria/brazillian steak house then you've probably had these and though omg they are soooo delicious! 

Easy Brazilian Cheesy Bread Recipe
  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
The recipe as presented is fairly basic. Feel free to dress it up a bit with herbs or spices of your choice. (I don't do that, bc I like it the way it is!)
  • 1 egg*
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • Scant 1 1/2 cups (170 grams) tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup (packed, about 66 grams) grated cheese, your preference, though we got the best results from Mexican farmer's cheese - queso fresco (I usually use parmesean and grate it myself and use some other cheese with it too, like either mozzerella or the mexican shredded mix if you can't find the queso fresco cheese)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (or more to taste)

Special equipment recommended:
  • One or two mini muffin tins. Mini muffin tins are about half the size of a regular muffin pan. The muffin openings are about 1-inch deep, and 1 3/4 inch wide at the top. (I used a regular muffin pan because it's all I had the first time I made it)

*It helps when baking with eggs to start with eggs at room temperature. If you don't plan ahead (that would be me, usually) you can put the egg in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes to gently take off the chill of the fridge.

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a mini-muffin tin. Put all of the ingredients into a blender and pulse until smooth. You may need to use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the blender so that everything gets blended well. At this point you can store the batter in the refrigerator for up to a week.

2. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until all puffy and just lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack for a few minutes. (You don't want to over cook them, so they will be soft, if anything take it out just a tad bit earlier!)
Eat while warm or save to reheat later. - Best served fresh! 
Enough batter for 16 mini muffin sized cheese breads.
*Note that Brazilian cheese bread is very chewy, a lot like Japanese mochi.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

DIY: In-Ceiling Speaker Installation

When we built our home, we had it pre-wired for surround sound in the family room. The builders put junction boxes on the studs where the speakers would go. We had trouble finding any details on how we could install the speakers on our own with these junction boxes being on the stud without having to cut into the ceiling joist/stud. We definitely did not want to leave the plate cover on the ceiling and put the speakers somewhere else on the ceiling!

So we decided since we were able to do it ourselves then we would make this video to help anyone looking to do this on their own. It saved us plenty of money and is not hard to do.

If you are a little hesitant to cut into your ceiling or wall then stop by your local hardware store such as Home Depot or Lowe's and then get a 4x4 or small scrap piece of sheetrock and practice cutting the hole on it first.

We got our speakers from Check out the video below that we made for how to install in-ceiling speakers on your own! A great DIY project! 

For some reason the video won't show, so here is the direct link to it: