Monday, November 25, 2013

Catching My Breath

If you've read here for any length of time…

…then you know when I disappear for a week or more at a time there's usually something going on at our house.

Last week was filled with meetings, appointments, and make-up/rescheduled work hours because of sick kiddos (Luke) and then this week didn't start off much better.

Mary Catherine has the stomach flu, and again I find myself juggling lots of responsibilities.

Sometimes that means having to take a break from blogging…

…which I hate!

Half-day of school tomorrow…Grandparent's Day Celebration (we had to cancel our Grandma Visit b/c of the flu!)…and then carpet cleaners coming.

Need I say more???!!!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Beauty on Sunday…Birthday Cake Bunting

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
 ~Philippians 4:8~

First Grade...

Seven Years Old...

"Spongebob" cupcakes (store-ordered) 
for the school-day celebration.

But for this weekend…

…just this…

a simple angel food cake with homemade whipped cream.

And a tiny "birthday cake bunting" that I made!

Polka dot bunting…polka dot candles…and stripey-straws…

= swooney cute birthday celebration!

Boy-ish (or gender-neutral)…but not cartoonish...

Wishing you a blessed Sunday as we celebrate with our Birthday-Boy,

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Quick Bread…Chocolate Pumpkin (Recipe)

I'm always looking for new quick bread recipes, and was excited to discover this recipe by Paula Deen a few years ago.  

I've made her chocolate chip pumpkin bread several times and it is delicious…and easy to make.

Enjoy…after all…how can one go wrong with pumpkin and chocolate???!!!

(Makes 2 Loaves)
(From Cooking with Paula Deen, Sept/Oct 2010 issue)

2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
4 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease (spray) 2 (9x5-inch) loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.

2.  In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, eggs, oil, and water.  In another large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  

3.  Gradually add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, stirring until blended.  Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.

4.  Bake 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  

5.  Cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.

Chocolate Pumpkin Bread
Prepare Pumpkin Bread as directed.  Stir 8 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate into batter before pouring into prepared pans.  

We decided to eat one and freeze the other for Thanksgiving week.  The first loaf is gone!  

(Yup…Christmas movies are already available on Netflix for viewing…)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It's So Very Mary…Making Her Room Her Own

 Today, I'm linking up with Kim over at Savvy Southern Style for her Wow Us Wednesday party.

Yesterday, I shared Mary Catherine's bedroom reveal.  A room fit for a queen tween!

While mainstream media/pop psychology might consider the average 8 or 9-year old a "tween" we prefer to keep our under-10 crowd in the "child" category in this house.  *wink*

That being said, I do realize that my little girl is growing up, and that it is time for her to have a bedroom befitting that of a grade-schooler.

After all the updates (bedding, wall art, window treatments, etc.) that we made to the room, it was feeling a bit…"big box store-ish".  (More Images here)

So, to combat the "model-home" look and feel to her room, I gradually started adding back in cherished dolls, keepsakes, quilts, etc.

The first thing that I did was to begin working on a quilt for Mary's bed that the dog can lay on.  In addition to allowing Mary to pick the wall color (she originally wanted the room hot pink…yikes!), I took her to the quilting/fabric store to pick out her favorite patterns and colors.  Although still a work in progress, here is what her bed quilt is starting to look like…

Mary laid out all the squares to be pieced together.  She insisted that she like the order and layout of the squares…(obviously, we have not had a quilting lesson on contrasts…light vs. dark…large print vs. two of the same pattern together…etc.)

So, this is her quilt. The quilt that she designed and that mama is just piecing together and then quilting for her.  Love this girl.

(Sorry for some blurry pics…still working on learning how to shoot in manual mode…)

I have a ton of work to still do on this quilt…sashing…border…quilt and binding, but at least you can get a feel for warmth/personalization it adds to her room.

In addition to her full-size bed quilt, Mary Catherine made a doll quilt for her American Girl Doll, Suzanne, with help from a quilting friend.  According to my girlfriend, Mary has quite the affinity for the sewing machine and took to piecing right away.  (Mary has more patience than I can ever dream of having!  She's a super easy-going kiddo!)

Notice that the doll quilt is from a similar fabric line as her full-size quilt.   I love how they compliment each other.   LoVe.

Wall Art.

In October, my husband and I traveled to the beautiful Ozark Mountains for a little Fall Get-Away…and to celebrate our 20-year wedding anniversary!

While peeking into windows of different art galleries and antique shops of Eureka Springs, AR, I saw these adorable one-of-a-kind original canvases.  The minute I saw them, I knew one would have to come home with me…

…after years of infertility and loss, our daughter Mary Catherine was our dream come true…and to this day, I think of Mary when I hear this song.  This little canvas is part of the vignette over her bed.

In addition to the wall art, we placed my vintage Holly Hobby doll cradle at the foot of her bed to house her American Girl Doll collection.  I've toyed with the idea of painting the cradle, but for now, I'm going to leave it as is…

Her First Holy Communion Veil.

I just can't bear to pack this up yet…even though her dress has been cleaned and bagged.  Such a beautiful and special day for our girl.  I get teary-eyed just thinking about it!

Sorry…I got side-tracked there…  *wink*

And finally…a unique doorstop.

I am always looking for unique and creative ways to keep bedroom doors propped open during the day, but easily removable at night for safety (fire) reasons.

Recently, my mom gave Mary a vintage travel make-up case that belonged to her.  Mary LOVED this gift and inside of it is stored all sorts of jewelry, lip glosses, hair pretties, etc.  It is her treasure box…albeit, a very pretty one!

So there you have it…just a few of the ways that I've made Mary's space her own with one of a kind wall art/vintage toys/handmade items, etc.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mary Catherine's Room Reveal…Finally!

Update:  Today, I'm joining up with Brenda over at Cozy Little House for her Tweak it Tuesday meme.  Welcome to all that drop by today.  I'm glad you're here!!!

I know…I know…

…you've been waiting with bated breath for this big bedroom reveal for my sweet girl.


Well, I think it's finally at the point where I feel comfortable sharing it with you.

It's not perfect…it's still a work in progress…and it definitely doesn't look like this every day!  *smile*

But here it is in all it's glory!

First…some before pictures.

Mary Catherine's original bedroom was at the top of the stairs in our 2-story home.
(Room facing East)

Wall color…Pepto Bismol Pink *wink*

Bedroom Furniture:  Young America (for Her)

Window Treatments (lavender valance):  Target

Bedding:  Bed-in-a-Bag from Bed Bath & Beyond (Purchased for her at Age 2…no idea where the matching pillow shams went!)

Original wall art compliments of little brothers (ages 4 and 1 at the time).

Clearly, the durability/scrubbability of the paint was nil.

Missing Closet Door…for About Three Years  

Vanity with Mirror and Seat:  Garage Sale ($25)

Lamp:  Target

So, for her "Room Fit for a Tween" (did you know the "American Tween" is defined as being between the ages of 8 and 12?) Mary asked to change bedroom locations.  I guess with the boys getting to move bedrooms to a shared room, Mary was feeling left out!

Here is the "guest room" that Painter Dave (our "professional painter" that we use when we want the project done right the first time  *smile*) painted for me over the summer.  This bedroom is also on the 2nd story, but at the front of the house with windows facing west.  It gets lots of natural sunlight…especially during the summer months.

Getting her furniture moved in…

…it's starting to feel like "home" to her.

Look…a closet with both doors attached!  *wink*

And finally…Mary's new room with bedding…window treatments…wall art…etc.

Today's post is the "Model Home" "staged" version…read dresser tops/desk cleared off…floor picked up…no personal possessions on display.  

Tomorrow, I plan to share with you the little things we've added to Mary's room to make it all her own. Following is a list of the things in the photos (below) that we purchased for her room.  We pretty much started from scratch.  I only shopped sales and/or used on-line coupons to purchase what we needed.

  • Bedding:  Pottery Barn for Kids (SALE!)
  • Furniture:  Young America (for Her)
  • Desk/Chair:  Nebraska Furniture Mart (I didn't keep the name of the manufacturer…we had to put the desk and hutch together ourselves…)
  • Wall Art (Dance/Smile):  Kirklands
  • Stacked Picture/Keepsake Boxes (on floor):  Kirklands
  • Oval Mirror and Cross:  Hobby Lobby
  • Magenta Bed Sheets:  Target
  • Owl Pillow, Dresser Lamps, Picture Frame, Dresser Knick Knack:  all Hobby Lobby
  • Luggage:  Target
  • Aqua Hamper/Clothes Bag:  Home Goods
  • Magenta Window Panels (84" length):  Bed Bath & Beyond

So there you have it…"A Room Fit for A Tween"!  *smile*

It's bright…it's cheery…and it's oh so very Mary!  

Happy Monday, Friends.