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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Candied-Walnut & Grape Salad (Dewey's Knock-off)

It's been awhile since I have posted a recipe, but the minute I tried this salad at recent event I was at, I knew I must replicate it at home. My big break came when I discovered a citrus vinaigrette already bottled.

is the original creator and below you'll find my knock-off if you don't have a location near you.


Mixed baby greens
A handful or two of red grapes, cut in half
A handful of crumbled Gorgonzola, or add to taste
A handful of Candied Walnuts (I used these by Fresh Gourmet)

*this yields 2-3 servings, add ingredients as desired for a larger serving size


Maple Grove Farms Citrus Vinaigrette
Added Honey to taste

Assemble as you would a normal salad. I separated some of the dressing out and added honey, about 1 1/2 tsp, to make it a sweeter and cut the vinegar taste a bit.

Granny Smith apples might also be a great addition and the Gorgonzola cheese may be substituted with a blue cheese.

Sorry if my vague measurements bother you. I like to think of myself as Jamie Oliver and just keep things organic and to taste in the kitchen, especially with something so fresh and tasty.

You can also try this copycat version of the salad which uses homemade dressing from

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Monday, July 4, 2016

Kitchen Reveal!

This is nearly 2 years overdue, but I'm finally able to share my new kitchen! It was completed the first week of November 2014 and well, the months since have been a blur. We have already used it to host 2 Thanksgivings, a Halloween party, and 4 Birthday parties, as well as our everyday use.

I am a pretty indecisive person and I was proud how quickly I made decisions with this project. I am 97% happy with it and that other 3% is totally livable with what things I would change. It hurt to spend all of that money but I feel like we have made it back tenfold so far and the room is serving the exact purpose I wanted it to.  Even the Mister agrees that it was worth it so that's always a good sign.

My Favorite Things:
- The Sink
- Soft, self closing drawers
- Abundant counter space
- the open concept
- The paint color: North Star by Sherwin Williams

The company was great to work with and our vendors were too.

So the 3% I'm like 'meh' about:

1) I wish we'd have gotten all deep drawers for the cabinets.  I LOVE them! They aren't everyone's style but I find them so much more durable and convenient.
2) I question our layout just a bit.  We just assumed staying with the original kitchen footprint and combining it with the dining room was the way to go, but I kinda feel like our dining room might be too small and we've got a lot of wasted space on the far end of the kitchen were we used to have the dining table.  We also kept the plans that way because if the money fairy drops more money on us some day we wanted to add more cabinetry to the former eat in area, possibly put a door where the window is and have a beautiful deck added on.  So, our current layout takes all of that into consideration.
3) I would've loved new stainless steel appliances, but there's no need to replace what we already had.

I think once we get a new dining room table (read: 2017 probably) I'll love it even more.  I'm also desperately seeking something to put on the far back wall.  I want it to say kitchen more than family so a family picture is out. I've got an idea in the works that I hope to finish by the end is summer so look for that coming soon.    We're pricing out a new back door and deck too, so we will have to see if that is in the cards to be added to.

Be sure to check out my DIY valence box post and other kitchen related posts to follow along.

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Craft Closet Makeover - The beginning

While I have no regrets, our third child came at the expense of me losing my craft room.  I have been a little too busy to craft anyways the past 2 years, but now seems like a perfect time to reclaim a space for myself.

Thankfully, our house had just the spot.  We have a decent size room, I'd say 14x14 at least in our basement that is overrun with storage.  Since we are officially done with babies in this house I have been able to get rid of so much stuff that we were hanging on to for the kids to use.  No extra clothes need to be stored. No baby equipment, and no more toys! It is so refreshing and still on point with my Content theme for the year; getting rid of contents in my life that no longer serve a purpose and filling my life with more things that I find joy in.

There is a nook carved out in this room for a closet and that is where I'll be transforming a space for me.  I'm centering the theme around this old yardlong chalk pastel that I've had for years.  I forgot about it while decorating Cora's nursery, otherwise I'd have done her room in this theme.  Oh well, it's my space now and her room is more youthful as it should be.

I'm excited to take this project on over the summer.  Stay tuned to see the results and in the mean time, enjoy these inspiration pics...

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Summer of Sanity 2016

Ok ya'll, it is time for my 3rd installment of Summer of Sanity, where I try to figure out how to stay sane with my 3 little ones all summer. I've been doing this the past two years with really good success, but then again how can the summer not be a success?

I've found myself once again thrown into SAHM status and am trying to balance all that I want to get out of summer vacation for the kids and myself.

Now usually my good intentions go by the wayside once we are about a week into it, but I still find it helpful to have some direction of where we're at this summer.

So far this summer, June is once again packed full of baseball finishing up, camp, and family visits. The flip side is that July is wide open.

For the kids, my goals are for them to just enjoy their summer.  I bought our first "big" pool that is no longer inflatable with hopes that we'll actually get some decent weather to use it.  It's been a very chilly spring for us here and last summer was far from being filled with dog days of heat. I also hope that they boys become more skilled at riding their bikes.  I hate to say this, but Alex still can't ride without the training wheels.  The boy just has no interest. I hope to get that changed this summer.  I also hope to have a diaper free house by the end of summer, but I am not holding my breath on that one.

To keep up with enrichment, I have plenty of trips to the library planned along with some nature field outings. I also made the boys each their own binder full of printed off age appropriate worksheets for them to complete.  I am not some crazy mom forcing work down their throat. They were very excited to get their own binders and have even started on some things in them. We'll see if they still keep that excitement when I ask them to journal.

As far as management of screentime, I plan to enforce "a chore = screentime" rule.  My goal is that they understand that certain things need to be taken care of before we can relax.  I don't want them to think of screentime as the "payment" or "allowance" but rather, something they can actually do once they have earned the time to do so.

August 1st will be here before I know it, so I am hoping to just sit back and enjoy the time I so desperately need to recharge before another school year.

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Springtime in Paris - A 2 Year Old's Birthday Party

A spring birthday set up the perfect backdrop for my little girl's 2nd birthday.  I wanted something girly and light with colors so a "Springtime In Paris" theme was born.  It was set in stone when I waltzed into HomeGoods and spotted this perfectly fitting 3 panel screen that was just made for a little girl and a Parisian theme.  It already matches the colors of her room and will be perfect in it when it transforms to a big girl room later this summer.

I really had to reign it in on the decor.  Paris and Spring themes are everywhere and I didn't want to go overboard. I borrowed some Eiffel towers from friends that already had them in their home decor and picked up some pastel linens and floral plates. She had received a stuffed poodle for Christmas so it was a great fit and then I picked up some Macaroons, also from HomeGoods.  I am putting these in the decor section because that was the only purpose they served, woof, they were not pleasant to eat but were pretty.  Other decor items just included my left over items I usually put out during Spring.  I also had one of my graphic art students make me the Eiffel tower poster, which I then laminated so Cora could use it as a sign later on.

The menu was French inspired and delicious including:
  • French toast bake
  • Breakfast Casserole 
  • Croissant sandwiches
  • Cesar Salad
  • Eclairs
  • Eiffel tower chocolate pops (mold from Amazon)
  • Mimosas
  • Sparkling "Champagne" for the little ones
  • and of course cake (this one wasn't very special but my baker had just delivered her own little baby girl earlier in the week)

That was all.  Simple and inviting along with some French Cafe music playing on Pandora.

I can't believe my little angel is 2.  The time has flown by so fast and I can't believe I'm already looking at size 3t clothes.  She is very happy usually but doesn't like things to be other than the way she likes them to be.  She might just be my clone and hopefully that serves our relationship well.  

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