Wednesday, October 22, 2014

link love lately

Fuzz bud has absoultely nothing to do with the links below except that he was a perfect model resting in the fallen leaves. Ok, let us continue with links I'm loving lately...

Homemade Cookie Butter. I repeat HOMEMADE cookie butter. Since the hubster and I have now moved to the land of no Trader Joe's, this officially saves us from cookie butter withdrawals. And you can choose your own cookie base! Even better. 

Roasted Carrot Hummus - I've been waiting until I had some sweet, fresh from the farm carrots to try this recipe. The perfect protein-rich snack!

DIY Crepe Paper Pumpkins - Pumpkin decorations that can used again next year? And made out of paper? What's not to love?! I'd also suggest making them in white and gold for a Thanksgiving table centerpiece. 
I've made it my mission to not stop until I find the perfect shoo fly pie recipe. I'm starting with this recipe that Bon Appétit published from Wendy Jo's Homemade in Lancaster Central Market. 

Gold Tipped Cork Leaf Wreath and Copper Herringbone Pumpkins - Still loving metallic accents especially for the holidays.

Extra Flakey Broccoli Cheddar Soup Mini Pies - The mix of flavors and stellar photography on Tieghan's blog are incredible.  Add this one to your blog feeds if you haven't already!

For your inner-child or your actual child, monster s'mores!

P.S. I'm the Crafty Superstar (eek!) this week on Cut Out + Keep! Thousands of crafty tutorials and inspiration from talented bloggers...need I say more?

Friday, October 17, 2014

rentervating

We're currently in the process of planning, designing, painting and fixing abijillion things in this place. Ok not literally, but it certainly feels that way. My brain has been boggled more than a couple of times since moving in. There have been days of unending painting, but there have also been small triumphs...

The gallery wall from our abode days has made a comeback.

I now have a cozy new home for my spices. 

We bit the bullet and bought an Ikea metal shelving unit for the pantry to hold the all-important baking ingredients.

And then there are the questions (and occasionally answers) that mull around in my head for days... 

How much foaming sealant do we need to rid the basement of secondhand smoke? A lot.

Where is the slow leak from the toilet coming from? The rubber seal. It's been fixed!

Where do we find a bookshelf big (and cheap) enough for all the stuff that still need a home in our office? The re-store! But how in the world do we get it home? 

How many cans of carpet cleaner does it take to eliminate the carpet black lines along the the trim? More than one...

Where are those ginormous spiders coming from and how do we make them go away now

What should I plant in a sun-less, weed-infested flowerbed? Is it worth the dozens of dollars in bulbs? 
How many coats of paint does one door need?! At least three.

Should I make a some art or thrift a large statement piece for the wall above the big couch? Thrift.

How is it possible that our trash/recycling company does not recycle cardboard? Who wants all our broken down boxes? Anybody???

Thursday, October 2, 2014

hello, October

September was quite possible the longest, yet fastest month ever. I packed in the evenings at the lakehouse while the hubster cleaned and prep walls for paint in our new home. We spent a weekend painting the living room and dining room. We said goodbye to the lakehouse and had a surprisingly painless move. [Thank you to those of you that helped and prayed!] I'm now in the midst of unpacking and organizing while the hubster continues to spend his days helping tweens negotiate the crazy world of middle school. Pretty sure I have the better end of this deal...

And so we now happily welcome October from the comfort of our new home. The screeching sound of guinea hens and honking geese has been replaced by the the clip clop of horses and the wheel roll of buggies on the road. For those of you who have asked for photos, here's a few real-life snapshots of the downstairs:
The kitchen cabinet dresser got an upgrade and is now being used as the entertainment center. We're contemplating taking out a drawer to house the dvd player. It fits perfectly in its new home.

Back in my preschool teacher days, I'd come home with so much junk that my parent's bought me an entry organizer for Christmas one year. The hubster and I haven't been able to use the top part since we got married. So glad to have it up and functioning again. 

Our free kitchen table in it's rightful home. The place mats are covering up the flaking veneer. This is most definitely on our project list!

I've changed the kitchen cabinet set up about eight times so far. But if there's one thing I've learned the last few years, it's how to cook in a rental galley kitchen.

The pièce de résistance - a walk-in pantry! It's hard to tell from the photo, but it's almost the same size as the kitchen. This pantry is going to make life a whole lot easier!

Hope you enjoyed the mini tour! It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint, a thorough cleaning, and furniture does to an empty house. I'm excited to slap some paint on the remaining walls upstairs and churn out some blog projects in the kitchen and craft room (aka spare bedroom aka office aka the room with all the homeless stuff). I've got a list of projects to undertake and some actual time to do them. Get ready my friends - this blog is about to be back in frugalish action!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

the life of a teacher's wife

Once again I'm popping in to say hi, I miss you, and sorry for being such a finicky blogger lately!

I'm feeling all the feelings and it's time I share them with you. When you're married to a teacher, a year doesn't begin in January. Nope, a year begins in August and when that teacher isn't contracted the summer is full of interviews, rejections, cheerleading, more interviews, questions, prayers... When a certain day rolled around and there still was no news, we made a new plan for the when/where/hows of real life. And then the next day, hubster got the call and suddenly that plan was out the window. An elusive contract(!!) and we need to move and you start in three days? Ummm...ok!

Let's summarize: We're saying so long to family, friends, and the county we were both raised in and moving to a little townhouse outside of Lancaster. It's cute, has a little backyard, a walk-in pantry, needs a coat of paint on the walls, and a major dog hair carpet cleaning. I'm leaving my job and a little one who won't understand why I'm there one day and gone the next. We now have to begin the church shopping process all over again. Ughhh. Our front room is filled with the smell of cardboard and packing has once again become part of my weeknight routine. Cleaning and painting will occupy the few weekends we have before we move in.

Basically, September is going to fly by. If it's silent around here, you'll know why. I'm pretty sure the next time I write it will be from our new home with new lighting, diy adventures, and recipes to share. See you in October, my friends!

P.S. Follow along on instagram for moving updates!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

summer chicken salad sandwiches

In a perfect blogging world, you would have seen these sandwiches well over a month ago. But alas I don't live in that world. Need some proof? Exhibit A. So it's now August[!!] and I'm finally sharing this recipe that is traditionally a part of our family's 4th of July feast. My mom makes these sandwiches as the centerpiece of a quintessential picnic dinner that usually includes pasta salad, fruit salad, lemonade, coffee blonde brownies... Basically the meal is perfection and is always more exciting than any fireworks show.

I decided long ago that this recipe needs to be made more than once a year. I tweaked the ingredients a bit to reduce the fat while still keeping the chicken salad creamy and refreshing. Make the chicken salad ahead and bring all the sandwiches fixings with you on a day trip to the shore or a picnic in the park. Or if your in the midst of the dog days of summer, rest your oven and your air conditioning bill and enjoy this chicken salad as a no-cook dinner.
A few recipe notes:
  • The recipe calls for shredded cooked chicken. I highly suggest poaching your own chicken breast and keeping it in the freezer for stress-free meals like this one. Here's a tutorial for all you poaching newbies. 
  • I sliced and layered the avocado on the sandwiches because I knew we'd be eating the leftovers the next day. I didn't want the chicken salad to turn an icky, exposed-to-air avocado brown. Yuck. But if you plan to eat the chicken salad the same day you make it, then go ahead and mash the avocado and replace half of the Greek yogurt with the avocado. This recipe variation would have a 1/4 c. each of mayo, Greek yogurt, and mashed avocado in the chicken salad.
  • My mom always serves the chicken salad on crossiants. It's perfect for special occasions, but for everyday meals I serve it on homemade wheat challah that's been cut into rolls. Whole wheat sandwich bread is also a great option
Summer Chicken Salad Sandwiches
[recipe adapted from my mom who got it from a Hellmann's]
Makes four sandwiches

Ingredients
2 c. shredded cooked chicken
1/4 c. reduced fat mayo
1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt
1/4  heaping c. chopped scallions
1 tsp. dried dill (or 1 tbsp. fresh dill)
1 tbsp. dijon
1/2 tsp. salt
Pepper, to taste
4 rolls or enough bread for four sandwiches
1 tomato, sliced
1 avocado, sliced (or mashed - see note above)
Handful of romaine lettuce (enough for four sandwiches)

Directions
1. Mix the chicken, mayo, yogurt, scallions, dill, dijon, salt, and pepper together.
2. Layer the sandwich fixings and chicken salad on the bread. Don't forget to season the avocado and tomato with salt and pepper.


3. Enjoy!


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