Tuesday, February 28, 2012

DIY wooden trays

while browsing pinterest, i ran across this blog posting about a gal that made her own 'little wooden trays,' and made it look as easy as pie. 
i have been in a search for a tray big enough to hold our coffee pot and grinder, and after seeing this, we decided to make our own. 
(david actually did all the work here, i just stained them!)

all we used was 1x6 boards for the bottom and 1x2 boards for the sides. we decided the length and width that we needed the bottoms to be and then framed with the 1x2 boards. it was simple and he had them both built in less than 30 minutes.
he used wood glue as well as nails to attach the sides.
here is one of the trays all put together-
i used the steel wool/vinegar method to stain the trays. i still can't get over how this stain works. i had a jar from a previous project that had been sitting in my basement for nearly a month... the longer it sits the more color changes you will see. this time around my color had a bit of a gray tone which was perfect for this since i have a gray kitchen.
and here is the finished product-
looks just like old barn wood!
here is how the trays look in our kitchen. i think they fit perfectly and we are really happy how they turned out. 
another simple and inexpensive project.
happy building!
Sunday, February 19, 2012

happiness is...

a saturday that is a spectacular 65 degrees. and a day that you get multiple dates with your hunny.

it all began with buttermilk pancakes. (sigh)
saturday's are our 'cheat' day on the diet... although this week we did pretty bad.
anyways, we enjoyed pancakes and delish maple syrup along with a pot of christmas blend coffee. making friends with the local bucks crew has paid off this year... one cold december day, david went in for his regular cup of christmas blend and the guy lets him in on the buy one get one day nearly approaching... so of course when that day came, we bought four bags and got four free! it was a heavenly day filled with pounds and pounds of tasty coffee bean! truly - if you haven't had christmas blend, you MUST try it next season!
we are down to the last bag. actually half way through the last bag. it's depressing. so that pot of coffee was pretty special to us.

after breakfast and couch lounging with the pups while catching up on our shows, we decided to hit the town. we got ready and headed into greenville to walk the streets and window shop. we ended up stopping at the local cupcake shop for lunch. (yes, cupcakes for lunch!)
chocolate bottom and salted caramel... i think so!
then we did some shopping and scouted out all the amazing sales. here is where i feel SO lucky to have the relationship that i have. while in a dressing room trying on amazing green silky blouses that i SO badly need (not)... i can text my husband knowing that he will give me his honest opinion. he also helps talk me out of un-necessary purchases, although those are far and few between.
we then went on our final date to the movies, and ended the evening back home with an adorable little bottle of wine we picked up at trader joe's for six bucks... cheap and delish!
i. love. saturdays!
and today was just as amazing.
totally different - there was no running around, but there was lots and lots of couch lounging and tv watching and pinterest surfing. oh, and blog writing!
weekends are just good. period.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

my funny valentine.

i feel like i am one of the girls who are just not that into valentines day. i don't dislike it... but i don't love it either.

yes, it's a sweet day.
it's fun. (can be)
it's always nice to be recognized and feel loved and be showered with gifts.

but to be honest, i feel that way everyday. i have a fantastic relationship and feel that we show our love and appreciation everyday, not just on v-day.

with that said - i do get that it is one day of the year that is 'showy' and cute and playful... and whatever else you want to make it. david tells me that he believes i like it more than i let on...
maybe he is right?!?! whatev ;-)
a dozen roses on v-day would bring me as much excitement as watching the NFL highlights. plus, i married a man that would never bring me roses unless the occasion was a once in a lifetime... example - the night he proposed. it was magical and such a surprise. a candlelit path leading the way to our favorite picnic table at a nearby lake that we spent SO many nights becoming 'us.' a dozen red roses sat in the middle of the table and he handed them to me after i said YES! that is the definition of romantic!!!!!!! ahhhh.
now when i get flowers, he brings me wildflowers, and mixes of all different beautiful blooms... all things that i love so much. and this happens any day of the year.

so that leads to me to...
reasons that i did love feb. 14th this year...
i got an early v-day present... a beautiful and elegant white orchid that is absolutely lovely on my dining room table. 
i had to work 12 hours (dislike) and my gorgeous and sweet hunk of a man HAND-delivered this to me during my very long and BUSY BUSY workday - (along with my favorite chocolate bar!)
and after that crazy workday was over - we decided to cheat our diets (since we already blew it with the chocolate) and go out for dinner. well apparently, every couple in the united states goes to dinner on v-day (who woulda thought it)...
but everyone wanted the same sweet little italian place that we LOVE...
it. was. slammed.
had we waited, we would have probably been served at midnight. then v-day would be over.
so off we went to mexican... our go-to!
and here is where the story turns. 
david left his wallet in his work pants and realized it when we were 15 minutes away from home.  i said, "no worries babe, i have mine." we're married... money is money... come on.
so we are seated at the restaurant. we order our food and are waiting when i get into my purse to hunt for my phone. while digging through, i realize i don't see my wallet. it's huge and red and should be right in the middle of my extra large bag... but it's not. i continue to search, determined that the wallet is just buried. but it's not. it's on the kitchen counter at home.

so back to the house david drove to get a wallet... once he returned, our waitress (so super sweet) warmed the food and we enjoyed a delish meal and had quite the laugh over the whole ordeal.
i mean, we both forget our wallets. seriously.

and then there was this -
in the mailbox was this envelope addressed to me. i opened it to find a box of russell stover coconut clusters. no card. no name.... but i knew!
growing up, we would wake up on valentines day, and on the front table in the living room would sit 5 boxes of russell stover's chocolates. one for the four of us girls, and one for my mom... all from my dad. me and my sister, michelle, would have cocounut clusters. the rest would have assortments of different chocolates. we would have a few for breakfast, go to school, and come back to half the boxes being gone.... my dad's a smart man! never bought one for himself... just snacked on ours :)

so maybe david is right... maybe i do like v-day. heck, maybe i love it?!?! who knows....
it just seems that each year it gets better and better.
and i can assure you, next year wherever we are and wherever we go, we WILL NOT FORGET THE WALLETS!

since it was a fun day, here are a few of my favorite pics of my sweet valentine-
(photos taken by sarah beaty)  eyerisphotography.com

i truly hope everyone had an amazing valentines day - and spent it with someone you dearly love! i feel like the luckiest gal in the entire world. 
Sunday, February 12, 2012

dreamin' of summertime.

mother nature brought the most amazing february temperatures last week. we actually reached seventy one afternoon and that is reallllllllllllllllly making me long for summer. especially considering this week we dropped in the 20's at night. not cool.

it is so amazing having a screened in porch - when we are graced with a beautiful and warm day, we leave the doors open and oliver LOVES it... i swear that boy would just lay there all day long.
and sweet emme getting a good dose of sunshine from the window.
if you know me, then you know that i get the MOST joy from summer gardening. last year we produced an abundance of vegetables and herbs, and every morning I would wake and immediately run outside to see what was new... i really miss that!

i'm ready to get back to the seven pm sunshine instead of hustling at 5pm to walk the pups in the last bit of lightness left.
i'm ready to plant and grow and eat freshness!
i'm ready to get my hands dirty!

currently, we have 8 jars of tomato sauce left and one container of pesto... then it's all gone.

for the time being, my indoor basil plant by the kitchen window brings joy to my day -
and my beautiful orchid, an early valentines gift from my precious hubby, brings me many smiles as I walk past her throughout the day -
and the camellia tree in the back yard is producing the most beautiful blooms -
so yes, i am desperately longing for spring and summer.
i'm dreaming of tomatoes and squash and boatloads of fresh basil.
i'm longing to run outside without the sting of cold running through my chest.
i'm ready to swing in the hammock and read a book.
i'm ready for our third anniversary trip that we plan to make the BEST yet!
and i'm ready for our family vacations this summer - one to the amazing beach house in north carolina, and a cruise to the bahamas!!!!

who could ever possibly think of a better time of year than summer?!?!
Tuesday, February 7, 2012

birthday party a huge success

we had been planning on a having a get-together since moving into our new house. so for david's birthday we had the perfect reason to do just that!
with everything in the house cleaned and presentable, all that was left to do was the cooking/baking.

on the day of the party, we woke and had our morning pot of coffee, then got to work in the kitchen. we had a list ready and a plan, but little did we know - we would be in the kitchen cooking and baking for EIGHT hours! seriously. ugh.
it was all because of a cake. i found THIS on pinterest and thought it would be the perfect birthday cake for my man. it looked somewhat complicated but super tasty, and i figured i could do it. well, he ended up helping me because it was way more complicated than it appears, but we got it done.
so - we will start with the cake.
it is three dark chocolate layers with a salted caramel buttercream filling between those layers, and a dark chocolate frosting. this cake was the most expensive cake i've ever made - so i would NOT mess it up!
i started with making the cake. that was the easiest part. just mix your dry and wet ingredients and fill up three round cake pans - bake and cool.
once the three cakes were finished we started on the buttercream caramel filling. this part made me nervous. you start by making caramel. once that is finished and cooling you make a meringue, then add those together and you have your filling. sounds easy, right?!? not so much.

making the caramel. lots of stirring and lots of close watching to make sure it doesn't burn.
the cooled salted caramel. thick and delicious! next you whisk egg whites and sugar in a double boiler until it reaches 160 degrees then add it to your mixer and whisk it until it forms peaks...
add your caramel to that and you have your buttercream caramel filling. and my lord, did it taste amazing!!!!! really really amazing.
theeeennnnnn... you make your frosting. (at this point we were wondering if baking this dang cake would ever end!) over your double boiler you melt dark chocolate... lots of dark chocolate.
mix up confectioners sugar and butter in your mixer and add your chocolate to that... and you have frosting. very rich and very good! only thing left was to assemble.
we used a lazy susan as our cake stand because frosting a cake on a spinner is just the way to go! lay your bottom layer out and add half the buttercream caramel filling on that. then top with another layer, add the rest of the filling and top with the third layer of cake.
after i had all the layers put together i used a serrated knife to even out all the edges. then i iced the entire cake with the dark chocolate frosting.
and finally, after hours and hours of baking this thing... it was finished! here is what the inside looked like when cut...
nevermind the fact that this cake took all day to make. forget that it cost nearly 40 bucks to make... that wasn't even CLOSE to being my man's favorite gift... but this was - new dexter tshirt from his best friend!
so that was the cake. it was really heavenly, but it was truly a nightmare to make. if you adore being in the kitchen all day long and baking complicated recipes such as this, then this is most definitely the cake for you! i realize we were trying to accomplish baking and cooking an entire list of things, so that has a LOT to do with the time spent and all the frustration - yet, all was worth it!

our new chalkboard was on display for all to see what we were serving that night.
i really love our new chalkboard!
for the other things we served at the party...
red velvet brownies with white chocolate buttercream frosting!!!!!! my favorite item of the night and easy to make! HERE is where you will find the recipe.
i had fun frosting these little bite sized brownies... just put my icing in a zip-lock and snipped one of the corners, then went to town!
chicken puffs - HERE is the recipe for these. SUPER SUPER simple to make and seriously DELISH!
antipasto kabobs - recipe found HERE. these were realllllllllllly good and really simple. and i realized that tortellini marinated in balsamic vinaigrette is pretty much the greatest thing i've ever tasted.
ham and cheese sliders - recipe HERE.
crock pot meatballs with homemade BBQ sauce. GOOOOOOOOOOOD! recipe HERE.
spinach artichoke dip served with pita crisps and tortilla chips - our go to recipe HERE.
pomegranate-champagne punch with lemon and mint. not only is this punch beautiful, it tastes amazing! i filled up a bundt cake pan with water and froze it to make a huge ice cube. recipe HERE.
i added mint leaves right before serving. at the end of the night, i ate the pomegranate seeds. they were yummy when soaked up in champagne and rum!
very happy with how the party turned out and we had a really good time! it was a ton of work and i barely had enough time to get ready before people started showing up... but it was all worth it!
happy birthday to my sweet husband! love him so freaking much!


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